07-21 Design thinking and the discovery of your professional life after the PhD

Academia Raetica


In this workshop, we will look at how we can plot the lines of our individual professional journeys after the PhD and continue that story of discovery – of ourselves, as well as of universes yet to be known. Participants will have the opportunity to identify their strengths, interests and motivations as a next step towards clarifying their individual professional profile. We will use the approach of design thinking to help participants explore the shape of their continuing journey.

In a fast-developing economy with rapidly shifting demands and parameters, it can be difficult to understand where the professional path might lie after the PhD. Indeed, most paths turn out to be visible only in retrospect, which makes it difficult for those at the outset of their journey to make confident decisions.

In this workshop, we will leave “path-thinking” behind to turn instead to wayfinding: taking small steps forward by understanding who and where we are in the present moment; gathering information and prototyping ideas; and building the tools to write our individual stories, to discover and be discovered, to learn and to contribute, and to open the next chapter with curiosity and excitement.


Guided preparation, using an online skills profile tool (e.g. DocPro, myIDP) alongside a personal profile builder to identify the skills developed during the doctorate, individual strengths and interests.

  • An introduction to the principles of design thinking and radical collaboration as a way to build diverse visions for what might come next.

  • Exploring personal visions for the future and investigating plotlines for a new chapter.

  • Identifying waypoints worth exploring and the resources to explore them with.

  • Setting objectives for the next stage of the journey.


  • In advance of the workshop, participants will receive guided instructions to help them complete preliminary work (approximately 3 hours).

  • The workshop will be held online. Participants will work in plenary, in breakout rooms and individually, and should ensure they have a reliable video and audio connection for the entirety of the workshop.

  • We will use the Designing Your Life approach (developed at the Stanford Design School) as a core tool to help participants move forward on their professional journey.

  • Schedule: The workshop will be held online, Friday 26th November 2021, from 12:30 to 16:00, with short breaks to leave the screen and refresh.

  • Language: The seminar will be held in English. Written material presented to the trainer for feedback may be completed in English, French or Italian.

  • The workshop is designed for 12 doctoral candidates and postdocs from all disciplines.

  • Participation fee: CHF 80


Director of her own company, Portfolio Formation Sàrl since 2014, Verity Elston also heads the careers advice support for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers at the University of Lausanne’s Graduate Campus. Her previous experience includes leading the Transversal Program of the Conference of Western Swiss Universities from 2012 to 2017, and as deputy to the dean of the EPFL Doctoral School from 2007 to 2012. This experience combines with a broader professional background in the private and public sectors in several countries, including in middle- and high-level recruitment. Verity holds a PhD and MA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and a BA from the National University of Ireland, the FSEA Certificate in Adult Training, the ACC Certificate in Integral Coaching, and is a certified practitioner for the TRIMA psychometric analysis.


Für Fragen zum überfachlichen Kursangebot der Academia Raetica oder bei Problemen mit der Anmeldung steht Ihnen die Projektleiterin Daniela Heinen gerne zur Verfügung. Bitte lesen Sie unsere Teilnahmebedingungen.

Sie erhalten umgehend eine automatisierte Antwort-Email mit Ihren Anmeldedaten. Die endgültige Bestätigung über den Kursplatz erhalten Sie von uns wenige Tage später.

E-Mail: daniela.heinen@academiaraetica.ch
Telefon: +41 81 410 60 84

Academia Raetica
Berglistutz 8
7270 Davos Platz

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