Co-Design Studio

If you have a vast interest in design and innovation, you want to enhance and deepen your designing skills and mindset and  understand thoroughly the diverse users and contexts  you are designing for and you are willing to work hard for this, you are very welcome to our next edition of the Co-Design Studio. We’d love to work with you!

This is not school. This is the engaging design studio working with real clients and coaches that actually work in the field of design. We focus on systemic and inclusive design in a technical environment, with a strong heart for lasting sustainability, life-changing health care solutions, and relevant social innovations that include the society.

Here is a video impression:

Co-Design is a method that bridges the gap between the technical and social environments. Developing new products is becoming increasingly complex, because of the technology used, global competition and the interconnectedness of products, services and infrastructure. Successfully innovating products is therefore not just about the smart use of technology, it is also about the link between the ‘world of technical products’ and the ‘social world’. That is why we focus on the following themes:

  • Inclusive & systemic design
    Inclusive and systemic design is about exploring the context and stakeholders of the projects on different levels of abstraction. We make sure we include diverse stakeholders during the whole project and we visualize what the connections between these stakeholders and elements in the complex systems are. In this way we try to understand the current system as good as possible and we design for a better system.
  • Design research & creatorship
    We design for two different goals: We design interventions to understand the system and we try to understand the system to design interventions for the system. Therefore we are constantly switching between the creators role and the facilitators role of a designer. We create experienceable concepts, low and high-fidelity prototypes and you will learn how to facilitate co-design sessions during the whole design process.
  • Impact & change
    Systems can be very complex, you only have to turn a button and everything can change. This can have an impact on different levels of abstraction and that is why we think it is important to consciously deal with the impact that an intervention will make in a system. Such complex projects therefore involve social considerations and considerations regarding sustainability and ethics.
  • Professional & personal growth
    A ‘concept’ means something different to everyone. This is just one example, but it shows why we love to work in interdisciplinary and international teams: we want to learn from each other’s ‘worlds’ and visions. Furthermore, we think it is important that you get started with shaping your own vision and becoming aware of your own skills and mindset. Drawing up a moral compass is also a part of this. Sometimes you are faced with ethical decisions, which choices do you make and why?

This program is offered to you by research group Co-Design (HU Utrecht University of Applied Sciences) and operated by Fundamentals Academy. Over 40 experienced professionals known for their skills in (product) design, user-centered design, user research, experience design, rapid prototyping, entrepreneurship, and organisational development, are directly connected to our studio is supporting you throughout the programme. This means that during the program we are well-connected, and our juniors benefit from this for the knowledge brought in is crisp and fresh.

If you have a vast interest in creativity and innovation, you want to be better at understanding the world you are designing for, and you are willing to work hard for this, you are very welcome to our next edition of the Co-Design Studio. We’d love to work with you!

This program has strong links to product design and Communication Multimedia Design, however, we do not limit ourselves.

We are offering this design program to both designers (e.g. product design or communication multimedia design) and non-designers (e.g. health care students, business students, engineering students). Feel free to contact us for any information regarding the programme or how it will most benefit your development.


If you care about creativity and innovation, and you’re ambitious, you’re the one we are looking for! You need to have at least a propaedeutic diploma (issued after the first year of university studies).

The Examination Board has already determined which minors do not have a higher professional education level and/or have an unacceptable overlap with the compulsory curriculum of your own study programme. Check at the page Not allowed minor courses under your institute which minors are not allowed. This page will be updated from 25 February 2023 for the 2023-2024 minor offer. 


During the minor you’ll build experience and expertise on involving your users and creating engaging concepts. In our 3 Design Projects, you’ll really get to work on a current case for one of our clients. During everything you do, our coaches will guide you through to make sure this will be one of the best programs you’ll ever experience. The frameworks of the minor exist of:

  • Projects for clients
    We are working on 3 big projects. The first project is about inclusive design, the second project is about systemic design and in the last project you will combine both approaches. Last years, we worked for Arriva, UMC Utrecht, Vanderlande, Municipality of Utrecht, Zero food waste (Orbisk), Fischer and many others.
  • Workshops
    During the workshops we offer you the opportunity to work with our coaches on a direct and personal level. We offer design related tools and methods and you build experience and expertise on involving diverse stakeholders and creating impactful concepts.
  • Challenges
    Sometimes we get the opportunity to join a one-week challenge, for example the Healthy Living Challenge or the Utrecht Mobility Challenge. In these challenges you will run through the overall design process in a pressure cooker setting.
  • The international week
    The international week is a week where all the juniors are send to one of our international partners within Europe to collaborate for a few days on their project. We have been collaborating with Manchester (UK), Turku (FI), Valencia (ES), Warsaw (PL), Budapest (H), and Hamburg (D).
  • The warroom
    Personal and professional development is an important part of our program. That’s why we are focusing on this part for two weeks throughout the ‘Warroom weeks’. We offer personal coaching and some of our coaches are primarily focused on helping you articulate your professional growth.
  • Your professional portfolio
    A portfolio is one of the signature deliverables. You’re showing your overall quality as a design professional rather than realizing a set of objects/services. You can also use this portfolio when you are searching for an internship or a graduation project.

Check our website for more information and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’ve any questions:

Learning objectives

After completing this minor programme you are aware of your qualities as a junior design professional and you know how to use them effectively, both independently and as part of a design team.

You are capable of creating a cohesive design in a complex, multidisciplinary context while taking a systemic and inclusive approach. By consciously employing a variety of research and design methods, you facilitate the design process in a structured manner by:

  • mapping the systemic context and the various stakeholders;
  • exploring the needs and interests of the various users (to ensure an inclusive design) and translating those into design principles and requirements;
  • generating and selecting ideas for further development into concepts/designs that can be experienced;
  • taking on both a developing and a facilitating role in the design process;
  • developing a perceptible innovative design and prototyping and validating that in an iterative process in co-creation with the users;
  • substantiating design decisions while also taking into consideration the social, ethical, environmental and systemic impact;
  • presenting the added value of the design / intervention to the client and substantiating that with the design research and the expected (systemic) impact;


The programme takes place during one semester and contains the following courses:

Course unit title Content ECTS
Co-Design Exploration Create and explore your creative potential. Discover your identity in Co-design processes and expose yourself in artefacts. 5
Co-Design Tools Get acquainted and gain experience with several design tools.  5
Co-Design Project One Learn the co-design process and develop specific qualities. A 5-week project including intense lectures on Researching, Sketching and Writing. 5
Co-Design Project Two Learn how to be owner of the co-design process and show your added value. A 5-week project including a personal assignment on design process. 5
Co-Design Signature Project Show understanding of the co-design process, execute it yourself. A 5-week signature project. 10

Please note that the programme reflects a (logical) bundle of courses/subjects and should normally be followed as such. It is not possible to combine (two or more) programmes in one single period.


Course Assessment
Co-Design Tools Individual presentation at expo
Co-Design Exploration Individual presentation at expo
Co-Design Project One Presentation (60%), Report (40%)
Co-Design Project Two Presentation (40%), Report (60%)
Co-Design Signature Project Presentation (50%), Report (30%), Portfolio (20%)


Convivial toolbox. P.J. Stappers, Elizabeth B.N. Sanders & Pieter Jan Stappers (2012). – Toolkit Medialab Amsterdam


Co-Design Studio is a full-time programme consisting mainly of interactive projects. Seminars, workshops, design challenges, guest lectures and coaching are scheduled throughout the weeks.

With the exception of the first teaching period of the academic year (starting September), the lesson and test schedules are always posted on Mijn Rooster four weeks before the start of each teaching period. The schedule for the first teaching period of the academic year can be found on the site three weeks before the start. The most up-to-date schedule is always visible on Mijn Rooster. 

At HU, full-time education may be scheduled between 08:30 and 19:00.

Additional costs

€400,-. This amount includes among others: introduction days, accommodation and travel expenses for the international week, material costs, drinks etc.


This minor course is marked by the Green Office as a sustainable minor. This means that by participating in this minor course, you can contribute to one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals from the UN.


Switch to English English