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SAP just completed its leadership of the Design Thinking Coaches Camp held at the University of Notre Dame March 16th – 18th.  Design Thinking and creativity has been a focus area for SAP for over 10 years, and we believe higher education plays a key role in creating the talent our industry needs.  Together with our previous classroom projects and various campus leadership meetings this week, this special offering was part of our ongoing commitment to assisting Notre Dame in expanding its use of Design Thinking in its curriculum.  The workshop was also made available to other University Alliances schools in the Midwest.

This three day interactive workshop was led by Andrea Anderson, SAP Vice President of Design Thinking, a long-time practitioner and teacher in SAP’s Global Design and User Experience team, and she was assisted by SAP’s Vice President of Design Michael Brown.  The Camp was intended for faculty with some experience bringing a design thinking mindset and methods into their classroom and curricula. It focused on the teaching staff becoming a facilitator and coach (“flipped classroom model”) to guide student Design Thinking activities throughout a semester, or learning assignments. We focused on honing skills specific to coaching design thinking techniques, such as Empathy, Synthesis, and Prototyping.  The camp provided hands-on experience in coaching, feedback from participants, and practical advice around each phase and related methods.

While together we also shared insights into the type of talent SAP and our business partners are looking for, as well as our plans to provide higher education institutions with a “kit” to jump start the introduction of a design thinking curriculum in your classrooms.  There was extensive discussion around practical approaches professors have taken in bringing design-thinking related techniques into higher education, and we jointly brainstormed on best practices.

Early in the week, we met with students to formulate two design challenges we used for the faculty attendees throughout the week to illustrate all the steps in the Design Thinking process.  The challenges related to student experiences with extracurricular activities and personal shopping so they provided the opportunity to practice research, prototype validation and the final review with current students at Notre Dame.  In fact the final presentations by faculty were shared with a student panel who reviewed and critiqued the proposed solutions.