Designing Sustainable Futures
The aim of the course is that the student gains a basic understanding of how to work with design, innovation and concept development of digital design, based on an ethical and sustainable mindset. During the module, the student will be introduced to a number of tools and methods used within design thinking and innovation. The module content varies between theory, methods and hands-on work followed by discussions and reflections.
At the beginning of the course, the student will be introduced to ethical and sustainable approaches and paradigms as well as underlying theories.
Through design exercises the student will continuously reflect on the impact and consequences of the choices in concept- and design development. Hence, the student gains competences in theoretical and philosophical contextualisation in relation to ethical and sustainable design thinking.
Our society and values are based
on a modernist mindset, where development, economic growth and efficiency have
been in focus. The modernist person believed in and turned society into a new
and modern world based on new ways of thinking. Today, we experience the dawn
of a new paradigm, the Anthropocene Epoch -
the human-made age where nature, climate and biodiversity has been transformed
by mankind. The UN's Sustainable Development Goals are setting new standards for the
environment, people and the economy. Ethical and sustainable thinking are now
drivers for what we think and do.
In the Anthropocene Epoch, the world, as we know it, is questioned, including the values and ethics we base our development and design upon. What is good and bad, and for whom? Design is no longer only about functionality, user experience or aesthetically pleasing products and materials. Design is now a driving force for major societal change. New design paradigms require new approaches to innovation and design processes where ethical dilemmas and the product's environmental, social and economic impact are all addressed.
Throughout the course the student will learn how to reflect critically on the
role of IT and design in relation to society, ethics, nature and environment.
Through a series of exercises and assignments the student is asked to
identify a problem that he/she believes is important in terms of sustainability, and
where the he/she believes design and innovation can make a difference.
The course Designing Sustainable Futures will illuminate and explore the role product developers and designers will need to embrace for the sustainable development of today's as well as future societies. The aim is to provide the student with a toolbox of basic knowledge for researching, designing, assessing as well as discussing ethical and sustainable perspectives in future work.
Sustainable thinking, ecology, biomimicry and circular economics, etc. are concepts that will challenge technological solutions of the future. This new form of thinking will inspire and envision new opportunities for designers and product developers. Through thorough analysis and studies of existing products, the student is required to identify design openings and find opportunities for how people and businesses can prioritise sustainable products, services and solutions.
Intended learning outcomes
After the course, the student should be able to:
- identify relevant challenges sustainable it design
- account for how IT design is both posing challenges and solutions in relation to environmental sustainability
- Analyze cases of sustainable IT design
- Critically discuss sustainable IT design using the course literature
- Critically reflect upon and discuss the role of design in the transition towards ecologically sustainable futures
- Engage in philosophical discussions around technological innovation and its relation to nature
The course consists of lectures, readings, exercises, and
design assignments. Students will work individually as well as in
The final delivery of the course will be to identify and study a problem field and find design openings and possible solutions. Problem areas and design openings shall be put into perspective theoretically, methodically and philosophically.
The student must submit two small group assignments. The tasks are made as an exercise where theory and methods are put into action.
The student will receive the grade NA (not approved) at the ordinary exam, if the mandatory activities are not approved and the student will use an exam attempt.
Literature is updated continuously.
The final literature list will be completed at least 14 days before the course begins.
Literature is approximately 500 pages
350 pages are obligatory.
150 pages can be independently selected for the synopsis task
Student Activity BudgetEstimated distribution of learning activities for the typical student
- Preparation for lectures and exercises: 15%
- Lectures: 20%
- Exercises: 25%
- Assignments: 20%
- Exam with preparation: 10%
- Other: 10%
Ordinary examExam type:
D: Submission of written work with following oral, external (7-trinsskala)
D2G: Submission of written work for groups with following oral exam supplemented by the work submitted.
Synopsis range: 2-5 pages
Synopsis should contain:
- Summary of project objectives, and content on a topic or topic area.
- A problem statement
The elaboration takes place in key points with the involvement of theory, method, practice experience and professional knowledge that illuminates the problem formulation.
A brief explanation of your theses and motivation for these..
The synopsis is the starting point for conversation and presentation.
- Group size 3-5 people