Background and activities

Currently registered as a PhD student in the Department of Design, NTNU; Faheem Ali completed his bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), India and thereafter took his masters degree in MSc Project Management from NTNU, Norway. His research interest include sustainable strategies, implementation of design for sustainability and human behaviour in sustainability implementation.


2013 - 2015 MSc in Project Management, NTNU, Norway

2007 - 2011 BTech in Mechanical Engineering, CUSAT, India

Project Description

The PhD research project is part of the Cotutelle agreement between Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The three year project involves two PhD candidates working in parallel on two mutually complimentary dimensions of sustainability implementation in companies. The project is jointly supervised by Casper Boks, Professor, Head of Department, Department of Product Design (IPD), NTNU and Niki Bey, Associate Professor, Division of Quantitative Sustainability Assessment (QSA), DTU Management Engineering, DTU.

Sustainable and environmentally responsible business initiatives have garnered a great amount of interest among academicians and industries alike. A number of initiatives have been formulated and implemented by both the actors for the same. Design for sustainability has been one such response that has been successful in bringing in environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability into product development processes. Researchers have also come up with a number of tools, methods and frameworks to streamline the application of the design for sustainability concept in companies, organisations and governments. However, most such initiatives fail to extend beyond the initial success and do not deliver results in the long term. Researchers have stressed upon the decisive role cultural differences, project perception, employee commitment and other soft side parameters play in successful implementation of design for sustainability in industries.

This PhD project aims at exploring why organisations ‘try and fail’ to implement the design for sustainability concept and what impedes the long term viability of such initiatives. The research approaches the case from a soft-side perspective of organisations and adopts a multistage case study approach involving literature review, meta-study of companies and organisations, in-depth observatory studies and final testing of recommendations. The soft-side parameters entail cultural, linguistic, ethnic, educational and psychological factors that determine human behaviour in different circumstances.

The overall goal of this PhD thesis is to:

Contribute to the successful implementation of design for sustainability by creating knowledge about soft side requirements in the organizations that are necessary for the development of such initiatives. Further, use this knowledge for integrating these requirements into tools and methods used for sustainable product portfolio development.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications

Part of book/report

  • Ali, Faheem; Boks, Casper; Bey, Niki. (2017) An exploration of company personas to support customized DFS implementation. Proceedings of 21st International Conference on Engineering Design.
  • Ali, Faheem; Verhulst, Elli; Boks, Casparus Burghardus. (2016) The 'Nordic Approach' and how it may support Design for Sustainability. NordDesign 2016.


  • Ali, Faheem; Fet, Annik Magerholm. (2015) The Role of Sustainability in Strategic Thinking in Norwegian Shipbuilding Industry. 2015.