Product Design

Successful companies offer the right product at the right time at an appropriate price. As a consequence of accelerated changes in the business environment such as customer requirements or available technologies, it is becoming more and more difficult to fulfill customer needs. Product lifecycles are getting shorter and time is therefore a scarce resource. Furthermore, the complexity of product design and development processes is increasing, e.g. due to the need to integrate mechanical components, electronics and software. Characteristic examples therefore are cyber-physical systems as part of industry 4.0. To meet upcoming challenges, it is essential to avoid unnecessary external and internal complexity and to minimize unavoidable complexity.

Design Thinking can be one answer to face those challenges. It is a set of both, mindsets and design-based activities that foster the collaboration required to solve problems in human-centered ways. Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy.

The Design Thinking approach brings together what is desirable from a human point of view,what is technologically feasible and economically viable.


Three key factors make Design Thinking successful – following the Design Thinking process, working in multidisciplinary teams as well as offering a variable space. The Design Thinking process is based on the intuitive workflow of a designer. The teams are led through iterative loops which take the participants through six phases – understanding, observation, defining the point of view, ideation, prototyping and testing. The focus is set on a deep understanding of the customer – his gains, pains and experiences.

The new Schumpeter Laboratory for Innovation, offers the opportunity to research on Product Design to strengthen the cooperation of Maker, the established industry, start-ups and scientific research.

Ongoing PhD theses on this topic
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  • Patrick Herstätter
  • Oliver Mörth
Completed PhD theses on this topic
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  • Dr. Hans Peter Schnöll