Design for Change and Innovation


Course information

The Bachelor Design for Change and Innovation teaches you to use your creativity for solving complex (social) challenges, such as loneliness among young people, childhood obesity, or the extinction of bees. As a designer of change and innovation, you solve problems by creating, experimenting and imagining. You bring people together and create links between various professional fields to design solutions that truly have impact.

The course lets you work with, and for, the practical field from the first day onwards. Examples of clients are the local government of Utrecht, Central Museum and Student Housing (SSH). Of course, you won’t be working all by yourself. Throughout the programme, you mostly cooperate in a team of fellow students and other parties involved in the project.

The first year of Design for Change and Innovation introduces you to the various design methods: Design Thinking, Double Diamond, Frame Innovation and the Design Sprint.

You learn how you can conduct research in a creative and critical way, and how to design solutions with the involvement of your target group and other stakeholders. This knowledge is gained in the Skills classes, such as Prototyping, Design research, Soft Mapping, Creative Coding, and Performance.


HKU has lots of various workshop areas. From the Blackbox, where you can work with many different creative technologies, through wood and metal working tools to print screen devices and laser printers.

Year 2, semester 2 (February – June)

As exchange student, you take part in the regular education programme of year 2, semester 2. You are presented with a relevant social challenge that involves multiple parties. From there, you learn how to gather together and connect these parties through a process of creation and design.
The specific social issues change every year and is therefore always currently relevant to everyone involved. That means your efforts will have a direct impact! The purpose could be the promotion of self-reliance among the formerly homeless, designing a healthy city or tackling the housing shortage among international students.

In the first phase, you start with creation-based research that actively involves the stakeholders and other directly affected parties. This phase is concluded by a ‘reframing’, based on the theory of Kees Dorst.
The second phase is about designing a proof of concept that matches your selected frame. This is done in a team-based and iterative design process with the stakeholders, and leads to the development of several prototypes for the final proof of concept. Throughout this process, you are guided by expert coaches and supported by workshops in, among others, Co-design, Design tools, Creative Coding, Behavioural Science, and Reframing.
Your final grade is based on an individual assessment, based on a portfolio that displays your personal works and a reflection paper. This determines whether you qualify for the professional profile of a DCI designer and its five elements: participatory designing, creative technology, impactful change, critical reflection and creative leadership.

Place in the curriculum and related courses

The exchange programme consists of 2nd year modules.


Please note that the programmes are mainly taught in Dutch and exchange students are expected to have a basic understanding of Dutch. However, it is quite common that exchange students don't understand Dutch on a high level when starting Design for Change and Innovation, and therefore you will be supervised in English. During the Exchange period, students are assigned to a buddy who guides them through the curriculum and school, and translates the essentials of classes.


To determine whether your and our expectations are in line, we ask you to submit a motivational letter, which explains your reasons for applying as an exchange student of Design for Change and Innovation. What do you find appealing about the module description, what do you hope to learn, what do you expect from the semester, and what can we expect from you? The letter should indicate your motivation, expectations, dreams and ambitions. After receiving this, we will invite you for a short online meeting.