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On 20th October 2015, Agile & Design Thinking team along with University Alliances delivered a Design Thinking workshop for 30 MBA students at Donghua University. There were 8 colleagues from SAP taking part in the workshop as coaches with Prof. Liu and Prof. Zhang from Donghua University as the observers. The coaches were Nicolas Leclercq, Sophia Xiang and Vincent from the Agile & Design Thinking team, Benny Sun and Josie Guan from UA, Anniwa Abulizi from SLS, and Lucia Chen from CI&SP.


Kejing Zhang is the vice-director of Glorious Sun School of Business and Management of Donghua University who had experienced Design Thinking Workshop several times. For her invitation, we were glad to bring the DT workshop to the faculties and students in MBA center. It was also an opportunity to solve the issue raised by Prof. Liu, director of the MBA center, which was the challenge of the day “Rethink the MBA program of DHU to be more attractive and innovative”.


The workshop last for about 9 hours from 9:15 to 18:00. As the moderator, Nico gave a warm welcome and vivid introduction of Design Thinking firstly. Then he explained each steps of DT process for students to guide them in practicing in group. Even though Design Thinking was a new concept to most students, the 5 teams learned quickly and went through the 6 steps smoothly. And the room was filled with energy, intense discussion, and countless sticky notes on the board.

Nico was introducing the agenda and challenge.


                  Coach: Anniwa Abulizi                                              Coach: Lucia Chen

              Coach: Sophia Xiang                                                Coach: Vincent

                    Coach: Josie Guan                                          Coach: Benny Sun

Each team went through the 6 key steps under the guidance of the coach. They understood the issue by analysing users, problems and solutions quickly in the morning. Then each team made a plan for the questionnaire, and they went for interviewing the professors and students during the lunch time.

OBSERVE Nico being interviewed

After the steps of  “Understand” and “Observe”, it’s time to define the issue and put forward point of view. It’s interesting and inspired that the students had different ideas about the main challenge as follows.

“Rethink the social resource of DHU-MBA program for students in a world where they have high expectations about career development.”

“Rethink the current MBA courses arrangement for students at school in a world where students are losing confidence about MBA education.”

“How might we find more practical opportunities for fulltime MBA students to help them taking more important role in company?”

“Rethink the exchange program for international MBA students in a world where there are too few channels to know the programs.”


During the workshop, the participants experienced how the Design Thinking process helps them to understand abstract problems, and apply the method to solve the challenge by creating conceptual prototypes. The students used storyboard to present their solutions, and discussed with audiences as well as answered the questions raised by Prof. Liu.

                                                        BREAK TIME: Monkey Challenge


At the end of the day, all of the attendees share their feelings about the DT workshop. It was an interesting part that everyone was asked to give one word of the day and tell the reason. Students mentioned “deadline, cooperation, innovation, etc. ” Of course, Time boxing, team work, and customer focus built the essential elements of DT workshop. They also came up with “change, learning, helpful, brave, etc.” to show their achievement in the day. We got positive feedback from professors in DHU as well.

The DT workshop is very meaningful and valuable. It’s different from traditional model of teaching. This kind of methodology is conductive to innovate our thinking mode and broaden our vision. I hope the students could gain a lot and be engaged in reforming the MBA education by using this method.

-------Prof. Liu, Director of MBA center of DHU

To sum up, this Design Thinking Workshop was very successful. It brought a new outlook for us that creative ideas can also result from a process. What we need is to design creatively and think rationally. That’s what defines “Design Thinking”.

A big thank you to all of the participants who came up with great ideas and showed a lot team spirit and enthusiasm! Specially thanks for everyone who gave strong support and made this workshop a great success. It was a great experience for not only teaching students how to apply DT methodology in any problem they will encounter in the future, but also exercise and development for coaches to be better in the next DT workshop.