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Dr. Claudia Nicolai is the co-director and academic director of the HPI School of Design Thinking in Potsdam/Germany. Together with her team she designs the academic programs for participants, the design thinking-coaches programs, develops innovation projects with partner institutions (companies, non-profit-organizations and research institutions) and researches on business design, innovative workplaces, leadership and teamwork. Claudia is also responsible for cooperations with international academic institutions in Design Thinking and related fields. She has co-designed the d-school genovasi in Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia and the HPI D-school at the University of Cape Town in South Africa as well as the international biothinking-program at the Charité. Currently she is involved in developing design thinking institutions in Middle and Latin America (Mexico and Chile). She has taught as a guest professor/assistant professor at the University of Witten/Herdecke, RWTH Aachen, University of Arts/Berlin, openlab/Stockholm, and Elisava School of Design/Barcelona. Besides teaching and learning she heads Design Thinking-research at the HPI D-School with 3 funded research projects in the fields of innovation networks, future of work and team leadership. She is also eager to enable to make an impact on future education, change-making and entrepreneurship by closely collaborating with primary education institutions as well as international leadership programs (e.g. Montessori School, Young Global Leadership Program of Melton Foundation). She serves as a mentor of the startupbootcamp, Impact Hub and several startups. Claudia studied Business Administration, Economics, and Social Science and received her Ph.D. in Strategic Innovation. She has gained experience as a founder of her own companies as well as working as a strategy consultant and business manager for fast-moving consumer goods. She loves to encourage participants and professionals to become innovators, entrepreneurs and change-makers.
Since 2007 Director of the School of Design Thinking at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute in Potsdam. Studied Arts, Design, Art History and Philosophy in Munich and Berlin.
1980-1986 active in TV design in public and private production houses. Since 1986, specialized in 3D computer animation (among others with mental images, ART + COM) in artistic, technical and scientific projects for companies like ARD, BMW, Daimler Benz, Siemens, Schering, Telekom, ZDF. Founder of the company TERRATOOLS and CYPARADE with focus on 3D animation, simulation, cross-media projects and computer games. Since 1994 Professor of Computer Animation at the Film University Babelsberg. For four years the Vice President for Research, Development and International Relations. Since 2004 Visiting Professor at the Communication University of China CUC in Beijing and there since 2014 Honorary Director of the Design Thinking Innovation Center. 2014 to 2018 honorary board member of the German Society for Quality DGQ e.V., board member of TEDx Berlin and, since 2015 co-founder of WeQ-Foundation and its honorary chairman. Since 2017 president of the Global Design Thinking Alliance GDTA. Co-author of several books, author of "Network Thinking – Beyond Brockhaus Thinking".