363-1065-00L  Design Thinking: Human-Centred Solutions to Real World Challenges

SemesterAutumn Semester 2018
LecturersA. Cabello Llamas, L. Armbruster, S. Brusoni
Periodicityyearly course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentDue to didactic reasons, the number of participants is limited to 30.

All interested students are invited to apply for this course by sending a short motivation letter to Linda Armbruster (larmbruster@ethz.ch).

Additionally please enroll via mystudies. Please note that all students are put on the waiting list and that your current position on the waiting list is irrelevant, as places will be assigned after the first lecture on the basis of your motivation letter and commitment for the class.


AbstractThe goal of this course is to engage students in a multidisciplinary collaboration to tackle real world problems. Following a design thinking approach, students will work in teams to solve a set of design challenges that are organized as a one-week, a three-week, and a final six-week project in collaboration with an external project partner.

Information and application: http://sparklabs.ch/
ObjectiveDuring the course, students will learn about different design thinking methods and tools. This will enable them to:
- Generate deep insights through the systematic observation and interaction of key stakeholders (empathy).
- Engage in collaborative ideation with a multidisciplinary team.
- Rapidly prototype and iteratively test ideas and concepts by using various materials and techniques.
ContentThe purpose of this course is to equip the students with methods and tools to tackle a broad range of problems. Following a Design Thinking approach, the students will learn how to observe and interact with key stakeholders in order to develop an in-depth understanding of what is truly important and emotionally meaningful to the people at the center of a problem. Based on these insights, the students ideate on possible solutions and immediately validated them through quick iterations of prototyping and testing using different tools and materials. The students will work in multidisciplinary teams on a set of challenges that are organized as a one-week, a three-week, and a final six-week project with an external project partner. In this course, the students will learn about the different Design Thinking methods and tools that are needed to generate deep insights, to engage in collaborative ideation, rapid prototyping and iterative testing.

Design Thinking is a deeply human process that taps into the creative abilities we all have, but that get often overlooked by more conventional problem solving practices. It relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional, and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols. Design Thinking provides an integrated way by incorporating tools, processes and techniques from design, engineering, the humanities and social sciences to identify, define and address diverse challenges. This integration leads to a highly productive collaboration between different disciplines.

For more information and the application visit: http://sparklabs.ch/
Prerequisites / NoticeOpen mind, ability to manage uncertainty and to work with students from various background. Class attendance and active participation is crucial as much of the learning occurs through the work in teams during class. Therefore, attendance is obligatory for every session. Please also note that the group work outside class is an essential element of this course, so that students must expect an above-average workload.

Please note that the class is designed for full-time MSc students. Interested MAS students need to send an email to Linda Armbruster to learn about the requirements of the class.