Design Thinking and Visual Thinking for Research

October 29, 2019 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Europe/Vienna Timezone
Gußhausstraße 25-29
1040. 6 OG

Workshop description

This workshop is inspired by the course “Research as design” at Stanford University. According to our research (Cravens et al., 2014; Ulibarri et. al, 2014), productive, confident and motivated researchers need three things: analytical skills, creative confidence and emotional well-being. This is exactly what this workshop is about.

The goal of this workshop is to recognize the creative, playful mindset that underlies successful innovation in scholarship and explore how design thinking can improve the research process to make us more innovative scholars or scientists. And with this, to increase the ability of researchers to create quality research and a systematic application of creativity in their own research development. Especially because emerging scholars and interdisciplinary researchers need tools, techniques, support, and inspiration to approach their research in an innovative and playful spirit of design.

Participants will explore a variety of design skills and mindsets, but focus especially on how being mindful of your own research process, work styles, emotional state, and sometimes-hidden assumptions can help you get “unstuck” when facing research bumps in the road. The instructor seeks to help participants to explore potential solutions to problems in their research efforts.


Learning outcomes:

During this workshop, participants will gain…

Creative confidence

…with tools, techniques and inspiration for an innovative mindset

…to improve their research process

…to make themselves more innovative scholars

…to “unstuck” in times of research blocks


Problem-solving abilities

…reflecting, iterating and tolerating ambiguity

…refining questions, processes, and methods, viewing setbacks as opportunities for further learning

…highlighting the creative process of scholarly research

…combining analytical skills and creative intelligence


Emotional well-being

…being proactive about emotional needs (as it leads to greater productivity)

…creating a social-support network (academic, non-academic)

…creative a supportive, non-judgmental environment

…work in tandems and experience peer-coaching


Participants will have the opportunity to apply design thinking tools and methods to their own research projects, creating prototypes of their research papers, understanding the importance of an iterative process and seeking feedback to further develop their research.

About the lecturer:

Dr. Sebastian Kernbach

Dr. Sebastian Kernbach is a lecturer, project manager and researcher at the University of St. Gallen and a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University. He is the founder of the Visual Collaboration Lab ( and the Life Design Lab Switzerland (

His activities in research, teaching and consulting focus on the role of visual thinking and design thinking to support individuals, teams and organizations in their thinking and communication efforts, in particular knowledge workers, such as researchers, lecturers, consultants, coaches, etc. His seminars and lecturers at Bachelor, Master, MBA, PhD, and Executive level are highly interactive and set doing and action at the core of participants’ learning experience.

His latest book “Creativity in Research – Cultivate clarity, be innovative and make progress in your research journey” with Cambridge University Press was released in August 2019. It is based on the curriculum developed by the Stanford team “Research as Design” of which Dr. Sebastian Kernbach is a member:


Important Information:

This workshop is organized by the Innovation Incubation Center (i²c) at TU Wien and is for TUW scientists only. There is no fee, but registration is required using a TU Wien email address.

During the event, photographic and video material will be taken. Please inform the TUW Innovation Incubation team at the registration in case you do not agree with appearing in this material. The photographic and video material taken at the event will be used by i²c for printed and electronic media, including the Internet, for publication, education, lectures, radio, public performances, exhibitions or other promotional purposes.***