Course Syllabus

Innovation through Design Thinking B

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Semester & Location:

Spring 2023 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Elective - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

Architecture, Communication, Design, Entrepreneurship




Dorte Mari Aggergaard (current students please use the Canvas Inbox)

Time & Place:

Mon: 14:50-17:45 in F24-303

Course Description

Design Thinking is not Design!

Design Thinking is a systematic approach to innovation and creative problem-solving. Design Thinking simply applies the
methodologies of design to challenges in business and society. Therefore, the course is not a 'design course': It is for all professions and has elements of analysis, social science approaches, creativity, complex problem-solving, and 'business thinking'. 

The course uses hands-on approaches to learning. Your grasp of Design Thinking will only come gradually, and you will likely be confused along the way. That is the nature of innovation: Plenty of ambiguity and precious few facts. If that is not something you care for, then this course is possibly not for you. On the other hand, if you thrive in an atmosphere of experimentation, collaboration, innovation, and creativity, you will love it here.

The course will help you to:

  • Participate in and lead innovation in a collaborative setting in multidisciplinary teams
  • Master creative thinking and problem-solving
  • Learn techniques to understand users’ motivations and to gather deep insights
  • Learn from failure: Innovation entails taking risks and trying new things
  • Communicate through engaging visual storytelling and video-prototyping
  • Incorporate Design Thinking into your everyday professional activities

The course and the assignments blend:

  • Practice — focused on methods and tools
  • Background — theory and history relevant to Design Thinking
  • Reflection — considering and questioning Design Thinking
  • Multidisciplinary work — exploring your collaborative force and collective intelligence

Learning Objectives of the Course

By the end of this course you will:

  • Have fundamental capabilities in the methods used for practicing Design Thinking
  • Understand challenges and benefits of Design Thinking
  • Be able to communicate clearly about Design Thinking
  • Be open to innovating in multidisciplinary teams
  • Have a process and mindset suited to innovation and creative problem-solving


Dorte Mari Aggergaard

M.A. (Modern Culture, Innovation & Communication, University of Copenhagen) B.A. (Art History and Pedagogy/Educational Studies, University of Copenhagen and Roskilde University). Visiting scholar at Leeds and Brown University. Member of the Denmark Committee at Brown, and DIS representative at Harvard, MIT, RISD and Brown. Worked for The European Commission's Safer Internet Programme, recipient of an EU Lifelong Learning Programme grant for a project on cross-cultural learning. Has worked with innovation, and been part of the start-up community in Copenhagen. With DIS since 2014.


  • Brown, Tim, and Barry Katz. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. Harper Business, 2009.

  • Osterwalder, Alexander, et al. Value Proposition Design. Wiley, 2014.

  • Selected articles and cases

  • Course blog for clips and comments:

Expectations of the Students

Be prepared to participate, contribute, ask and answer questions, and think creatively:

  • Are you a good listener?
  • Are you willing to test new ideas and new ways of thinking?
  • Do you promote an environment where everyone feels free to express their ideas and stretch their thinking?
  • Do you contribute to the learning environment by sharing your thoughts and experiences?

Assessment and Assignments

Practice project [team]: Practice Design Thinking in a real-life project that you define yourselves.

Presentations [team]: Present the Practice project in class, both halfway through and at the end of the course. Your presentation and communication skills are essential: Do you convey your message clearly and convincingly? Do you engage your audience?

Communication project [individual]: Document the process used in your Practice project. Reflect on process and tools. The paper should be 1.500 words in length. A highly visual and engaging paper is expected.

Engagement [individual]: This grade is based on your engagement both in and out of class. A form of engagement that is valued is namely also the input, articles and knowledge from other classes that you research on your own and forward before class. Your level of activity in class, exercises and in your team is part of the engagement grade too.

Please check Mikael's ‘Seven tips for having a good time in Innovation Through Design Thinking’ before the first class at




Engagement (individual)


Facilitate a class discussion (team)


Practice project (team)


Halfway presentation — content and delivery (team)


Communication project (individual)


Individual grades for team assignments may be applied. The course policy is that late assignments are not accepted.

Disability and Resource Statement

Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Academic Support ( to coordinate this.  In order to receive accommodations, students should inform the instructor of approved DIS accommodations within the first two weeks of classes.

Academic Regulations

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 

Course Enrollment and Grading  

Academic Expectations and Honor Code 

DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details Due