Bibliographic resources
Bibliography mandatory
Bibliography not mandatory
Summary Teaching Assignment
Academic Year 2018/2019
Type of Teaching Doctorate
Course 053641 - DESIGN THINKING
Professor Deserti Alessandro
Cfu 5.00 Type of Course Mono-Disciplinary Course

Phd Programme From (included) To (excluded) Course

Detailed program and learning outcomes

The course aims at introducing Design Thinking (DT) as an emerging approach to innovation. In particular, the objectives of the course are:

  • to introduce a theoretical framework of DT principles, illustrating the most relevant references;
  • to show diverse perspectives and fields of application of DT;
  • to position DT in the broader context of innovation and design management, showing the connections with other innovation-related literature streams;
  • to distinguish the different scopes of DT and the different strands to which it is related (e.g.: “Sprint Execution”; “Creative Confidence”; “Innovation of meaning”; “Exploration vs. Exploitation”; etc.)
  • to illustrate how DT relates with organizational and societal transformation;
  • to illustrate how DT can support academic and non-academic research.

The course is structured in three parts, characterized by a mix of theoretical lectures, illustration of case studies and short exercises:

  • Overview: history, main principles and concepts;
  • Highlights: perspectives, components and fields of application;
  • Research: use of DT in academic and non-academic inquiry.

The first part will give an introductory overview (4 hours), in which DT will be presented as an innovation methodology characterized by specific principles: the human-centric perspective, the creative problem-solving attitude, the alternation of divergent and convergent thinking, the use of visual tools and artifacts to support decision making, the stress on user engagement in different phases and at different scales. Specifically, the overview will pinpoint how DT differs from other innovation paradigms and tries to overcome their limits.

The second part (16 hours) will deepen emerging issues related to DT, which will be discussed with four guest lecturers that will introduce diverse perspectives and fields of application of DT, taking part in sessions co-chaired by the instructors. The detailed programme will be defined according to the availability of the guest lecturers in the dates scheduled for the course.

The third part (4 hours) will introduce constructive design research, or else the use of DT as a specific methodology to run academic and non-academic research. Specifically, this part of the course will deepen questions connected with different phases of the design process:

  • bordering/framing the research problem;
  • reframing and challenging dominant paradigms;
  • researching through design;
  • thinking in divergent and convergent mode;
  • prototyping and iterating.

The expected learning outcome is to provide students with the capacity of making use of DT principles and tools in their research and innovation activities.

Notes on methods of assessing

The learning assessment will be based on the preparation of a poster, to be discussed in a session at the end of the course. The poster will introduce the student’s PhD topic, and illustrate how DT methodologies could be adopted in the conduction of her/his research activities.

The course is not based on a specific text. The presentations and the illustration of cases will be made available to students. Instructors and guest lecturers will provide bibliographic references and materials for further reading.

Teaching activities
Start date
End date

Schedule planning

The course will be organized in weekly lectures: 4 hours per week for 6 weeks within the above-indicated period, and a final date dedicated to the learning evaluation.


Didactic forms
Type of didactic form Teaching hours
computer laboratory
experimental laboratory
project laboratory

Information in English to support internationalization
Course offered in language English

Note Professor
schedaincarico v. 1.6.1 / 1.6.1
Area Servizi ICT