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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 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. 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).

Design research methods like cultural probes, insight statements, extreme user scenarios, customer journey mapping, business model canvassing and role play ideation will help you in your creative design process. The course has a solid personal, knowledge and practice-oriented programme to develop a design driven mindset. 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.

International students and field trips  
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. 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 and Barcelona.

All classes are taught in English. You can contact main lecturer Saskia Best at for further details.

Why choose to study at Communication and Multimedia Design in Rotterdam?

The school for Communication, Media and Information Technology is located at the beautiful Wine Harbour in the centre of the city. The exchange programme has the exclusive use of one of the larger classrooms in the building. After school it's only a short walk to some of the best views Rotterdam has to offer: the iconic Erasmus Bridge, the new Market Hall, as well as the innovative cube houses designed by Piet Blom. And once you're there, you're right by the Old Harbour: a lively area with many restaurants and bars on the waterfront which offer the ideal opportunity to relax and reflect on the challenge of the exchange programme.

Like we mentioned before, studying in Rotterdam means the rest of Europe is right on your doorstep. Not only can you easily travel by train to cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague, cities like London and Paris are also within relatively easy reach. But Rotterdam itself is also a city with a rich and multicultural heritage, and there are many museums, theatres as well as restaurants for you to visit and explore. The New York Times put Rotterdam in the top 10 places to visit in 2014, and with good reason.

Facts and figures

The programme at a glance

Programme structure

A view of the study programme


Impact one billion people 
During the programme you will be challenged to design an innovation and corresponding prototype(s) which should be meaningful to no less than 1 billion people. 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 organize 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.

Practically all the exchange programmes assigments are made individually. Students are allowed to work in groups of two to three people during some assignments, in order to brainstorm and gather new insights together. The theory from the module 'Design Driven Innovation 1' will be tested through an exam with open questions. The theory from the modules 'Design Driven Innovation 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 organizing and execting workshops with a group of students.

The exchange programme uses a range of educational methods: (guest) lectures, tutorials, workshops, pressure cookers, exam-safari, pitches, field trips and excursions (abroad).

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.

For more information on the modules and learning outcomes read the booklet.


The student can:

  • 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.


An indication of the subjects you can expect


Where you can find us
Foto van locatie Location

Wijnhaven 99

Wijnhaven 99 3011 WN

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