Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Postgraduate Course: Design Thinking (DESI11094)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits15 ECTS Credits7.5
SummaryAs a postgraduate student in the Business School, this course will introduce you to fundamental approaches to designing and design thinking. The course will review the history and development of design thinking through 4 paradigms, leading to an understanding of designing for experience through 4 orders - visual, material, service and system (Buchanan, 1992; Golsby-Smith, 1996). This approach is applied and tested in practical work, understanding business models as designable constructions.
Course description The first half of the course introduces you to the theoretical backgrounds underlying applied approaches to design thinking in a lecture and seminar format. A history of research regarding design activity is outlined, through two fundamental paradigms of thinking about design-as-method in the 1960s through to the design-as-knowledge application and expertise through the 1980s (Dorst 2006; Dorst & Dijkhuis 1995). The lectures will then introduce concepts of design-for-experience and interaction design, leading to the fundamental approach to the basic understanding of Design Thinking (Martin, 2009). The lectures conclude with the introduction of designing for complexity, going beyond interactions between users and artefacts towards experience and introduces the 4 orders of design: text/image; objects; services; and systems (Buchanan 1992) and, going forward, pursue the notion that designing is a form of practice involving placement. Throughout, special emphasis is placed upon understanding designing as both an iterative and generative activity, focusing on the fundamental practice of prototyping.
The second half of the course provides the opportunity to engage practical, team-based exercises that will engage you to design and develop, through a project of intervention, an alternative model to an existing product, service, process or business model, prototype your developments and your their findings, leading to an individual case study as a final submission interrogating the value of design methods and design thinking in an entrepreneurship and innovation context.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is only available to students in the Business School.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe and critically discuss the range of design thinking approaches and frameworks
  2. Analyse problems from a design thinking perspective
  3. Critically apply the principles of design thinking to address innovation problems
Reading List

Required Reading
Buchanan, R. (1992). Wicked problems in design thinking. Design Issues, 8(2), 5-21.
Dorst, CH (2006) Design problems and design paradoxes. Design Issues, 22(3) pp4-17
Dorst, CH and Dijkhuis, J (1995) Comparing paradigms for describing design activity. Design Studies, 16, 261-274
Golsby-Smith, T (1996) Fourth Order Design: A practical perspective. Design Issues, 12(1) pp5-25.
Pine, B. J., & Gilmore, J. H. (2011). The experience economy (Updated ed.). Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business Review Press.
Rittel, H. W. J., & Webber, M. M. (1973). Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning. Policy Sciences, 4(2), 155-169.
Schon, D (1994) The Reflective Practitioner. Surrey: Ashgate.
Simon, H (1969) Sciences of the Artificial. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Cross, N. (2007). Designerly ways of knowing (B. o. I. R. i. Design Ed.). Basel: Birkhauser.
Jones, J. H. C. (1970). Design methods : seeds of human futures. London ; New York: Wiley-Interscience.
Martin, R (2009) The design of business, Harvard Business School Press.
Moggridge, B. (2007). Designing interactions. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Woodhouse, E and Patton, JW (2004) Design by Society: Science and Technology Studies and the Social Shaping of Design. Design Issues, 20(3) pp1-12.

Martin, B., & Hanington, B. M. (2012). Universal methods of design : 100 ways to research complex problems, develop innovative ideas, and design effective solutions. Osceola: Rockport Publishers.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Cognitive and subject specific skills:
-Integrate the design thinking concepts and relate them to real-world innovation problems.
Transferable skills:
-Engage with stakeholders to elicit requirements;
-Design and deliver innovative proposals to wicked problems using iterative and exploratory design-led techniques.
Keywordsdesign thinking,design process,design for business models,systems thinking
Course organiserDr Arno Verhoeven
Tel: (0131 6)51 5808
Course secretaryMs Jane Thomson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5713
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information