Insights from latest International Product Development Project Bootcamp


This year’s HAMK Design Factory and Design Factory Mannheim iPdP (International Product Development Project) just started. Luckily,

we could meet in a live situation, so twelve HAMK students travelled to Germany for the iPdP Bootcamp. We also made some changes compared to previous courses: the whole iPdP process started with MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) before the iPdP Bootcamp, so that students could get familiar with design thinking definitions and methods in advance. The result was that we saw prepared, enthusiastic, and positive energy already in Finland, waiting to meet the German student colleagues!

iPdP Bootcamp

The iPdP Bootcamp was designed by Kirstin Kohler and Manuel Walter from and the first days were more about getting to know each other. Many funny games pumped up all teams at full speed, so when project sponsors came in, they saw joyful and happy students ready to collaborate and dive into the design thinking world with their challenges. A lot happened during the week. New, hopefully lifetime friendships were built. The week was all about networking, studying and having fun. Free time activities included exploring the city of Mannheim and some students even made a trip to Heidelberg.

This year we were lucky because we also had one part-time student onboard. I interviewed a few students, and here are some of their thoughts about our first week. While full-time students were concentrating more on the context and learning new elements, in addition to that, part-time students can see these projects a bit differently. Because mostly all of them are doing two things at the same time, more attention is paid also for networking. There are working and business opportunities everywhere for both student groups and iPdPs are perfect opportunities for creating an international career. In addition, there are currently 38 Design Factories globally, where the opportunities for hopping onto an international level are great.

Take aways from the first week

Teams were formulated, and the business challenges were given. This year we will enjoy moldable glass, sniffing drones, hospital products and a sports app. Every team has 6 students, and they all are from

different degree programs and have a very diverse approach to every challenge. From a teacher’s point of view, we really hit the jackpot, because teams are functional and obviously enjoying their different perspectives, bringing new ideas and brainstorming together. After intensive weeks we are all very tired, but it’s “part of the disease”. When you really work hard with your thoughts and ideas, this is a natural consequence. I could say that the main takeaways at this point were new friends, new teams and quick peaks into the design thinking world and understanding the whole process, and what will happen within the next weeks and months. Mission accomplished! Now just let’s continue working with lectures and developing ideas.



Sanna-Maaria Siintoharju, lecturer and a head of HAMK Design Factory Valkeakoski

Leave A Reply