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DT.UNI. Design Thinking Approach for an Interdisciplinary University

What is it?DT UNI

DT. UNI. will explore and develop design-led thinking approaches which support innovation in higher education institutions by using a bottom-up approach, i.e. supporting students, researchers, academics and management staff in developing their ability to think in a more divergent, creative and design thinking way. 


We are calling for academics from Birmingham City University (BCU), and HE organisations outside of BCU, to participate in a one-day workshop in Birmingham as part of the ERASMUS+ DT.Uni project. 

The workshop is designed specifically for academics and aims to skill-up participants to enable them to apply design thinking techniques into their day-to-day work within their own institution/area of work. We are exploring how DT can be embedded into the curriculum as well as implemented in higher education working practices.

Through the workshop activity you will gain hands-on experience of implementing Design Thinking (DT) tools and techniques. The workshop activity will support participants to consider working in different ways, or skill up, through thinking about challenges in a more divergent and creative way by applying DT techniques. The workshop will apply and test didactic material for DT processes that you and your colleagues could apply to your work within an academic context.   

The didactic material for the DT workshop will be collated within an e-book as a resource which can be accessed at the end of the project. It will be adjusted and improved with your feedback after each step of the workshop. An open source licence will allow free access and provide the presented Design Thinking methods to academia and other interested parties.  


Design Thinking is a way to look with fresh eyes at issues which engage us all as academics in our university lives.

  • Working in small interdisciplinary teams to learn and practice DT methods and applying it to a real world academic challenge
  • Social learning and experience sharing
  • Learning transferable methods (not just in terms of the whole DT process but also for general co-production and participatory processes)

There are many demands on the HE system: 

  • Complexity – increasingly, problem solving requires interdisciplinary working across subject areas, institutional hierarchies and barriers
  • Scarce resources and balancing these between teaching and research 
  • The need to design educational experiences for the next generation to embrace individuality and meaning through studying and working 

In this workshop we want to support participants to develop their skills to address these demands and to also develop their ability to think in a more divergent and creative way, using a range of DT tools and techniques to help them to develop their knowledge and skillset around Design Thinking. 

The day will be a way to network with like-minded people in academic roles in universities in how to work and learn together to develop solutions to shared/common challenges.

You will participate in a practical hands-on workshop, where you will experience putting into practice how to implement DT tools to understand more about co-designing solutions to challenges. 

Delegates will use a wide range of Design Thinking tools and techniques during the workshop to work on a specific problem using a user profile, co-producing solution(s) and developing a prototype, thereby gaining experience of using such tools. 

The training will enable delegates on return to their institution to involve other colleagues in how the principles of design thinking can be effectively applied within a higher education context.


  • Participants should be an academic within a higher education institution; we aim to have a mix of Birmingham City University Academics as well as academics from other UK HE Institutions 

Venue: Birmingham City University/STEAMhouse108 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DT

Dates: Wednesday 15 January 2020

Times: 9.00am – 4.30pm 

HOW TO APPLY: Download the short application form below, sign it and return it by Tuesday 7 January to the email address on the application form.

DT UNI - application form