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Ap­plied Design Think­ing for the bar­be­cue of the fu­ture

02.11.2020, Study :

HNU students develop solutions for grill manufacturers in interdisciplinary workshops
Students of the Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU) devoted themselves to the topic of barbecuing from 5 to 9 October 2020 using the method of Applied Design Thinking. At the centre of the hybrid workshop was the company transformation of the barbecue manufacturer Landmann, who had invited students to develop innovative solutions.

In a hybrid event format, the 37 students from different courses of the HNU worked on seven thematic focuses: In order to increase product attractiveness by adapting the UX design accordingly and to exploit digital potential in the B2B and B2C sectors, the students were given tasks related to the optimisation of customer communication. The strategic use of customer information to improve products and services also required new solutions, particularly with regard to customer centricity.

The students were supervised by Prof. Dr. Daniel Schallmo, Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship, and the team of the Institute for Digital Transformation. A seven-phase method for Applied Design Thinking developed by Prof. Schallmo was used, which is also used in industry and the service sector.

"I knew the method of Design Thinking from theory," explains Managing Director Uwe Scharunge. "When the topic of corporate transformation became topical for LANDMANN, my concern was to exploit the potential of this promising concept in practice. My colleague Thomas Seitz and I quickly agreed to work together with the HNU on this project. We worked out the core questions in close cooperation with our Marketing, Product Management and Sales departments and Prof. Schallmo".
The interdisciplinary teams worked on the issues in the same building, but via video conference. "Due to the special situation, we divided the event into three rooms and chose a hybrid format, i.e. a mix of face-to-face and online teaching", explains Prof. Schallmo, who thanked his team and above all the students not only for their valuable professional commitment, but also for implementing the hygiene concept.   

"Innovative concepts for challenging issues": Contributions from students are now integrated into LANDMANN's corporate development

Among the solutions developed are various event concepts to be able to address customers in an even more targeted manner in the future and place them at the centre of the company. Shareconomy approaches were also developed - for example, by renting out the grills locally. Since the method of Design Thinking also involves the creation of prototypes, the participants* designed and built mock-ups for innovative apps as well as classic, haptic models made of various materials.

The company was connected via livestream during the workshop when the teams presented their results. The concepts are now being taken up by LANDMANN and further developed in the management team: "We were delighted to see how surprisingly creative the unencumbered students were in dealing with the challenging questions and what innovative concepts the teams had come up with. For us, the project proves that the method of Design Thinking can make valuable contributions in a short time, even to such complex topics as the innovation of business models," says Uwe Scharunge.

Fail-Fast Principle: students are enthusiastic about practical relevance and fast creative processes

In addition to an expansion of methodological competencies in design thinking and presentation skills, the students benefited above all from the fail-fast principle, which enables errors to be quickly detected and corrected. They also found the intensive and interdisciplinary teamwork enriching: "Applying the process of Design Thinking to a practical case has shown how much creativity can be invested in a team within a very short time. Organising and quick action were also encouraged by one or the other situation, which will definitely be helpful in the further course of studies and in the working world," sums up Laura Gola, who studies Information Management and Corporate Communications (IMUK). Fellow student Jennifer Kriener confirms: "The week was very varied and exciting. The whole process - from the problem to the development of a solution and improvement of a prototype - was very interesting. As was the cooperation in the team and the joint discussion of the individual topics".


For more than 50 years the LANDMANN company has stood for high quality barbecues and corresponding accessories. The company was founded in Osterholz-Scharmbeck near Bremen to bring barbecuing to Germany. In the meantime, around 200 LANDMANN employees in 35 countries on five continents are committed to creating trend-setting barbecue products and developing the company sustainably. With HNU and LANDSMANN two innovative partners met in the Applied Design Thinking Workshop, who were able to achieve synergy effects through successful cooperation.

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