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Academic year
Didactic period
Primo Semestre

Training objectives

The Integrated Course called "Design thinking methods Lab", which represents all the teaching provided in the first semester of the first year, is conceived both for the organizational and teaching mode and for the content, as a design laboratory within which the skills that allow to harmonize the basic knowledge of the student's learning areas, those of industrial engineering and design, are provided.

Specifically, the "Human Centered Design" module has the task of providing engineering tools and skills based on the study of the needs and characteristics of humans, useful in integrating engineering or technological learning backgrounds, but also the capabilitiesof students coming from Design Courses more oriented to communication. It also has the task of coordinating the activity of laboratory modules.

The "Design Methods" module aims to introduce structured methodologies to define project objectives, both strategic and technical, useful to supplement the methodological skills of students coming from a graphic or communication design background or from a traditional product design background.

The "Human environments design" module aims to provide students, coming from a background knowledge on different design disciplines, a common cultural basis on the core topics of this Degree course, such as the concepts of Humans, Environment, Complexity, Quality , Innovation, Sustainability.

The course as a whole also aims to provide a first opportunity to acquire and apply skills, methods and tools to develop innovative design projects based on people's needs. It also has the task of educating at work in multidisciplinary teams.

The main acquired knowledges will be:
• Culture and history of innovation.
• Design and management of innovation of product, service and process
• Project Methodologies, in particular Design Thinking and User-Centered and Inclusive Design.
• Methodologies and techniques for integrated design of products and services.
• Methodologies and techniques to work in multidisciplinary teams.

The main skills (ie the ability to apply acquired knowledge) will be:
• Design, conduct and manage the production of bibliographic research on state of the art,
• Complete direct observations and apply methodologies that are suitable for defining design and implementation specifications.
• Ability to apply design thinking skills, organization and project management to guide the design, development and integration of innovative services / products.


No prerequisites are requested.

Course programme

The lab consists of a study, research and project path aimed at understanding and experimenting with methodological tools for defining the objectives of product or service innovation.
The course includes 210 hours of teaching, dedicated to frontal lectures, multidisciplinary workshops in teams and exercises.
It is articulated in 3 modules:
• “Human Centered Design” (90 hours) - ICAR / 13 - Teacher: Giuseppe Mincolelli
• "Human environments design" (30 hours) - ICAR / 14 - Teacher: Nicola Marzot
• "Design methods" (90 hours) - INGIND / 35 - Teacher: Matteo Vignoli
Below are the main contents covered in the three modules:
"Human Centered Design" (90 hours)
There are 40 hours of frontal lessons, 30 hours of design exercises and 20 hours in the common multi-disciplinary workshop
• History and theory of innovation
• Design innovation
• The concept of user
• The concept of quality
• The design of products and services
• User centered design
• Inclusive design - Design for all
• Co design
"Human environments design" (30 hours)
There are 24 hours of frontal lessons, and 6 hours within the multi-disciplinary workshop of the Laboratory
• The relationship between man and the environment.
• The body as a measure of space.
• Phenomenology of the design method.
• Experience and conceptualization of space.
• Rationality of the design method.
• The quality of spaces and environments.
• Culture of the project.
• Innovation for space quality.
• Culture of innovation.
• Design the existent.
• Recycling culture.
"Design methods" (90 hours)
There are 40 hours of frontal lessons, 30 hours of lecture tutorial and 20 hours in the workshop's multi-disciplinary workshop
• Design thinking Process
• Methods of defining the product and the service
• Design management.
• Design and management of innovation teams
• Product / Service Specifications
• Project specifications.

Didactic methods

The workshop's teaching is planned and cordinated by the professor of the characterizing discipline (ICAR13) in collaboration with the teachers of each module, so as to ensure fruitful interaction between the disciplines and to avoid overlapping on the developed themes and teaching overload.
The teachingmethod involves the use of theoretical lessons for each of the modules, integrated by exercises and seminars on the topics dealt within the classroom with tutorials kept continuously by the teachers; This articulation aims to operatively align students with Design Innovation themes and methods.
A design workshop is also provided, that is common to the three modules, geared towards the in-team development of innovative solutions on a specific theme within a given space. The theme can be identified in collaboration with an external partner, such as companies, organizations, and has the potential to represent a realistic case study.
Design activities within the workshop will be developed by team of students where they simulate a design activity in multidisciplinary teams. The external partner collaborates by providing or facilitating seminars, field visits, information materials, and interacting with teams in evaluating project hypotheses. It envisions the development and experimentation of simple prototypes of the hypothesized solutions.

Learning assessment procedures

The objective of the exam is to check the level of achievement of the training objectives previously indicated.
Ex-tempore examinations have the dual purpose of providing an opportunity to test the content of the lessons and to verify the level of learning.
The exam will consist of an interview on lecture topics, based on the material produced in the ex-tempore and on the work produced by each student in the common design workshop.

Reference texts

Vijay Kumar - 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization , John Wiley & Sons, 2012
Ciorra Pippo, Marini Sara ( a cura di), Re-cycle. Strategie per la casa, la città e il pianeta, Electa, Milano, 2011.
Hillen V. Vignoli M., 101 punti di riferimento per innovare, Paris Est, 2017
Mincolelli G., Customer-user centered design, Maggioli Editore, 2008.