Speaking to Design Students' Motivation: When Creating Design Thinking Courses Based on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikel


This paper investigates ways to create design thinking courses that speak to
design students’ motivation based on the United Nations Sustainable
Development Goals (UN SDG). The question is examined through a case
study at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design (KADK),
in which third-semester students from eight design disciplines engaged in a sixweek
project-based design thinking course with UN City Copenhagen as an
external partner. KADK is hard at work to secure faster recruitment because
the number of students accepted has been cut due to high unemployment rates
among graduates. One strategy is to devote three years to the 17 UN SDGs;
another initiative is to educate students to be able to work outside traditional
areas of design.
Previous experiences and research show that although some design disciplines
find cross-disciplinary design thinking courses to be a natural extension of their
practice, others are demotivated, saying they take time away from disciplinerelevant
projects and are generally a waste of time. With the intent to heighten
students’ motivation to engage in the learning process, the course design
integrates motivational factors such as a meaningful topic, working with real-life
challenges, collaborating with a high-profile external partner, and positioning
design thinking as a means to complex problem solving and innovation in public
and private sectors.
TidsskriftThe Design Management Journal
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)60–72
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2019


  • Design Thinking, Creativity and Motivation, UN Sustainable Development Goals, Design Education

Kunstnerisk udviklingsvirksomhed (KUV)

  • Nej