Aim of

  • Develop new education methods suited for design​
  • Align design education with the challenges of industry and creative industries ​
  • Test methodologies in project-based learning environments in a real-world context ​
  • Guide collaboration with students, researchers, (creative) industry and other stakeholders ​
  • Create a knowledge pool for targeted change and innovation through publications and conference participation​

Adoption of the Design Thinking mindset

One of the topics discussed in the .education pillar is finding meaningful ways to facilitate the adoption of the Design Thinking mindset in our curricula and research projects. Design Thinking, as a problem-solving methodology, deals with problems that do not have one correct answer and cannot be sufficiently solved by using traditional scientific and engineering approaches. The key features that make Design Thinking a suitable framework for tackling these complex problems are: user-centeredness and multi-perspectivism along with empathy, experimentalism, collaboration and embracing ambiguity. This new mindset can turn students into active learners and confident creators while improving their 21st century skills, such as teamwork, reflective and critical thinking and other soft skills deemed essential for the creation of a ‘t-shaped’ graduate. Moreover, the acquisition of the Design Thinking mindset by the non-design disciplines and industry may pave the way for innovation in other fields and industry 4.0.

Adoption of the Facilitator's mindset through game-based learning

One of the topics discussed in the .education pillar is the changing role of the designer from being expert of the design processes to becoming facilitators of co-design processes. When designers take part in the co-design processes as facilitators, their role is creating an environment for people with lived experience, to share their thoughts, experiences, and dreams easily, even when those people are not aware of them. For this reason, designers as facilitators of co-design processes, need to provide generative tools to non-designers in a co-design process because they are the experts of their experiences, but they may not express themselves with words. Thus, we are looking for unconventional ways like game-based learning to integrate this mindset shift into the design education. We believe that for facilitating a “better future of the whole society”, it is of paramount importance to change the expert mindset of designers from the beginning of their design education.

Design education for the new industries

Design education’ mission is to form a designers’ identity and mindset through incorporating project- and problem-based education. However, in the past years, the role of designers within multidisciplinary teams has drastically shifted towards facilitating the creative process. Industry partners suggest designers of the future should be ‘specialist generalists’ (of the t-shaped skills model), who are able to quickly shift between contexts and projects on the vertical (deep knowledge of field) and horizontal axis (collaboration across disciplines). The .education pillar conducts research into the skills and knowledge that engineers need to thrive within this new context (the new industries). We incorporate our findings into the industrial design engineering university curricula and invite industry partners to collaborate with us.

Research Projects 

T-CREPE / Erasmus +: Textile engineering for co-creation paradigms in education

The Erasmus+ (KA2) project, 'T-Crepe: Textile Engineering for co-creation paradigms in education' ( aims to develop an innovative web-based, open-source learning platform based on constructionist learning theory and the principle of game-based learning ( to teach the Design Thinking methodology and support coaching in online environments.

T-crepe logo erasmus+ program

T-CREPE publications

PhD Research

Melis Örnekoğlu Selçuk: Research-through-Design for Developing a Co-design Facilitator’s Game

In the last decade, a shift in the role of designers in terms of their involvement and responsibilities during a design process is observed in research on design. The key for innovation now is less about ‘designing for’, and more about ‘designing with’ users. In this new context, design students are asked to become skilled facilitators of the design processes and the participation of involved stakeholders. However, novices in design, including design students, have difficulties in understanding and performing the role of the designer in the design process adequately. From a practice-based ontological design stance, this PhD study aims to develop a co-design facilitator’s game/toolkit to assist students on what actions and parameters to consider in several stages of a co-design process. Following a Research-through-Design approach, the objective is to generate a game for helping design students better facilitate co-design processes with stakeholders. This research stems from the Erasmus+ KA2 project T-CREPE' (Textile Engineering for Co-creation Paradigms in Education).

Ellen De Vos: Understanding the meaning of design in collaborative future scenarios building

This PhD research aims at understanding how design could act as a valuable translator between a theoretical future scenario exercise and a practical knowledge-exchange discussion process.  Furthermore, we question how a design concept can be a meaningful boundary object in a collaborative debate about (future) problems. And, how it can augment the engagement of an audience towards these (future) challenges.  The stage in which this exploration is situated is in the early stage of a design process, the so-called Fuzzy Front End of (Product) Development where the emphasis lies on finding the right problem to tackle and not on the production of a conclusive solution.

Past Phd research

Lore Brosens: Future-proof design education for Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is currently being implemented with industry 5.0 on the horizon. These terms indicate a new industrial era in which industrial design engineers will have to develop new products, services or systems using state-of-the-art technology. In addition to new domain-specific knowledge required to work with these technologies, it has become apparent that a certain skill set is essential. The research goal is to determine which of these 21st-century skills or skills for new industries are essential for industrial designers. In addition, we will measure the development of these skills within project education and examine how this can be used in evaluation processes. The aim is to prepare students who are currently doing their masters in industrial design, but also engineers who are already working in the industry and who want to update their skills.