Samo Hribar Milič, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (CCIS), highlighted the importance of design thinking (DT) for innovation. He stressed innovation to be the key to success, both for the economy and for the whole society. In the strategic document »Development Partnership« the CCIS has set ambitious goals to be reached by 2025, which would increase exports to € 50 billion and value added per employee to € 60,000. In order to achieve these goals, innovation is of utmost importance, he pointed out.

The t2i Director Roberto Santolamazza believes in the innovation power of co-creation and design. This includes the belief that having a designer or another creative mind approach a challenge can be a method for finding new solutions. DT can be used by both small and large organizations. If you are mapping out a strategy, you are designing, he explained. Santolamazza also introduced the DT Laboratories (DT-Lab), which will act as centralized points of knowledge about design thinking and will provide high quality DT training for companies, individuals and facilitators. In order to improve the network around DT Labs, DT Labs will be supported by the DT community, the so-called Virtual Training Centers DesAlps (https://test.designthinkinglab.eu).

According to Prof. Dr. Jonathan Edelman (Hasso Plattner Institute, Postdam) DT has been transformed in recent years. The success and longevity of DT depends on how well its principles are understood and performed. He discussed new developments in design thinking regarding its application in three levels of value creation: products and services, customer and partner relationships, infrastructure and organizational change.

He emphasized that design thinking reduces risks, increases customer satisfaction and their involvement, and reduces development costs. At the same time, he emphasized the importance of empathy introduced by designer thinking in the implementation of digitization.

Prof. Dr. Birgit Schenk (Hochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung und Finanzen, Ludwigsburg) discussed a new design thinking approach which combines three perspectives: the perspective of Public Administrations managers and employees, as well as residents. She share a case study which illustrates step by step the adapted design thinking method for Public Administration.

In the afternoon, workshops were held on the Future of Design Thinking, Design Thinking for Sustainable Products and Services and Design Thinking to Support Transition of SME to Digitalisation for Industry 4.0.