Singapore University of Social Sciences

Design Inquiry I: Planning and Execution

Design Inquiry I: Planning and Execution (DES501)

Applications Open: 01 October 2021

Applications Close: 30 November 2021

Next Available Intake: January 2022

Course Types: Modular Graduate Course, SkillsFuture Series

Language: English

Duration: 6 months

Fees: To be confirmed

Area of Interest: Digital Media, Design

Schemes: To be confirmed

Funding: SkillsFuture

School/Department: School of Business


Planning plays an essential role in the success of any research-driven design project if the findings and outcomes are to be usable and actionable for design inspiration and decision making. DES501 Design Inquiry I: Planning and Execution begins with a survey on available design frameworks and design and innovation processes to give participants an appreciation and understanding of how contemporary designers, innovators and consultancy firms approach complex challenges, before delving into the planning and execution stages of a design project. Specifically, the course will explore the use of contemporary/unorthodox methods and tools designers use to understand specific social phenomenon. In addition, this course will explore the elements of a design project plan, specific design issues and the recruitment and screening process that lead to better contextual understanding of human behaviour, the fuzzy problem and opportunity space.

Level: 5
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every semester


  • Design and innovation: Frameworks and processes
  • Design inquiry process: Exploratory, generative and evaluative
  • Research methodologies: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods
  • Project kick-off, expectations, scoping, and agreements
  • Problem/opportunity space, hunt statement and goals
  • Screening and recruitment process: Do’s and don’ts
  • Traditional research methods: Interview, observation and participation
  • Unorthodox methods for design inquiry
  • Understanding human: Needs, wants, motivation, etc.
  • Cognitive biases and ways to gain empathy
  • Discussion guide and research toolkits
  • Data management and organisation

Learning Outcome

  • Discuss the various frameworks and design (thinking) processes
  • Appraise the value of research in design process
  • Plan a design study with business goals and client needs in mind
  • Defend for the choice of methods that best meet the research objectives
  • Formulate a recruitment plan to invite qualified participants for a study
  • Create discussion guide and toolkits for data collection
  • Develop a structured system to manage and organise collected data
  • Use appropriate means to communicate key messages effectively
  • Assess critically on the design discovery process and learning journey
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