Design for social innovation


About this course

Within this elective, students will engage with and study different ways of addressing contemporary societal challenges, and investigate how design can play a role in this. This course is inviting students from a variety of backgrounds (e.g., Industrial Design, Built Environment, Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences), who are interested in the role innovation and design can plan in addressing societal challenges.

During this course, we will introduce various paradigm shifts that have taken place during the past century. We will introduce a wide range of existing approaches supporting designing for transformation and systemic change. Students will study these approaches based on literature. We will invite social entrepreneurs and experts to share their experiences and perspectives on social innovation.

First individually and then in teams, students will study, analyse, and map local socio-environmental challenges by using ethnographic observations and mapping. Guided by the literature-based approach and methodology as well as the ethnography-based analyses and insights, students carry out a short assignment in the realm of informal repair practices (e.g. repair cafés). The objective of the assignment is to identify characteristics of the way of working in repair that could be translated to other contexts to foster social innovation and sustainability.

During the entire process, the student log their position statements, processes, output, decisions, and reflections.

Learning outcomes

  • Gain knowledge on various societal paradigms and existing design approaches aimed at transformation and systemic change, to address societal challenges and boosts social innovation
  • Reflect on societal challenges and the role of design in addressing these challenges, as well as your own position in this field
  • Use ethnographic methods, to identify and analyse societal challenges
  • Relate multi-faceted transformation processes through mapping, by positioning various existing things, practices, stakeholders and organisations
  • Create scenarios to inform, inspire, and stimulate discussions among multiple actors with various perspectives

Required prior knowledge

You must meet the following requirements

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of TU Eindhoven.


  • Start date

    11 November 2024

    • Ends
      19 January 2025
    • Term *
      Block GS2
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      15 Jun, 00:00 - 13 Oct 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University