Teaching Strategic and Sustainable Design

Wever, Renee, Peck, David and de Eyto, Adam (2013) Teaching Strategic and Sustainable Design. [Conference Proceedings]


Sustainable innovation comes in many forms and sizes. There are different philosophies about how to design, such as EcoDesign, bio-mimicry and Cradle-to-cradle. There are differences in organizational contexts, such as multinationals, small and medium sized enterprises, start-ups and design agencies. Furthermore, different product categories and/or industries are suited to different approaches. What leads to a successful and sustainable innovation in one particular context need not necessarily work in the next.In order to make students fully aware of these strategic choices, a module was developed within the taught master s program of Integrated Product Design at Delft University of Technology, aiming at teaching students to perform a stakeholder analysis and a driver analysis for a given innovation project, in light of sustainability, and to empower students to discuss how sustainable innovation manifests itself differently in different organizational contexts, and to communicate about sustainable innovation using business language.The course ran successfully with 120 students. Participants were required to submit weekly reflections on a diverse range of scientific and non-scientific materials. Assessment was based on a scientific case study written on a unique and self-chosen historical sustainable innovation, and a single blind peer-review executed on the work of fellow students.This paper discusses the chosen set-up of the course, with the didactical substantiation. It also highlights pointers for other educators how want to apply similar teaching methods. The paper further discusses how this set-up allowed connecting ongoing research by senior researchers and PhD candidates to the taught master s program.

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