How do we design and deploy innovative software products someone is willing to buy and use? Why only few software innovations make it to market and most fail? The course answers to these questions while outlining the user experience design and design thinking theory for open sustainability innovation. Through a mix of readings on design and innovation theories, user research investigations and practical design work in the living lab, students will acquire a practical and a research experience in “innovation and change by design”. In particular, students will:

  1. Have a deep immersion into the state of research in HCI, user experience design and design thinking as approaches to sustainability innovation 
  2. Acquire new skills in building a portfolio of design including sketches and prototypes created and tested in a living lab. Students will complete many hands-on activities and interact with your fellow students and representative of users as you experience a completely different way of learning how to develop human-centric software and information systems, services, and socio-technical system.


Professor, Ph.D., PEng, HDR. Ahmed Seffah


Key Topics

  •  Design theories, principles and methods
  •  Principles of design thinking
  • Human-centric design processes
  • User experience in design practices
  • Co-design and innovation in living lab
  • User research in design
  • HCI design patterns
  • Sustainability by design
  • Persona and customer profiling
  • Diary studies
  • Storytelling
  • Paper prototyping
  • Usability and sustainability testing
  • Controlled experiments
  • Design of innovative software products
  • Introduction to design research and science
  • Socio-technical systems design
  • Historical, cultural, and technical foundations of design and innovation in a range of discipline areas (software engineering, MIS, HCI, arts)

In a group of 3-5, students are asked to develop a design concept and validate it in the design living lab.
Students are requested to write a research paper and to present a design portfolio that demonstrate their capacity to generate design ideas, innovative concepts, proposals or solutions independently and/or collaboratively in response to a set briefs and/or as a self-initiated activity or based on documented user experiences

The importance of sustainability in design and innovation is a key concern in software and information systems engineering and research. Design principles and methods could be used to create values of software products through the open innovation concept. This course follows from work of open innovation and user-centric design and design thinking theories and principles that established the basis of sustainability innovation. It analyzes the concept of sustainability innovation by design applied to software and information system) from the HCI (human-computer interaction), user experience and research perspective.

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