The First Challenge !

I joined the design-thinking workshop on Friday and Saturday (Sep 21-22, 2018), which was a great experience. The instructor was Janja Song, the “Course Director of MACE”. The students were from different specialties: IME, MACE and International Business. The aim of this workshop was to give us the opportunity to know each other before we start the actual course and to have an idea about what the course would be like! Firstly, we introduced ourselves by mentioning our names, nationality and educational background. This was a good icebreaker!

After that, Janja started introducing the topic. We learned the difference between creativity and innovation. Creativity is “the production of novel and useful ideas in any domain” (Amabile et al., 1996: 1155), while innovation is “the successful exploitation of new ideas. It is the process that carries them through to new products, new services, new ways of running the business or even new ways of doing business” (Cox, 2005: 2).

In these two days, we had to design a new product in collaboration with Adidas, as we were asked to choose one issue from any city and try to find a solution for it through sports. The target customers were people aged from 17 to 25.

We were excited! We formed groups; my group had seven people from different countries. We went to the board, and each member of the group listed some issues in their home cities. We then chose the most common one, which was homelessness. We came up with a solution, which was to build a training programme for the homeless that enabled them to secure a job. The funding for the programme would come from a certain percentage of the money raised from purchases of Adidas products. We presented our idea on the first day, but we realised that we needed to change it because it was so complicated.

On the second day, we decided to focus on the same issue but to find a different solution. To make it easier we decided to first choose a city and we agreed on Berlin. Some of the homeless people in Berlin die due to the cold weather. We decided to help them by giving them gloves, socks and winter hats. So, when anyone buys one of these products from Adidas, we will tell them that one will be given freely to the homeless through charity.

We decided to raise the awareness of this through a campaign, which would involve celebrities_ wearing our products_ running a marathon.

At the end of the second day, each group pitched their products in front of the judges. There were five groups. Unfortunately we did not win, but we learned so much in a short time!


From these two days, I have learned many things:

  1. When you fail, do not panic, do not stop! Just keep trying.
  2. Write down whatever comes to your mind.
  3. Be focused and specific.
  4. When you have any assumptions, go out and test them.
  5. Have a deep understanding of the issue.
  6. Try to find simple solutions with high effectiveness.



Amabile, T. M., Conti, R., Coon, H., Lazenby, J., & Herron, M. (1996). Assessing the work environment for creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 39(5), pp. 1154-1185.

Cox, G. (2005) Cox Review of Creativity in Business: Building on the UK’s Strengths.
London: Design Council.


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