Invited Talk

Robot Challenge – Invited Talk:
Exploratory Program Design: Supporting Creativity Challenges through Agile Methods and Design Thinking

Marcel Taeumel ( is a researcher at the Hasso Plattner Institute ( at the University of Potsdam ( He is part of the Software Architecture Group ( lead by Prof. Dr. Robert Hirschfeld ( In early 2020, he received a doctorate degree for his work on “Data-driven Tool Construction in Exploratory Programming Environments” ( Since April 2014, he has been participating in the Design Thinking Research Program ( to investigate the interactions between Design Thinking and exploratory-programming practices.
    His research activities include the area of building graphical tools for programmers, especially data-driven tools supporting program-comprehension tasks. Direct-manipulation concepts, dynamic analysis, and communication in distributed teams practicing agile methods play an important role. Additionally, he investigates concepts of modularity with respect to critical software-quality metrics such as extensibility and maintainability, while reasoning about interdependencies between languages and tools.


At the heart of each software-related project sits a creativity challenge: the program design. That challenge exhibits typical characteristics of wicked problems: tangible solutions precede deep problem understanding, there is no inherent stopping rule but an ever-growing pool of ideas, and quality assessment depends on the perspective. Design Thinking is a good fit for approaching such problems. Its values and practices help explore problem and solution space. For program design, agile development methods provide software-related guidance, adding technical aspects, keeping user requirements in focus. Both Design Thinking and agile methods are compatible while emphasizing (creative) ideation or (technical) automation, respectively.