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2020/2021  BA-BFILO1502U  Design Thinking and Concept Development

English Title
Design Thinking and Concept Development

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Philosophy, BSC
Course coordinator
  • Daniel Souleles - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation
  • Methodology and philosophy of science
  • Cultural studies
Teaching methods
  • Online teaching
Last updated on 25-08-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Analyze a design / business case, understanding the specific and general challenges within the given field;
  • Do appropriate research to create a concept which addresses the design / business case;
  • Present in writing and orally both a concept which addresses the design / business case and the research that justifies the concept;
  • With course materials, understand, explain, and study culture;
  • Understand and explain central concepts and methods within design thinking; and
  • Present and reflect on the scope of applied research.
Designtænkning og konceptudvikling:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Individual oral exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-5
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
1800 to 2200 words.
Assignment type Essay
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The student will outline the questions and methods that animated their research which allowed them to develop a design concept. The students will explain and justify their design concept.


There is a possibility of feedback prior to final submission.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Design thinking and concept development introduces students to anthropological, cultural research and work in design and culture consulting by means of cultural analysis and conceptual development.


The focus of the course is on understanding a design case, a practical question of some part of human life and culture that needs some sort of intervention, and then via methodologically sound research, coming up with a solution or a design concept.


One aim of this course is to allow students an opportunity to make use of their academic training in service to solving a practical busienss problem.


Description of the teaching methods
Design thinking and concept development is an intensive, case-oriented course, which has an emphasis on student participation and work outside of the classroom. Instructors priorities giving students an opportunity to test the ideas and methods they are learning as well as the insights those generate. Therefore, the course is a combination of lectures and exercises, and pushes students to make use of different genres and mediums to convey what they know.
Please note: due to the COVID 19 pandemic, all lectures, exercises, workshops, and presentations for this course will occur online. You will receive, from the course instructors, via the course’s CANVAS portal, a detailed explanation of how the course will operate in the week leading up to the course’s start.
Feedback during the teaching period
Much of the pedagogy in design thinking and concept development is practice-based: students learn something then they use it, analyze it, comment on it, and critique it. Because of this, it's important for students to get feedback both from instructors and from other students. At each workshop, students will have small, class-contained assignment that will, for example, involve oral presentation, written answers to questions, group assignments, etc. In addition, students will be given an opportunity to submit a draft of the final exam.
Please note: despite special accommodation due to the COVID 19 pandemic, this sort of feedback is still essential to the successful completion of the course, and will continue in a modified online format.

Student workload
Classes 20 hours
Exercises 12 hours
Exam 20 hours
Readings and Preaparation 155 hours
Expected literature
  • Christian Bason: ”Hvad er design” & ”Udforsk problemrummet” i Form Fremtiden – Designledelse som innovationsværktøj, Gyldendal 2016.
  • John Thackara: ”Introduction” & ”Lightness” in; Inside the bubble – designing in a complex world, MIT Press 2006
  • Tom Kelley: ”Introduction” & ”The Anthropologist”, in: The 10 Faces of Innovation. New York / et al., Doubleday, 2005.
  • Dolgin, Janet (ed.). 1977. “Introduction.” In Symbolic Anthropology: A Reader in the Study of Symbols and Meanings. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Geertz, Clifford. 1973. “Chapter 1: Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture” and “Chapter 15: Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight.” Pp 3-33 and 412-455. New York: Perseus.
  • Peirce, Charles Sanders. 1894. “What is a sign?” https:/​/​www.marxists.org/​reference/​subject/​philosophy/​works/​us/​peirce1.htm. Accessed March 9, 2018
  • Peirce, Charles Sanders. 1902. “Three Trichotomies of Signs.” https:/​/​www.marxists.org/​reference/​subject/​philosophy/​works/​us/​peirce2.htm. Accessed March 9, 2018.
  • Kohn, Eduardo. 2013. “Introduction: Runa Puma.” In How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human. Pp. 1-27. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Daniel, E. Valentine. 1987. “3. A House Conceived.” In Fluid Signs: Being a Person the Tamil Way. Pp. 105-163. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Handwerker, W. Penn, and Danielle F. Wozniak. 1997. “Sampling Strategies for the Collection of Cultural Data: An Extension of Boas’s Answer to Galton’s Problem.” Current Anthropology 38(5):869-875.
  • Spradley, James P. 1980. “Step Two: Doing Participant Observation,” “Step Four: Making Descriptive Observations,” and “Step Five: Making a Domain Analysis.” Pp. 53-63 and 73-99
  • Humphreys, Laud. 1975. “2. Methods: The Sociologist as Voyeur.” In Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places. Pp. 16-45. Aldine Transaction.
  • Jones, Laura K., Bonnie Mowinski Jennings, Ryan M. Goelz, Kent W. Hayhorn, Joel B. Zivot, Frans B. M. de Waal. 2016. “An Ethogram to Quantify Operating Room Behavior.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine 50(4):487-496.
  • Weller, Susan C. and A. Kimball Romney. 1988. “1. Introduction to Structured Interviewing” and “2. Defining a Domain and Free Listing.” In Systematic Data Collection. Pp. 6-20. London: Sage.
  • Spradley, James P. 1979. “Step Two Interviewing and Informant.” In The Ethnographic Interview. Pp. 55-68. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.
  • Yow, Valerie Raleigh. 2005. “Introduction to the In-Depth Interview.” In Recording Oral History: A Guide for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Pp. 1-34. Walnut Creek: Alta Mira Press.
  • Guest, Greg, Arwen Bunce, and Laura Johnson. 2006. “How Many Interviews Are Enough?: An Experiment with Data Saturation and Variability.” Field Methods 18(1):59-82.
  • Hebdige, Dick. 1980. “Part One: Some case studies.” Subculture: The Meaning of Style. Pp. 23-73. London: Routledge.
  • Bashkow, Ira. 2006. “6 Conclusions: Whitemen Beyond.” In The Meaning of Whitemen: Race and Modernity in the Orokaiva Cultural World. Pp. 209-261. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Latour, Bruno and Steve Woolgar. 1986. “2 An Anthropologist Visits the Laboratory.” Pp. 43-91. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Christian Madsbjerg & Mikkel B. Rasmussen: ”Getting People Right” & ”Lego”, in The moment of Clarity, Harvard Business Review, 2014.
  • Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur: Business Model Canvas, in: Business Model Generation, New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons, 2010.
  • Mauss, Marcel 1979 Seasonal Variations of the Eskimos trans. James J. Fox. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Weston, Kath 1997 “5. Families We Choose”. Families we Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship. Pp. 103-137. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Ryan, Gery and H. Russell Bernard. 2003. “Techniques to Identify Themes.” Field Methods 15(1):85-109.
  • Emerson, Robert, Rachel I Fretz, and Linda L. Shaw. 2011. “7 Writing an Ethnography.” In Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes, Second Edition. Pp. 201-243. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Last updated on 25-08-2020