Design for
Better Society

Meaningful solutions can transform us.
Discover what Design Thinking can do.

27-28 Sept 2019, Belgrade

Design Thinking helps us unleash creative potential for innovation and put humans at the center of every solution we develop. It is an all-around method used to solve problems, develop products, services, processes and business models that promote purposeful social impact and sustainable profitable progress against progressive profit. Weather you identify as business, entrepreneurs, startups, academia, public institutions, students, or NGOs, join us to co-create an ecosystem that leads a culture of innovation.

The conference “Design for Better Society“ is setting a foundation for mutual understanding of the significance, potential and impact of design thinking. 

For the first time in the region, the eminent design thinkers and practitioners from the entire world are gathering to shed a light on, perhaps, the most relevant subject – how to create value and make the world a better place.

[ Guests ]

For the first time in the region, the eminent design thinkers and practitioners from the entire world are gathering to shed light on, perhaps, the most relevant subject – how to create value and make the world a better place.

Keynote Speaker

Jeanne Liedtka

Professor at Virginia Darden School of Business

Keynote Speaker

Kara Pecknold

Creative Director at Frog

Keynote Speaker

Ivar Björkman

Executive Director Openlab, PhD


Dr. Mick Jackson

Founder of the WildHearts Group

Speaker and Coach

Randy Salzman

Journalist and former communications professor at the University of Virginia

Speaker & Lead Coach

Mito Mihelic

Head of User Lab at VC/O GmbH Berlin, Docent at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences


Merel van der Woude

Creative Director at Butterfly Works


Valentina Piquerez

Project Leader, Creative Mornings

Speaker & Coach

Sunita Maldonado

Project Consultant & Communication at GmbH Design Thinking Mentor at ZHdK Design Thinking Program


Lisa Henke



Maud Bocquillod



Benjamin Dirks


Day 1, Sept 27th

10 am to 6 pm


Jeanne Liedtka, Professor at Virginia Darden School of Business

Why Design Thinking Works

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Around the globe and across all sectors of the economy, pressures are intensifying for innovation and growth. Increasingly, organizations are turning to design thinking as a potentially powerful tool kit for unlocking innovative energies and ideas. But what is design thinking and why does it work? This session will answer those questions, focusing on DT’s role in building a capability for innovative action across all types of organizations – from the front-line to the executive suite, and will examine interesting examples from a diverse set of countries and sectors.


Kara Pecknold, Creative Director at Frog  

The Business of Designing Change

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Frog’s mission is to advance the human experience through design and to accomplish this goal, it applies design thinking methods and mindsets. Over its 50 year history, their teams have learned that getting to the heart of systems and organisations has the potential to create significant change in the world.

Drawing on some of frog’s recent work and collaborations in the space of designing with and for children, “Super Adults” and communities, Kara will share some of the process and learnings that can provide fresh perspective and guidance to those who want to bring more design thinking into organisations and in turn, increase impact on society.


Ivar Björkman, Executive Director Openlab

In the Making of Co-creating a Societal Innovation Labs: Learning Outcomes and Reflections on how to Make it Happen

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Co-creation labs that involve different stakeholders are growing all over the world and Openlab Stockholm was one of the first. The presentation will focus on how design thinking has been used as a core method for making it happen and learning outcomes, both success and obstacles. The presentation will also go into what is the next step for design thinking for meeting the demands for the future.

Presentations and panel discussion 1

Randy Salzman, Journalist and former communications professor at the University of Virginia

Batten Design Thinking for Analytically-Oriented Minds

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Introduction to the Batten Design Thinking methodology developed by Dr. Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie, different than most because it is aimed primarily at analytically-oriented bureaucrats and substantially written by an accountant with a bottom-line mentality. This approach was not developed by self-identified creative or intuitive thinkers, but rather by diagnostic, educational minds; minds which are comfortable with structure and are, therefore, identify easily with mid-level organizational managers. While other design methodologies emphasize wonderful tools for helping participants be creative and think outside the proverbial box, the Batten method provides a distinct 15-step process which emphasizes the social technology elements of design amidst a “bureaucratic safety” encouraging participants to chance trying collaborative creativity.

Mick Jackson, Founder of the WildHearts Group

Re-Imagining the Role of Business 

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At WildHearts we believe that business must be a force for good. Indeed, with its immense resources and talent, it is uniquely placed to do so. Our passion is to inspire companies to re-imagine their place in the world. Why is this so important? The world is changing. Corporates are being judged by more enlightened standards than before. The companies that will thrive and remain relevant are the companies that play their part in addressing humanity’s most pressing challenges. But how do you achieve this in reality? In his talk Dr Mick Jackson will discuss how the WildHearts Group and its multi-award winning, Values Driven Entrepreneurship training programme Micro-Tyco is re-imagining the role of business and as a result has transformed over one million lives globally.

Presentations and panel discussion 2

Merel van der Woude, Creative Director at Butterfly Works

What Happens to the Designer When Design Thinking Meets Co-creation?

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Design thinking has changed the role of the designer as it made the design process more transparent but also more accessible to anyone who want to create relevant and user-friendly products or services. At Butterfly Works we take it a step further by emphasising on a co-creation approach. This means we actively engage all relevant stakeholders in a creative process of unwrapping the design challenge, ideating a solution and developing a solution through iterative prototyping rounds. As a facilitator of this process we connect different people that have different skills, viewpoints and backgrounds, making them all designers and co-creators of the solution. I will present my ideas and tips on how the designer can release creativity, push to innovate and together come to solutions no one thought of at the start.

Mito Mihelic, Head of User Lab at VC/O GmbH Berlin, Docent at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences

Are Designers (Really) the Worst Design Thinkers?

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More info is coming soon.

Presentations and panel discussion 3

Sunita Maldonado, Project Consultant & Communication at GmbH Design Thinking Mentor at ZHdK Design Thinking Program

Starting Today: Design Thinking in Practice

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You have heard of Design Thinking, are convinced by its principles, might have learned some methods and excited to start using it for your professional context. But now what? Suddenly that easy process seems huge and too many aspects need to be taken care of.

We will have a look at how you can integrate Design Thinking into your daily (work-) life right away: Which mindset is crucial, what tools are the right ones to begin with, how to apply the process on a small scale and, when do trainings help you and your employees or co-workers to jump to the next level. You do not have to change your whole organization right away, smaller steps are just as bold – and we will see which ones to begin with.

Valentina Piquerez, Project Leader, Creative Mornings

Design Thinking as a Fundament for Everyday Work 

A methodology for community building

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Design Thinking as a methodology to help develop creative and collaborative communities through co-creation. It encourages a shift in perspective when people are put front and center of the creative process, leading to more horizontal (flat), circular, creative organization through mindfulness and empathy.

Day 2, Sept 28th

10 am to 6pm

Design Thinking Fundamentals

Lead coach: Mito Mihelic

Team of coaches: Sunita Maldonado, Lisa Henke, Maud Bocquillod and Benjamin Dirks

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 In the workshop, participants will outline possibilities of potential collaboration between governmental organisations and corporate entities. Supported by certified Design Thinking coaches, members of multidisciplinary teams will detect gaps in already established as well as future initiatives. By defining stakeholders through using a persona tool, each team will focus on a particular component of the collaborative process. 

After defining (potential) users’ pains and gains, created with qualitative research techniques, facilitators will guide the crowd through various ideation techniques in favour of finding most fitting, disruptive and nevertheless innovative solutions. Clustered and chosen ideas will be taken into rapid prototyping and testing. Teams will deliver concepts for the future social innovation landscape in Serbia, aligned with current roadblocks and nevertheless offering solutions on how to overcome them. Workshops will be held in English. No prior Design Thinking knowledge need. We suggest a smart casual attire and recommend to avoid high heels, due to several hours of reduced sitting time. 

Empathy Workshop

Walking a Mile in their Moccasins…”

with Randy Salzman, Journalist and former communications professor at the University of Virginia

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 Building to this Native American concept of empathy, we utilize SKIP cards from New Zealand to help workshop participants absorb the basis of design thinking – truly understanding our clients, customers, staff and other stakeholders before presenting solutions to whatever problems.  Organizations tend to bring pre-determined concepts to most projects but only through being aware of human cognitive biases and stakeholders’ realities can actionable concepts be devised for the real humans that designers seek to serve. In this short workshop, participants adapt their first ideas for addressing a key problem – and hence identifying their confirmation biases – as they dwell ever deeper into the human side of the issue. 

Start with your End-user: Design Thinking and Co-creation for Social Change

With Merel van der Woude, Creative Director at Butterfly Works

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 How can we create a world in which people have a say in the future they want? A world where there are no boundaries between organisations and their target groups so that together we take the responsibility

for a better world? Butterfly Works has developed a design thinking method that focusses on co-creation with the people who are affected by the challenges that trigger a need for change. Over the years we have worked with many different organisations and stakeholders in a wide variety of countries. We have seen how you can connect with different stakeholders no matter the differences in language, culture or values and motivations. We wish to share our enthusiasm and insights on how a diverse collaboration will enrich your work even when it seems complicated at the start. Together, we will explore how you can create innovative ideas with your end-users. We will share our experiences of working with young girls in rural communities, children in refugee camps and young gamers in conflict zones. We’ll use examples from our projects to show practically how co-creation builds a balance between stakeholders and creates a solid foundation for developing solutions together. Most importantly, we will together design a plan on how to integrate Design Thinking and co-creation in your work to create social impact.  The session will provide you with practical tools on Design Thinking and co-creation and it will result in a concrete action plan to inspire you to start co-creating social change.

Udruženje gradjana Design Thinkers
Civil Society association Design Thinkers

The organisation Design Thinkers has gathered young talents, social entrepreneurs, students, artists, and professors around the goal to support cultivation, development, and implementation of social innovations based on contemporary methods and tools for (social) problem solving.

The mission of the association is to introduce, promote and educate about Design Thinking through educational programs, projects based on DT principles, as well as collaboration with international organizations which have been successfully implemented Design Thinking over a number of years.

Design Thinkers association believes in meaningful implementation of contemporary innovation and problem solving methods in education, non-governmental sector and public institutions.

In partnership with

design and innovations that transforms​

The design of transformation processes has the goal to embody the purpose of organizations/brands and create new relationships built on values and discovery of often uncovered human needs.

o5 transformation design consultancy creates an environment in which innovation becomes an
integral part of life of every organization. o5 team of experts designs and manages complex
processes of cultural transformation based on authenticity, purpose, value and belief systems.

o5 believes in profitable progress against progressive profit. Through Innovation Lab projects we
are establishing new ecosystems, co-creating innovative solutions, and hopefully, in partnership
with our clients, creating a better world.


Belgrade Cultural Center

Kolarčeva 6, Belgrade

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