Jana Hitzel


Design Thinking – what does it actually mean?

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At the end of April, a big new project was launched in my department, HR Marketing. It’s more or less to do with personalizing the candidate journey. This was the first workshop – sort of a kickoff to the project – was based on the Design Thinking method. In the following I’ll explain exactly what we did, how the kickoff went, and what exactly my role was in all of this.

Post it with the inscription Team Check-In

The workshop started with a check-in. There we introduced each other and gathered the expectations of the workshop.

An exciting project got off the ground with a kickoff workshop in April. The workshop was given the title Personalization and was based on the concept of design thinking. But what is it that characterizes the design thinking method?

Design thinking is a trend in the world of business nowadays and even a component of business strategies. It can be implemented in organizations big and small, and can be applied to any question or issue arising in business. Design thinking is hard to explain and, to me, can best be defined as a way of thinking and working. The design thinking method can be divided up into several steps. The first steps involve understanding and monitoring an issue. In the next step, these customer issues and needs are then analyzed and ideas sought out. Prototypes are developed from these ideas and then finally tested for feasibility and economic efficiency. Design thinking is characterized by its use of multi-faceted teams, by striving to find the best solution, and changing perspectives and attitudes – from customer-orientated in one moment to economic and entrepreneurial in the next. The results are repeatedly reconsidered and substantiated in this manner.

Group result displayed on a pin board

In Design Thinking different and varied methods are used to achieve an optimal result.

Does design thinking sound like a diverse working model to you? Are you asking yourself what obstacles could come in its way, what challenges would you face? The answers to these questions generally just involve archaic structures and the comfort zone, both of which people are afraid to break away from.

But that’s just what we did, working for two days on the topic of Personalization in a team made up of nine participants and two moderators, in the aim of personalizing Deutsche Telekom’s communication with candidates. To start with we did some brainstorming on the topic, led by moderators, and addressed the personalization subject in small groups. These small groups worked on through both days, gathering and developing as many different ideas and perspectives as possible. With the help of interviews used to collect target group-specific information, we developed first ideas for prototypes. In the meantime, every now and again there were more opportunities to bring the entire group back together and get each other up to speed.

As a dual student, this was my first chance to participate in a workshop in the corporate environment. What set it apart from workshops to do with my studies was the urgency with which we needed to find a solution. For the preparations, I helped out with organizational activities such as catering and room booking. During the workshop I was a participant, as were all the others. Afterwards, we put together a photo documentation and a list to consolidate the results for future work. This is stored where it can be accessed by all participants and will be added to as the project continues.

After two eventful but stressful days, we managed to make a start on the topic and further meetings – in person or digitally – will help develop the matter further.