TPD4142 - Design Thinking


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment
Grade: Letters

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Assignment 100/100

Course content

Design Thinking is a human-oriented approach to develop innovative products and services. The course provides a research and practice-oriented view towards design thinking, and introduces students to the basics of design research, designing and reflection, as well as to a wide variety of design related topics. Thematically, the course focusses on service-oriented design thinking, where students will be exposed to strategic and human-centered methods and processes, as well as challenged to solve societal, technological, economical, environmental and political issues. Students will be trained to apply the basic design thinking process in problem solving.

Learning outcome


The candidate has developed basic understanding of the designers´ mindsets, and inherently their proceses and methods. The candidate should be able to understand relationships between service innovation, and how Social, Technological, Economical, Envirnmental and Political developments influence or are being influenced by design. This implies that the student should be well-versed in addressing large scale "world issues" through a design thinking lens.


By applying design thinking in an interdisciplinary team the candidate is capable to address debate on, and solve specific design issues, anticipate future needs, solve these needs in a creative and designerly manner by introducing value at different levels: human, organisation, business ecosystem, social.

General qualifications:

The candidate has learned: (1) basic user centered methods, (2) how to solve ill-defined problems, (3) basic visualization, representation and communication techniques.

Learning methods and activities

The course is fully project based. Students will be working in groups of 3 - 4 on a strategic, product, system, interaction or service design project. The nature of the project can be research or practice inclined or share ingredients of both. Each student group is required to define and scope their project in consultation with the course co-ordinator according to selected overarching main themes. The project, which will be scoped as a sub-category of the overarching system, should aim to provide design solutions with the end-user in mind. A series of lectures, discussing a wide variety of design thinking topics, pertaining content and process complement the project work. The aim of these lectures is to challenge students to think and reflect about social, economic, technological, environmental and political topic, which have a impact on human behavior and well-being. Moreover, 4 compulsory full-days workshops will be conducted, where each workshop focusses on a typical stage of the Design Thinking process. Through the projects, the purpose of these workshops is to equip students with research and design methods and tools to address ill-defined and / or contextual problems. The first full-day workshop centers around the "Emphatise" phase of the of the Design Thinking Process. It aims to train students to work with research methods, such as observations, interviews, personas, user journeys, scenarios, storytelling, etc.Moreover, students will also learn how to consolidate data and findings into a problem and requirement list. The second full-day workshop centers around the formulation of a "Point of View", which is equivalent to the "Define" stage of the Design Thinking process. Here students are expected not only to define the problem and requirements, but also to adopt political, social and economic stands on how they want to angle their design solution. During the third full-day workshop, students will engage in Creative Problem Solving sessions to generate ideas for what they have defined to do. The Creative Problem Solving Session will be facilitated by student assistants. The fourth full-day workshop engages students in the "Prototyping"-"Testing" phases of the of the Design Thinking Process. Methods and tools, such as "Sketching", "Service Blueprinting", "Paper Prototyping", "Participatory Design", "Future Stakeholder Mapping" etc. will be discussed. On a regular basis student groups will meet with their respective project supervisors to discuss the progression of their projects. To expose Design Thinking Students to the design profession visits to local design consultancies will be organised. The candidate must be enrolled in a group within 3 weeks after the commencement date to participate further in the course.

Compulsory assignments

  • Oblig
  • Oblig
  • Oblig

Further on evaluation

It is compulsory that students participate in at least 3 of the 4 full-day workshops. The project work is done in groups. Dependent on the nature and scope of the project, deliveries will be agreed upon between the course coordinator and ech of the groups. An interim and final critique will be part of the project assessment. 

Specific conditions

Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Required previous knowledge

The course may be chosen as a complementary topic during semester 7 or 9 for Engineering students.

Course materials

The lecture slides are to be considered the main course material. Besides that, a range of thematic literature in the form of recent articles may be distributed on  Blackboard or during the respective lectures. In addition to engaging with the above prescribed material, students will be encouraged to read widely about social, financial, political, environmental affairs, etc. Both nationally and internationally.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2021

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Design Strategies
  • Design Methodology
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Design


Examination arrangement: Assignment

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Assignment 100/100



Room Building Number of candidates
Spring UTS Assignment 100/100 INSPERA
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.

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