Innovation by Design Thinking @ NTNU


Class 1

Perceiving Needs

Crafting a POV

Class 2

Submit Your Team’s POV

Fede’s Friday the 13th Video

Fede’s Tuesday the 24th Video

Fede’s Monday the 30th Video

Ideation Slides

Prototyping Slides

Mindfulness Resources

Free the Mind, a documentary about Richard Davidson, the world's leading mindfulness scholar, and his work.

Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson

Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman

The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Why Meditate? Working with Thoughts and Emotions by Matthieu Ricard

Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan

The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience by Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch

Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection by Sharon Salzberg

A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives by Thupten Jinpa

Mind and Life Institute

Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Stanford University

Mindfulness Apps:  HeadspaceCalm Insight Timer

Contact Info





This is a 3-month master’s level course in design thinking at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).  The course is project-based, with student teams tackling real-life challenges.  TMM4220 is one of the most popular electives at the university, and uses state-of-the-art teaching methods including blended/digital learning, flipped classroom strategies, project-based learning, and mindfulness training. 

Innovation by DT is also the first university-wide, interdisciplinary innovation course at NTNU. Launched in 2015 in collaboration with Professors Martin Steinert (formerly prof at Stanford) and Fede Lozano (Stanford MBA), the course attracts many talented students, who tackled team-based design challenges like, for example, autonomous vehicle development, handicapped accessibility, and the design of green markets. 


Who should take this course?

Are you interested in putting a ding in the universe?  If the answer to this question is "yes," then TMM4220 is for you! 

AND, this "ding" comes with several caveats and responsibilities.  We are looking for students willing and able to deal with tons and tons of ambiguity.  (If the meaning of ambiguity is unclear to you, read this article.)

We (the profs and TAs) will NOT tell you what to do---that is up to you to find out.  We assure you that you will---many times---find yourself drowning in confusion, a bit of stress, and lots and lots of lack of clarity.  That is all part of the TMM4220 learning experience.  There will be no right and wrong answers to anything we do in TMM4220.  You will learn to deal with the grayness of life and innovation.  After all, black and white is so 1990s.

This course, furthermore, will NOT follow the traditional ordered and structured (read: boring) set up.  We will not give you lectures, nor will we test you.  We don't believe in either.  We believe in the human experience and real-world learning, which are messy, confusing and at the same time exciting, inspiring, and really fun.

Along the way you will be supported by a dedicated team of awesome design thinkers who deeply care about your learning experience.  Your profs and TAs are fully student-focused.  You are the main thing we care about---above and beyond anything else (i.e., research, publishing, university politics, etc.).

So if this sounds like something you can handle and are interested in, then we would be thrilled to have you as part of the course. 

Let's do this!

But I can't attend all sessions.  Can I still join the course?

We are aware that you cannot come to all lectures/sessions.  As long as you get the material and coordinate within your team, and attend at least 80% of the time, that is OK.  Having said that, if your team as a whole feels you have not contributed enough to deserve a Pass grade, we will seriously re-consider your status in the course.

Will I be working on real-life challenges?

Yes.  A major part of TMM4220 will be based on addressing real-life Design Challenges.  These Challenges will be tackled in teams and will cover a wide range of areas, including Mechanical Engineering, Product Development, Service Innovation, Business Model Innovation, and Process/Systems Innovation.

How will I be graded?

The grading system for TMM4220 is Pass or Fail.  Keep in mind that some Erasmus universities have issues with this, and that we cannot issue letter grades.

We will evaluate you on the following three criteria:

1.  A Presentation during Demo Day (Team-based)
2. A Design-driven, Knowledge Portfolio (Team-based)
3. A 5-Page Reflective Essay (Team-based)

Our primary focus will be on the learning process, and NOT on your final deliverables.  Unlike your traditional university experience, we will not be too worried about whether you came up with the "right" solution, since we don't believe that such a solution exists in design and innovation.  Design thinkers care about the process, above and beyond the final results.  This might sound strange to you now, AND we feel that you will all understand what we mean by the time you dive into your projects.

Where can I get more info about the course?

1.  Official NTNU Site

2.  NTNU TechZone

Are there any books for the course?


1.  David & Tom Kelley (2014).  Creative Confidence:  Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All.

2.  Chade-Meng Tan (2012).  Search Inside Yourself:  The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace).

These books are available for purchase at Akademika.  If you buy both together, you will get a special discount. Boom!

What are the official Lecture dates? Room: EV20

Thursday, August 29th, 16:15 - 20:00 — Lecture

Thursday, September 5th, 16:15 - 20:00 — Lecture

Friday, September 6th, 12:15 - 16:00 — Lecture

Thursday, October 3rd, 16:15 - 20:00 — Lecture

Friday, October 4th, 12:15 - 16:00 — Lecture

Thursday, October 10th, 16:15 - 20:00 — Lecture

Friday, October 11th, 12:15 - 16:00 — Lecture

Friday, October 18th, 12:15 - 16:00 — Lecture by Prof. Martin Steinert

Friday, November 8th, 12:15 - 16:00 — Demo Day & Celebration! :—)