Innovation by Design Thinking

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

This course is a deep dive into the tools, methodology, and mindset of design thnking. Design thinking is a practical, human-sentered, and prototype-driven process for innovation. It helps teams of diverse people tackle fuzzy, ill-defined challenges in creative ways. These challenges can arise for example in the development of new products and services, in the design of business models, or in the structuring of organizational systems.

As a student, you will be offered design challenges by leading organizations in both the private and public sector. The student teams will then tackle these challenges by leveraging the design thinking methodology on behalf of, and in collaboration with, the organizations.

Design thinkers, begin by focusing on the human experience. We understand that the most impactful innovations ar ethose that address important human needs in meaningful ways.

Design thinkers build rough and rapid prototypes and test them early on. At first this can feel chaotic and risky. design thinkers quickly adopt trial and error, and value the immediate feedback that it provides. We're open to small, early failures, which eventually pave the way to success. We train ourselves- and our teams-to embrace failure fot the learning opportunity that it really is.

Design thinkers focys more on asking the right questions than coming up with the rigt answers. Because there is no single "right future", but instead many "possible futures" asking the right questions helps us explore multiple possibilities- eventually honing in on the most appropriate one.


Design thinkers constantly seekopportunities for radical collaboration and co-creation. We acknowledge that micromanaging the innovation process is not only futile, but also counterproductive. Design thinkers revel in uncertainty, improvise constantly, trust their gut feeling, and laugh a lot.

Learning Outcomes

After completion of this course in design thinking, the student has/can:


  • Bread knowledge about human-centered and design-driven innovation
  • an understanding of how empathy dirves innovation processes.
  • knowledge about how problems are discovered, ideas are shaped, and prototypes are developed and tested.


  • Put herself/himself in the shoes of others and adopt an empathic perspective by observing and immersing
  • interview people to elicit meaningful responses
  • craft a strong Point of View, which will synthesize empathy research and give it direction
  • come ut with creative ideas that will serve as solutions to complex, ambiguous challenges
  • use many different ideation tools like brainstorming, bodystorming, brainwriting, and quick sketching
  • build all sorts of rapid and rough prototypes that tests ideas quickly and cheaply
  • expose prototypes to the world, ask the relevant questions, receive good feedback, learn, and iterate repeatedly

General competencies

  • Collaborate with people with different backgrunds, and tap into the creative potential of diversity
  • play, have fun, laugh, and not take herself/himself too seriously, while taking her/his creative work extremely seriously
  • concoct innovative solutions to important human challenges in a real-life context
  • learn and innovative under conditions of extreme volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA)

Semester of Instruction

Autumn and spring. Please notice:

Spring semester: the course is reserved for students admitted on Integrated Master's (5 year) at the faculty only.

Autumn semester: the course is reserved for students on a studyprogram at the faculty.

This course has a limited capacity, enrolment is based on application. Application deadline is wednesday in week 33 for the autumn semester or wednesday in week 2. Please see this page for more information: 

Please also refer to information under Access to the course.

The time of the first lecture/orientation meeting can be found in the schedule on the course website or on the Mitt UiB learning platform. It is mandatory to attend the first lecture.

Required Previous Knowledge
Access to the Course

Access to the course have following requirements spring and autumn semester:

Spring semester: the course is reserved for students admitted on our Integrated master's programmes (5 year) at the faculty.


Autumn semester: the course is open for our students admitted on a study programme at our faculty. Enrolment will be regulated by following admission criteria:

  • You must have completed a minimum of 60 ECTS
  • For best possible academic benefit, we will select students from different study programs
Teaching and learning methods

Workshops and working n a group on an industry project.

The student teams will tackle real organizational design challenges by leveraging the design thinking methodology on behalf of, and in collaboration with an external organization.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Attendance is mandatory (minimum 80%).
Forms of Assessment
Team presentation and team reflection essay
Grading Scale
Pass or Fail.
Reading List

Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley

The Achievement Habit by Bernhard Roth

Course Administrator
The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and Department of Physics and Technology are administratively responsible for the course.