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Design Thinking for Research: How to Be More Productive, Creative and Confident (411)


16 April 2024

Lang EN Workshop language is English

Dr Sebastian Kernbach


This workshop is inspired by the course "Research as design" at Stanford University. According to their research (Cravens et al., 2014; Ulibarri et. al, 2014), productive, confident and motivated researchers need three things: analytical skills, creative confidence and emotional well-being. This is exactly what this workshop is about.
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.

You will have plenty of time in this workshop to work directly on your PhD, post-doc or other research project, you will benefit from peer-coaching and explore new ways to organize your projects and motivate yourself.

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.


Learning outcomes:

During this workshop, participants will gain…

Creative confidence
…with tools, techniques and inspiration for an innovative mindset
…to improve their research process
…to make themselves more innovative scholars
…to "unstuck" in times of research blocks

Problem-solving abilities
…reflecting, iterating and tolerating ambiguity
…refining questions, processes, and methods, viewing setbacks as opportunities for further learning
…highlighting the creative process of scholarly research
…combining analytical skills and creative intelligence

Emotional well-being
…being proactive about emotional needs (as it leads to greater productivity)
…creating a social-support network (academic, non-academic)
…creative a supportive, non-judgmental environment
…work in tandems and experience peer-coaching







Date: Tuesday 16th April 2024

Time: From 9:15 am to 5:15 pm

Location: Online !



Prof. Dr. Sebastian Kernbach is Assistant-Professor at the University of St. Gallen, a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University and Guest Professor at the African Doctoral Academy at Stellenbosch University . He is the founder of the Visual Collaboration Lab ( and the Life Design Lab in Switzerland (

His activities in research, teaching and consulting focus on the role of visual thinking and design thinking to support individuals, teams and organizations in their thinking and communication efforts, in particular knowledge workers, such as researchers, lecturers, consultants, coaches, etc. His seminars and lecturers at Bachelor, Master, MBA, PhD, and Executive level are highly interactive and set doing and action at the core of participants' learning experience.

His latest book in English is "Creativity in Research – Cultivate clarity, be innovative and make progress in your research journey" with Cambridge University Press. It is based on the work of the Stanford team "Research as Design" of which Prof. Dr. Sebastian Kernbach is a team member of:




Délai d'inscription 09.04.2024
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