In line with their shared vision and commitment towards encouraging innovation, and fostering active problem solving and creative solutions, The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) through its Science & Innovation Park, and Hasso Plattner Institute Academy (HPIA), a global education and training company, and the professional education interface of HPI, a university education institution for Digital Engineering in Germany, announced the launch of The HPI Middle East Hub of Design Thinking at UAEU SIP, earlier this month.
Both UAEU SIP and HPI Academy announced a three-phase plan, which will eventually lead to establishing an HPI approved, full-sized School of Design Thinking (D-School) at UAEU SIP, one that follows the model of the D-Schools in Stanford, and The Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) in Potsdam. Phase one will focus on setting up, establishing, and running a Design Thinking Hub at UAEU SIP, whereas phase two will focus on continuous learning, upskilling, and upscaling, leading to the establishment of a full-sized, first of its kind D-School in the region, concluding all three phases of the project.
Commenting on the integral part that the newly launched Design Thinking Hub will play not only in the UAE, but also in the region, Prof. Ghaleb Ali Al Hadrami Al Breiki, Acting Vice Chancellor at UAEU, stated “this type of partnership provides a unique educational opportunity in the region, and moves to a higher level of thinking and teaching methods provided to students, professionals and others who will benefit from the establishment of this center, and pave the way to apply the skills of continuous learning professionally, based on studied scientific methods”.
He added: “The Design Thinking Center will play an important role, not only at the level of the UAE, but at the level of the region as a whole. The Design Thinking Center will provide appropriate training and research results related to design thinking and innovation to benefit the local community and abroad.”
Also commenting on the occasion, Professor Nihel Chabrak, CEO of UAEU Science and Innovation Park, said: “The HPI Middle East Hub of Design Thinking that will be established in the UAEU Science and Innovation Park will consolidate our strategic assets to be able to deliver unique value proposition to our tenants and partners. It will also support our role in connecting academia, government, industry and community to use human centric design to break new grounds for impactful innovation.”
The Middle East Hub of Design Thinking, will be open to talented students and to professionals, who will be able to experience Design Thinking up close, gain knowledge, skills, and creative self-confidence, that will allow them to develop human-centered solutions to complex problems, and learn the basics of the human-centered approach, with which complex innovation problems can be solved with creative mindsets.
Prof. Christoph Meinel, President and CEO of The Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) for Digital Engineering, and Professor for Internet Technologies and Systems, highlighted the importance of HPI’s role in establishing the Design Thinking Hub: “We are very happy to contribute our research, knowledge and expertise to the establishment of the HPI Middle East Hub of Design Thinking at the United Arab Emirates University. This will be the first Hub of Design Thinking in the Arab world which paves the way for the establishment of the first D-School in the region. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation.”
Dr. Timm Krohn, CEO & Managing Director of HPI Academy added: “UAEU is an excellent partner to further extend the global HPI Design Thinking Network. We strongly believe that not only the partners but the whole region will benefit from the activities of this cooperation.”
The Middle East School of Design Thinking will be a member of The Global Design Thinking Alliance, a network of institutions that teach, research, and further develop the methods and mindsets of Design Thinking.
Design Thinking was developed by David Kelley, Stanford Professor and Founder of the renowned design agency IDEO in Silicon Valley, and is strongly influenced by Professors Terry Winograd and Larry Leifer at the d.school at Stanford University. In 2005, Hasso Plattner funded the first Design Thinking School which was established at Stanford, known as the d.school. Two years later, a sister school was established at HPI in Germany, known as the D-School, to become Europe’s first innovation school. That was the start of an expansion plan that later reached The Far East, Africa, South America, and now The Middle East.