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"Innovative solutions to new challenges"

Design Thinking expert Caroline King from SAP about new ways of learning in social sciences. 

News from Oct 26, 2013

Will Design Thinking revolutionize the way we study political science and global politics? For Caroline King, Director of International Government Relations at software giant SAP, the Design Thinking method at least enables researchers and young professionals to "create empathy for the perspectives of others" – a skill of "enormous importance for the social sciences". During our last in-house class we tested in how far the concept works with International Relations Online (IRO). We were lucky to have Caroline King on board, who made this experiment work out successfully.



Ms. King, what is Design Thinking all about?

Design Thinking is a method or approach to problem solving that borrows from traditions in design and architecture and applies them to other fields. It’s about finding the intersection between feasibility, viability and desirability. That means: finding sustainable solutions to challenges in business and society that reflect what the community involved really wants.

The design-thinking-concept sounds rather abstract. How do you apply it in your job life?

Design Thinking helps SAP solution architects and software engineers, as well as sales colleagues, look at the challenges their customers face from a different perspective. It can help break a stalemate to a long standing problem, or provide innovative solutions to new challenges in a quickly changing business landscape. From a Government Relations perspective Design Thinking also has some interesting applications. We are currently looking at it to explore new ideas for international conferences that have not been so successful in recent years – to cite just one example.

Why are you offering such a workshop for M.A. International Relations Online students? How can Interneational Relations benefit from the Design Thinking method?

Design Thinking is increasingly finding application beyond business. It is already being successfully used in social innovation in community development and in some cases of conflict resolution. Design Thinking is really about creating empathy for the perspectives of the other – this can be of enormous importance in the social sciences.

How should university study programs in the area of political science and global politics integrate Design Thinking in their curricula?

Workshops are relatively easy to organize and fun to conduct. You don’t need to tackle a complicated issue to see the advantages of the approach. It is easy to include some one or two day workshops in existing curricula.

What is your impression so far about the M.A. program International Relations Online, both from a stand point of a political scientist and a professional, who endorses innovative ideas and concepts?

International Relations online is a good investment for any young professional seeking to round out his or her educational background, grow their skill set, and invest in a network that can support them throughout their careers.

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