Design Thinking Center Amsterdam

Human centered design experience

Design Thinking is a way of thinking in which the end user of a service, product or process takes centre stage. Designers have to immerse themselves in the real problem of a client, in his latent desires. This will generate better products that really answer a need and comply to what people really want. Be it a new business model, strengthening the client journey, business process redesign or a software solution.

Thought Process

The Design Thinking Center allows visitors to specifically experience the thought process of Design Thinking, and this human centred design experience begins miles away. Behind the Amsterdam Central Railway Station, plastic whaleboats are waiting to take passengers across the water and the River Amstel to Overamstel. That is where the home of the Design Thinking Center is, in the lab of the former ‘gumball factory’. The entry is via a multi-coloured container, and that is where the party already begins. Visitors pass the most important inventions in world history. From the wheel, the art of printing, the steam engine, the paper clip and the telegraph to the internet, the Toyota Prius and Virtual Reality, and at the end the visitor’s corporate logo is displayed, because ‘today is the first day of your future’. And indeed, that gets the visitor immediately in the right mood.


Design Thinking-coach

The bright former factory hall invites and puts a smile on people’s faces. People want to discover, “get started.” Before visitors can get started, first a cup of coffee, and then they take a seat on the ‘stand’. That is where they are told about the space and the programme for the day. They are told that Design Thinking consists of three to four steps, with many intermediate steps in which an original idea is further and further refined. That is about working together with people from as many disciplines as possible. Everything clear? In that case, a Design Thinking coach takes them back to the starting point of the day. Is there any validity in the client’s problem they described earlier? Or is there something completely different underlaying the problem? The Design Thinking process has begun, and look, the participants split up into groups across the floor with coloured stripes, circles and dotted lines in red, yellow, blue and white, which clearly resembles the school gym of times gone by. However, one big difference: the Center is about mental gym.

Lelystad Nature Park

Tempting visitors to go for a walk

Commissioned by Het Flevo-landschap, DST rearranged the visitor centre and the central area of Lelystad Nature Park. Main aim of the new arrangement was to encourage visitors to go for a walk. And to go and discover just a little bit more than on an earlier visit.


“Play here like an animal”.

Discovering that each season is unique

In the past, the vast majority of visitors in Lelystad Nature Park only got to watch the otters. Or they made a short walk around the central pond. In the visitor centre, people discovered that much more is going on in the park. A video shows there are more animal species than they may have thought. In the Landscape Game, all animals and plants appear to be linked to one another. On the big map with stories, visitors learn that every season is different and unique.

Experiencing nature

Today, visitors also discover animals such as wisents, Przewalski’s horses and red deer at the far end of the park. In deciding the length of their walk, they can follow the signs in the park showing the estimated time to their destination. On the outer wall of the visitor centre they can print out a personalised route map for free. Yet there will always be visitors who really prefer to stay close to the visitor centre. They can enjoy the tranquillity of the Water Garden. Children can enjoy the Nature Playground: “Play like an animal”. And that means mimicking the nosedive of a hawk, building a nest from tree branches, or crawling through a foxhole. In other words: experiencing nature.



ANWB Groenpleinen

To have fun and feel good, people often need a reason to experience the green environment around them. A reason to appreciate your local park or nature area.. A place to play and be active for people of all ages. Dutch automobile association ANWB asked us to give people that reason.

(Re-)discovering nature from close by

The result: the ANWB Groenplein (“Green Square”). A small-scale, approachable and publicly accessible place in the neighbourhood, with many things to do. To (re-)discover nature from close by as a wonderful, exciting and above all inspiring environment. This requires a program of activities people can easily follow online, with an app, or by word-of-mouth. And supported with good facilities, in consultation with users and local residents.


Co-creation: everything designed in consultation with users and local residents.

Recognisable parts

DST provided ANWB with the draft, design and realisation of ANWB Groenpleinen throughout the country. Each Groenplein was given recognisable parts where people can sit, play sports or play-act. Like the Spring Lounge, the Autumn Corner and the Stroll Garden. All connected by the Yellow Ribbon. In July 2012, the first ANWB Groenplein was opened to the public in Krommenie. The second Groenplein has also been realised, in the Henri Dunant park in Eindhoven. For more information, visit