Designful Innovation

    Exchange programme

    Take up the challenge to design a meaningful innovation for 1 billion people. Use your creative thinking and process skills to design radical solutions and approaches. In an intensive programme consisting of thematical weeks on e.g. Trend Watching, Design Thinking and Human Behavior you will gain all the knowledge you need to change the existing. Just think of all the possibilities that could become reality by taking up this challenge!

    Make an impact on one billion people

    In this one semester programme you will need to draw upon logic, your imagination, creativity, intuition and systematic reasoning in order to explore the possibility of what could be. You will design innovations that will benefit a substantial part of the world. You will learn Design Thinking methods and process skills which are key to innovation. You gain deep insights about users and relevant stakeholders, define and reframe problems, in order to generate solutions or alternative approaches that are more effective than those that already exist. During one semester you will be challenged to take the next step from 'problem solving design' to 'sense making design' (Bannon, Kolko).

    Are you the student we are looking for?

    The programme is open to exchange students from partner universities and all students from Dutch universities of applied sciences with a curious mindset and an interest in design. You will study as a group of students from all around the globe with different backgrounds. Key is the diverse knowledge of the group in terms of education background, culture, skills and knowledge. 


    Facts and figures

    The programme at a glance

    Programme information

    What to expect

    About the programme

    Impact one billion people 

    In an intensive programme consisting of thematical weeks on Trendwatching, Design Thinking, Human Behavior, User Research, Creative Concepting, Making, Prototyping, Business modelling and Exposition Design you will gain all the knowledge you need to change the existing.   You will be challenged to design an innovation and corresponding prototype(s) which should be meaningful to no less than 1 billion people. 

    Get an impression of the projects that were created last year. In this small booklet (7MB) we created an overview. At this exposition website you can see the work of last year's students.

    Groundbreaking innovations

    The programme responds to the new developments within the domain of Design Thinking, Value Sensitive Design and Innovation Design. In the course you work on formulating new design principles to achieve new 'groundbreaking' innovations. To achieve this, you will organise your own network of “interpreters” (Verganti) to help you in the different stages of your design process. The Rotterdam approach is a mindset which is important in the programme: innovative, practical and results-oriented, socially involved, entrepreneurial and focus on (interdisciplinary) collaboration.


    Educational methods

    The course has a solid personal, knowledge and practice-oriented programme to develop a design driven mindset. We use a range of educational methods: (guest) lectures, tutorials, workshops, pressure cookers, pitches, field trips and excursions (abroad).

    You will get input, coaching, workshops and feedback from experts in the field, senior lecturers of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and (international) guest lecturers.

    You will have to demonstrate that you have carried out research thoroughly and with a critical mindset, for both the knowledge-based as well as the practical modules. All classes are taught in English.

    Design research methods

    Design research methods like cultural probes, insight statements, extreme user scenarios, customer journey mapping, service blue print, business model canvassing and role play ideation will help you in your creative design process. 

    Type of assessment

    Practically all the exchange programme assignments are made individually. Students are allowed to work in groups of two to three people during some of the assignments, in order to brainstorm and gather new insights together. The theory from the modules 'Design Driven Innovation 1 + 2',  'Cross-cultural/International Business modelling' and 'Transformation Design' will be tested through assignments, book discussions, making a video/animation and preparing as well as organising and executing workshops with a group of students.

    The practice based modules 'Convince the world' and 'Make it Happen' will be tested through fieldtrips, classroom participation, organising and realising a final exposition and a final innovation report. There are no written exams for this programme.

    Quick overview assessments
    • Presentations
    • Workshops
    • Reports 
    • Exposition(s)
    • Prototype Demo
    • Deliverables thematical weeks
    • Classroom participation


    Field trip

    Since Europe is on our doorstep ... next to taking classes, workshops and participating in pressure cookers, you will also look beyond our borders by going on fieldtrips to for example Antwerp, Brussels, Dusseldorf and Cologne. You can contact main lecturer Saskia Best for further details. 

    Learning outcomes

    If you have successfully completed this exchange programme then you are able to:

    • Apply different types of design research when translating them into innovative concepts.
    • Analyse how innovations are created and 'map' how different innovations relate to each other.
    • Create a new network for interpreters in order to come up with a vision for new concepts.
    • Define and apply design principles for 'design driven innovation'.
    • Design in and for a cross-cultural environment.
    • Realise and communicate believable prototypes for a 'design driven innovation concept'.
    • Present design driven concepts individually, with conviction, defend them and critically assess them.



    After completing your exchange programme at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, you will receive a:

    • Transcript of records


    An indication of the subjects you can expect


    Where you can find us
    Foto van locatie Location

    Wijnhaven 107

    Wijnhaven 107 3011 WN Rotterdam