Lugano, Switzerland

Design Thinking for Research

when 16 August 2022 - 20 August 2022
language English
duration 1 week
fee CHF 700

Participants will have the opportunity to apply design thinking tools and methods to their own research projects, creating prototypes of their research papers, understanding the importance of an iterative process and seeking feedback to further develop their research.

Simply put, design thinking is a method for problem solving, popularized in the early 1990s by applying it to product design. Since that time, a variety of design thinking approaches have been applied to an ever-increasing range of challenges including research challenges. Think of it as a constellation of iterative steps and best practices for tackling complexity rather than a specific process.

The at Stanford University has been among the first to teach design thinking to participants from areas such as engineering, medicine, business, law, the humanities, sciences, and education. They define themselves as the hub for innovators at Stanford and are recognized around the world. They were also the first to apply design thinking methods and tools to the research process and I had the pleasure to work with them in Stanford. This workshop is an extension of the Stanford workshop.
Based on the design thinking framework and mindset established at Stanford, participants will gain creative confidence in their research process and when facing challenges, problem-solving abilities to better deal with ambiguity using analytical skills and creative intelligence and emotional well-being which improves productivity when being proactive about emotional needs.

The goal of this workshop is to recognize the creative, playful mindset that underlies successful innovation in scholarship and explore how design thinking can improve the research process to make us more innovative scholars or scientists. And with this, to increase the ability of researchers to create quality research and a systematic application of creativity in their own research development. Especially because emerging scholars and interdisciplinary researchers need tools, techniques, support, and inspiration to approach their research in an innovative and playful spirit of design.

Participants will explore a variety of design skills and mindsets, but focus especially on how being mindful of your own research process, work styles, emotional state, and sometimes-hidden assumptions can help you get "unstuck" when facing research bumps in the road. The instructor seeks to help participants to explore potential solutions to problems in their research efforts.

Course leader

Sebastian Kernbach, University of St. Gallen

Target group


No particular prerequisites are required, especially not in terms of being creative or being good at drawing. All you need is a mindset of curiosity, openness and experimentation.

This workshop is designed for participants without previous experience in design thinking (especially those who may have very little idea what “design thinking” even means!).

Course aim

You will learn new visual tools and techniques to support your analytical and creative skills for your research projects. Through interventions from positive psychology and positive leadership you will be more aware of the research process, support your emotional well-being and learn how to turn mistakes into new opportunities. You will learn how to use storytelling (telling the story of your PhD) and new presentation formats to communicate your research confidently to various audiences.

Credits info

The Summer School cannot grant credits. We only deliver a Certificate of attendance, i.e. we certify your presence

If you consider using Summer School workshops to obtain credits (ECTS), you will have to investigate at your home institution (contact the person/institute responsible for your degree) to find out whether they recognize the Summer School, how many credits can be earned from a workshop/course with roughly 35 hours of teaching, no graded work, and no exams.

Make sure to investigate this matter before registering, if this is important to you.

Fee info

CHF 700: Reduced fee: 700 Swiss Francs per weekly workshop for students (requires proof of student status).
These fees includes also participation in one of the preliminary workshops (two-day workshop preceding the Summer School).
To qualify for the reduced fee, you are required to send a copy of an official document that certifies your current student status or a letter from your supervisor stating your actual position as a doctoral or postdoctoral student. Send this letter/document by e-mail.
CHF 1100: Normal fee: 1100 Swiss Francs per weekly workshop for all others.
These fees includes also participation in one of the preliminary workshops (two-day workshop preceding the Summer School).


As the Summer School is financed through participant’s fees alone and has no funds of its own, it cannot offer any scholarship, grants or financial aid.