Event Recaps

Welcoming New, Design Thinking Neighbors to NYC

Columbia’s newest neighbor in the innovation community is the NYC home of the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI). Located within SAP’s offices in Hudson Yards, on a glass-encased floor with stunning views of the Hudson River and some of New York City’s most iconic buildings, the space has whiteboard walls and the furniture is either on wheels or suspended from the ceiling.  There are post-its, pencils, books, and things to fidget with while you think.

In other words, it is a thoughtfully curated space for design thinking.

Set into motion by the Hasso Plattner Foundation (its eponymous patron is also known for co-founding SAP and for his pivotal role in the Stanford d.school), Hasso Plattner Institute is known for its innovation-oriented and application-based approach to computer science and engineering. At its NYC housewarming, Richard Witten, Adam Royalty, and other members of the NYC and global community gathered to share knowledge and discuss the latest ideas in design and the creation of new solutions.

Considering the question of a university’s role in innovation, Witten spoke of the potential to creatively innovate on the old paradigm of a university: To go beyond a mandate of creating knowledge to also include implementing and scaling that knowledge in order to impact the world and help solve its problems.

Solving real-world problems involves working with the concrete as well as the theoretical, something that design thinking complements well. In his remarks, Royalty emphasized the way in which experiential learning and design work together to help unlock peoples’ creativity. It’s what he sees throughout workshops in the Design Studio (its own thoughtfully creative space) and in the sessions he holds across disciplines, across campus, and across this dynamic city.

A supportive environment and a diversity of people helps lift the limits off of creativity. Welcome to the neighborhood, HPI – we hope you like the view as much as we do.


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