Barbara Diehl

  Executive Director at the Innovation Academy, University College Dublin

  University College Dublin


Short Bio

Barbara Diehl is Executive Director at the Innovation Academy, University College Dublin. Barbara’s extensive experience in entrepreneurship and innovation is based on over 10 years of working in various knowledge transfer settings, seven of which alone in the field of entrepreneurship and venture creation at the University of Oxford’s Entrepreneurship Centre (2008-2015).

Barbara has worked at all three cornerstones of the innovation triangle, policy, academia and business, through which she has accumulated expertise in all aspects related to getting early-stage technologies through to market. Within the higher education setting her particular interests revolve around entrepreneurial education and its impact as well as international trends in entrepreneurship and early-stage venture investment. In her professional capacity, Barbara teaches classes on 'Entrepreneurial Thinking' and routinely helps student teams refine their business plans and investment pitches. She is also very experienced in evaluating early-stage venture creation ideas and has served on the investment committees of various seed funds. She is regularly called upon as mentor on a variety of national and international entrepreneurship training programmes, such as the 'Leaders in Innovation'Fellowship programme by the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK.

Barbara was educated at the universities of Heidelberg and Johns Hopkins where she was a Fulbright scholar and holds a Masters degree in Economic and Social History from the University of Oxford where she was a Wellcome Trust Scholar. Prior positions include working for the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, a science & innovation policy related think-tank in Berlin. From 2004-2006 she managed ESOF2006 in Munich, Europe’s biggest “Science in Society” Forum, which attracted over 50,000 attendees to its outreach programme.

Presentation Title: Introduction to Design-Thinking


In this fun and interactive session we will explore the tool and methodology of Design-Thinking which is one of the fundamental building blocks of exploring problem-solution fit in new venture creation. Design-Thinking is a human centred approach to innovation that draws from the experience and toolkit of designers in order to integrate the needs of people into the design of new products and services. Pioneered by the product design consultancy IDEO and the Stanford d-school in the late 1990s as a useful framework for solving business problems, it is a handy and useful tool in the entrepreneurial toolkit when validating potential ideas for new ventures.

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