Design thinking for biotechnology, a class at the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, 2015

I remember the times when design thinking was not an „official” methodology, and it wasn’t a system to drive innovation; hell, it wasn’t a school subject, let alone a uni degree! Back then I was fortunate enough to start that trend, haha, as I taught design thinking at a postgraduate degree at the Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland (and the second oldest university in Central Europe, and one of the oldest surviving universities in the world!).


Design thinking for business was incorporated into a business degree for biotechnology. As innovation and problem-solving methodology, and in comparison to the growing number of inventions in the area of biology, medicine, technology, and more. It was a good plan to include design thinking or any form of creative entrepreneurship/innovation.


I had six hours to use for the workshop and all the time in the world to research how design thinking can aid or aided already the field of biotechnology. Not knowing more about my audience but only about the area, I decided to focus on empathy, defining problems, unlocking creativity, and testing/feedback.


Tools covered in empathy stage:
+ Empathy vs. sympathy
+ How to switch between hearing and listening
+ How to create a persona
+ How to create an empathy map
+ How to adopt beginner’s mindset


Tools covered in problem definition stage:
+ 5 Whys
+ Ishikawa/Fish diagram
+ Pareto Principle


Tools covered in creativity:
+ Brainstorming
+ Association exercises
+ 30 Circles
+ Visual prototyping


Tools covered in testing and feedback:
+ Show, don’t tell
+ Hands-on testing