TMM4220 - Innovation by Design Thinking


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Portfolio
Grade: Passed / Not Passed

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Portfolio 100/100 A

Course content

This course is an immersive experience into Design Thinking - an empathy-based, human-centered, and rapid prototype-driven methodology for innovation. Design Thinking helps to tackle challenges such as the creation of new products, technological innovation, services, business models, experiences, processes and/or systems. The primary aim of the course is to empower students to ideate, launch, run, and successfully complete innovation projects that have a significant and meaningful impact on pioneering organizations and industries. The course encompasses intensive sessions on need finding, empathy, observation, immersion, ethnographic research, brain-/body-storming, ideation, and rapid prototyping - all in the context of tackling cutting-edge technological challenges and addressing strategic industry objectives. For further information, Our primary source of communication will be the course website. We will not be using Blackboard. For individual communication, we will use email.

Learning outcome

Knowledge: The students know how to approach innovation challenges from a human-centered perspective. They understand that the best innovations are usually the ones that address deep human needs, which point to meaning and the human experience. They acknowledge that a multidisciplinary approach to innovation is a powerful way to incorporate the perspectives of many different kinds of people, and that diversity is key to the development of continuous, and radical innovations. The students also uncover the importance of approaching innovation projects with a prototyping mind set, where iterations, trial and error, and even failure are all part of a valuable, creative learning process.


  • The students are able to empathize with a broad group of stakeholders to understand their needs through the ethnographic method.
  • The students are able to define and re-define innovation challenges by asking the right questions, and not necessarily focusing on the right answers.
  • The students are able to develop many creative ideas through structured brainstorming sessions.
  • The students are able to develop rapid prototypes to bring their ideas into reality as quickly as possible, and obtain feedback.

General competence: The students, more broadly, gain a greater acceptance towards dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty in their professional and personal lives. They also learn to work with many different people in fast-paced, dynamic, cross-disciplinary team settings. Students also gain the competence to approach many different problems and challenges with an open, creative, empathetic, and prototype-driven mind set.

Learning methods and activities

We will employ the latest project- and problem-based learning pedagogies, involving real-life challenges, storytelling/storydoing, soft prototyping, and iterative methods. With regards to the evaluation, we will focus significantly on the design-thinking process, the insights learned, and the skills developed during the educational journey. The quality and applicability of the final prototypes will not be our sole focus. Students will be evaluated on the following graded deliverables: team-based project presentation (50%), design-driven, knowledge portfolio (50%).

Further on evaluation

Portfolio assessment is the basis for the grade ("pass" - "not pass") in the course. The portfolio includes a team-based project presentation (50%) at the end of the semester/ end of teaching, and a design-driven and knowledge portfolio (50%) consisting of interview feedbacks, ideation and brainstorming results, point of views, prototypes, presentations continuously developed during the semester. The students are guided by the lecturers and teaching assistants. The results for the parts are given in %-scores, while the entire portfolio is assigned passed/not passed.

Since the evaluation is based on team/group hand-ins during the semester, we strongly encourage repeating students to do the course again. In special cases a long paper can mitigate a course repetition, details have to be discussed and approved by the lecturer.

Required previous knowledge


Course materials

Announced at the beginning of the semester. Handouts/pdf and 1. Kelley, D. & Kelley, T. (2014). Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. New York: William Collins. 2. Roth, B. (2015). The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life. HarperBusiness. 3. Roger, M. (2013). The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
TMM4220 7.5 AUTUMN 2008
More on the course

Version: 2
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2024

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Technological subjects
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


Examination arrangement: Portfolio

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Portfolio 100/100 A
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

More on examinations at NTNU