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Swiss Design Thinking Bootcamp

What do Switzerland and Rwanda have in common, except fort their lush green mountaintops? Impact Week of course! In preparation of Impact Week Rwanda, we hosted a Design Thinking Bootcamp in the beautiful mountains of Switzerland to make sure that participants of the Train the Trainer program 2018 will be able to make most of it.

Just above the Swiss mountain village of Villars-sur-Ollon, at 1’800 meters, lies the former military cabane “Crazy Moose”. Imagine the sounds of cow bells in the distance, hikers passing by, a small mountain train’s fog horn, traditional swiss cheese fondue, big 20 person bunk beds, the sound of an alp horn and gorgeous views of Europe’s tallest mountain the Mont Blanc…If there are no clouds obscuring the view that is…


In this setting we prototyped Impact Week’s first ever Design Thinking boot camp. The idea was threefold:

  1. Ensure the participants of the Train the Trainer Program have a first experience with Design Thinking and give them some basic knowledge before we start to train them to become Design Thinking coaches.
  2. Teambuilding as for most Train the Trainer participants as well as for most of the core team it was the first time meeting each other (in person). Those who could not be in the mountains physically, joined for a team gathering via Skype.
  3. Prepare for Rwanda by having a big team gathering where we walked everyone through the program, – what to expect, lessons learnt from last year -, divided tasks and responsibilities and answered the many questions everybody had.

From Friday August 31st lunchtime until Sunday September 2nd lunchtime we ran through a full program boot camp style. Going through all the Design Thinking phases, the participants experienced the power of human-centred design – often for the first time – in their attempt to come up with solutions to the challenge “Design a way for first time visitors of the Crazy Moose to leave the mountains with a memorable story to tell”.

On Saturday we held a big team gathering to walk through the program of Impact Week Rwanda 2018. Lufthansa’s Jens Unger shared some of the history of Impact Week and his biggest lessons from organizing many Impact Weeks. Organization Leads Christine Wenzel (Lufthansa) and Joern Bruecker (Nestlé) shared their experiences of last year and everyone had the chance to sign up to certain responsibilities and ask all their questions. Everyone who wasn’t able to join up in the mountains, joined via Skype.

By the time the clouds cleared on Sunday morning, all participants were looking forward more than ever to go to Rwanda; brains full with new knowledge, lungs full with fresh mountain air and hearts filled with new friendships. 


Design Thinking Bootcamp Participants

N.B. A one-day boot camp will be organized in Kigali the day before the start of the
Train the Trainer program, to make sure all participants have the chance to start on equal footing.