Design Thinking in Virtual Reality

zurück zur Übersicht

Projektart und Laufzeit

Dissertation, September 2017 bis August 2020 (abgeschlossen)


Hilti Lehrstuhl für Business Process Management




Process Management


Innovations like new products, services, or business models are crucial for organizations to survive in an increasingly competitive business environment. Ultimately, such innovations are made possible by an organization’s creative ideas, developed and fostered by best practices in crowdsourcing, open innovation, and design thinking. Design thinking helps to produce so-called human-centered innovations–that is, innovations that are specifically tailored to the needs of the customer. In design thinking, cross-disciplinary teams typically go through an iterative, multi-stage process using a variety of creative methods such as brainstorming or rapid prototyping.

In global enterprises, the people required for design thinking are often distributed across the world, making it difficult or very expensive for them to physically participate in design-thinking collaborative workshops. To save time and costs, and to be more environmentally friendly, virtual reality may thus be effectively leveraged for design thinking activities. In addition to time and costs savings, design thinking workshops in virtual reality may offer organizations several other benefits, as they also allow the creation of virtual prototypes and the efficient documentation of results. However, it is well known that collaboration, communication, and creativity still work best in conventional, physical face-to-face meetings – so design thinking may also be difficult to implement in virtual reality.

Against this backdrop, the dissertation explores whether and when design thinking can be effective in virtual reality. The dissertation project is paper-based and uses a design-science research approach to evaluate the applicability of virtual reality in design thinking. The objective is to build a prototypical virtual reality environment for design thinking, to experimentally evaluate its effectiveness, and to formulate design principles and/or design theory.


Virtual Reality, Design Thinking, Design Science Research