Design and social innovation

Course - second cycle - 15 credits

Syllabus for students autumn 2015, autumn 2014, autumn 2013

Course Code:
KD644A revision 1
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
Interaction Design
Date of establishment:
10 November 2011
Date of ratification:
02 December 2011
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
01 September 2013

Course description

The course is focused on social innovation, and specifically on the role of interaction design and interaction designers in social innovation. Moreover, there is an element of academic proficiency training in the course, as manifested in the use of the academic literature and an introductory focus on academic research methodology.

Advancement in relation to the degree requirements

The course can normally be included as part of a general degree at advanced level.

Entry requirements

Introduction to multidisciplinary interaction design, Embodied interaction, Collaborative media, Individual project.

Learning outcomes

In order to increase precision, the generic types of outcomes are mapped to interaction design as follows.
Knowledge and understanding – Repertoire and theory (canonical designs, important design elements and important theoretical concepts)
Competence and skills – Skills and technique (including design approach)
Judgment and approach – Reflection and criticism.

Repertoire and theory
1. Building a repertoire of important interaction design elements and approaches within social innovation.
2. Developing familiarity with key concepts and theories on social innovation.

Skills and techniques
3. Displaying ability to execute interaction design techniques suitable for social innovation.
4. Displaying some ability to choose and execute empirically oriented research methods, including qualitative observation and participatory intervention.

Reflection and criticism
5. Displaying ability to apply holistic perspectives to interaction design.
6. Displaying ability to understand and draw insights from academic knowledge communication.
7. Displaying some ability to observe and assess research methodology.


Learning outcomes related to interaction design for social innovation (1–3, 5) are assessed in oral group examinations (studio crits). The learning outcomes having to do with academic proficiency (4, 6–7) are assessed in seminars.

Course content

The course covers topical areas in interaction design for social innovation including concepts such as creative communities, collaborative services, collaborative consumption, sustainability (ecological, social and economical), resilience, “new economics”, designing networks (collaborative innovation), policy and governance.

On the level of methodology, the course concentrates on holistic and intervention-based design methods on the community level, including service design, participatory design (including things, agonistic space and infrastructuring), participatory innovation, living labs and transformation design. More specific design techniques include enactment, readymade experimentation and bricolage.

Learning activities

Design projects in multidisciplinary teams on pertinent topics within interaction design for social innovation, involving relevant constituencies and communities as appropriate. Plenary seminars on selected literature and plenary reflection seminars on interventions and outcomes.
Learning activities are further specified in a detailed Course Guide.

Grading system

Fail (U) or Pass (G).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Course evaluation

Plenary discussion and individual written evaluation, focusing on the learning outcomes and the means for achieving them (learning activities, resources, course organization etc.).