Design Thinking, Technology and Human Behaviour

This course aims to develop students’ understanding of the intersection between areas of design, technology and human behaviour. It will examine the ways in which design and technology interact with and alter human behaviour. Conversely, it will also explore how a deeper understanding of human behaviour and psychology can enable us to design better interventions (in a form of different kinds of systems and utilities that involve communities of people and technology) that can create a positive impact on people and society.

Course Objectives

This multidisciplinary course will equip students with the necessary research methods and tools to practically apply these insights by carrying out practical projects in which they will follow the complete “design thinking cycle” using the weekly sprint-based approach:

  • Defining the problem statement,
  • Conducting meaningful user research using quantitative and qualitative methods,
  • Analyze findings and complement them with a theoretical understanding of human behaviour trends,
  • Designing the prototype
  • Evaluating the proposed intervention.

The course takes the “people first” approach where technology takes a secondary role in the intervention design process. It comprises a series of lectures paired with in-class activities, presentations, discussions, case studies, and a semester-long project with the applied value. The course does not require prior technology and computer science knowledge. 

Industry experts/activists will be invited throughout this course to share their experiences with designing projects for community impact. Students will work in multidisciplinary teams and partner with members of the community to research, understand, brainstorm, and prototype solutions to problems outlined in the sustainable development goals.

Learning Outcomes
  • Apply principles of human-centred design and human behaviour to conduct user research and analyze findings. 

  • Apply brainstorming and decision-making techniques to design solutions for identified needs. 

  • Iterate on solutions using feedback from product testing, user testing and mid-design feedback from team members and experts. 

  • Collaborate with team members and community partners.

  • Trace the impact of technology on human behaviour.