Syllabus database for doctoral courses

  • Syllabus database for doctoral courses


Swedish title Integrering av vetenskap och samhälleliga behov genom Design thinking
English title Bridging Science and Societal Needs Through Design Thinking
Course number 3180
Credits 4.5
Responsible KI department Institutionen för neurobiologi, vårdvetenskap och samhälle
Specific entry requirements
Grading Passed /Not passed
Established by The Committee for Doctoral Education
Established 2019-02-18
Purpose of the course The course aims to introduce Design thinking methodology and provide practical applications of Design thinking in improvement work and in research within complex contexts, from an interprofessional viewpoint. After the course, the student will be able to synthesize information from diverse knowledge traditions, and use a tools skillset in relevant aspects of research to a variety of societal contexts in multi-disciplinary collaborations.
Intended learning outcomes After the course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate in-depth insights in how Design thinking can be used to explore the possibilities and limitations of science, as well as its role in society and the human responsibility for its use (Module 1)
- identify relevant questions within a complex problem area,
- use Design thinking as a tool to address societal challenges through interdisciplinary collaboration (Module 2)
- demonstrate a critical, independent, creative and scientific rigor to identify and formulate questions; plan tasks within given time frames and equally, to assess such work of others (Module 3)
- demonstrate the ability to utilize Design thinking methods to identify needs of deepened knowledge within a field (Module 3)
- demonstrate the ability to make use of scientific approaches together with Design thinking in relation to specific societal challenges (Module 3)
Contents of the course The course content focuses on Design thinking methodology [1] as support for both developmental work and innovation in the surrounding societal and or scientific environment.

The course entail the following three modules:

Module 1 An introduction to Design thinking (0.5 hp)
Main content: An orientation to Design thinking theory and process methodology.

Module 2 Practical application of Design thinking in improvement work (0.5 hp)
Main content: The module focuses on experience based learning in groups, where students take on generically formulated societal challenges with Design thinking-process.

Module 3 Design thinking and innovation within research (3.5 hp)
Main content: The module focuses on Design thinking in relation to the research studies of the student. The students identify how Design thinking can be used to increase the quality and societal relevance of their research. Also, students identify different societal challenges the research studies can potentially address.

[1] Design thinking is a systematic, human-centered approach to solving complex problems within all aspects of life. The approach goes far beyond traditional concerns such as shape and layout. And unlike traditional scientific and engineering approaches, which address a task from the view of technical solvability, user needs and requirements as well as user-oriented invention are central to the process. Hasso Plattner Institute Academy, 2019.
Teaching and learning activities The course entails a problem oriented teaching and learning style, where students are provided with a pedagogy that enables them to take active responsibility for individual and group learning. In general, teaching will be performed through lectures, workshops and through supervision of individual tasks.
Compulsory elements Compulsory sessions are: 1. Participation in compulsory group work. 2. Oral presentations. 3. Provide feedback to at least one other student's work. Absence from the compulsory sessions or assessment seminar can be compensated through supplementary activity.
Examination Active participation and presentation in Module 1 and 2. An individual written exam in Module 3. Each individual student needs to reach all intended learning outcomes to pass the course.
Literature and other teaching material Cross, N. (2011) Design thinking - Understanding How Designers Think and Work. Oxford: Berg Publishers.

Dorst, K. (2011) The core of ´design thinking´ and its application. Design studies 32 (6), 521-532.

Plattner, H., Meinel, C & Leifer, L. (2016) Design thinking Research: Making Design Thinking foundational. New York: Springer Publishers

Recommended readings for discussion will be shared during the course.
Course responsible Sofia Vikström
Institutionen för neurobiologi, vårdvetenskap och samhälle

Alfred Nobels Allé 23, B4

Contact person