Denmark – Design School Kolding DESIS Lab

For Admission

Starts: 16 April, 2018
Duration :
Instructors: Denmark – Design School Kolding DESIS Lab
Phone :
Email :


Design School Kolding DESIS Lab



Design School Kolding is an independent institution under the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The school trains designers at undergraduate and graduate levels.

Design School Kolding has just short of 380 active students and a number of PhD students, including industrial PhD students. Every year, the school admits around 90 new students. Our knowledge intends to reinforce the fields of Fashion Design, Textile Design, Accessory Design, Industrial Design and Communication Design in a societal context by focusing on three strategic areas that we refer to as Sustainability (planet), Design for Social Inclusion (people),and Design for Play (play).

This means we dedicate our MA Programme and our research and development activities to these issues.

 The Research Rationale:

The point of departure to the research performed at DK is that it is development driven. The research is application-oriented and is generated out of the specific need for new knowledge springing out of design driven problem solving. The research performed at the school aims to be visible to its users, e.g. the business community or organizations, so that new knowledge is obtained and used for the benefit of both.

The research must prove its relevance by bringing academic knowledge of design in play with the – often tacit -, experience-based knowledge generated in business and turn it into explicit knowledge. The research must be an integral part of the innovative design experiments taking place in the Labs and must be integrated in the teaching as well.

DK’s research activities are divided into three segments: basic research, applied research with strategic value to the long term development of the research profile of Design School Kolding School and applied commissioned research.

 Research Strategy:

The research strategy of DK has an overarching aim and four key objectives.

The aim is to deliver research of high international standard and high relevance to the community of external stakeholders (for example the community of business; related technology knowledge partners; public sector institutions).

The four key objectives are:

  • Expanding the role of design and contribute to the development of concepts and methods in business and cultural life as well as in the public sector
  • Developing new knowledge in tandem with the experimental design projects to understand, challenge and develop the tacit design knowledge. Interdisciplinary innovation will be incorporated into all various steps
  • Ensuring the transformation of knowledge accumulated from the experimental design projects into theories and models
  • Contributing to the understanding of the cultural heritage of Danish Design and its importance for the development of the field of design.

LAB PROFILE for Design School Kolding DESIS Lab:
Design School Kolding’s unique competences in education, research and development within the field of design not only benefit the students but society as a whole.

The school is keen for industry, the public systems and others to experience the creative and innovative potential offered by a collaboration between a designer and a company.

Design School Kolding has therefore created a tradition of working with local, regional, national and international companies, institutions and organisations. Our laboratories consolidate the school’s collaborations. Here, a team of professional designers works on how design and design methods can make a difference to the world.

Design School Kolding rests on a three-pronged knowledge base: Research, artistic development and practice. The school works on the principle that “doing is thinking”; through specific collaborations and artistic development projects, the Laboratories generate knowledge and examples of how design contributes to the development and implementation of meaningful products, services and systems.

At Design School Kolding we have organized the MA programmes so that they reflect the 3 strategic areas of the institution which again reflect the 3 Lab under which the education is structured: Lab for Social Innovation (MA for People), Lab for Sustainability (MA for Planet), Lab for Play (MA for Play). The Lab for Social Inclusion is responsible for Design School Kolding DESIS collaboration and includes the other Labs when it is beneficial to all parties. All labs explore the relationships between design and social change.
The Lab projects integrate design practices through an open and critical approach into communities of all kinds with the aim of gaining increased knowledge about complex situations.The labs integrate several design disciplines and methodologies.

The Lab for Social Innovation
The Lab for Social Innovation works with and participates in projects that focus on prevention and welfare technology.
The laboratory’s team of professional designers are specialists in design methods and can offer companies, institutions and organisations:
• Identification of the users’ experiences and needs.
• Analyses and recommendations that promote the development of meaningful products and services.
• Facilitation of workshops that qualify knowledge, new ideas and concepts.
The LAB focuses on social innovation and contributes to the discussion and development of design and design methodologies engaging in increased complex both global and local situations. The intention with this Lab is that we on a research basis develop and evaluate well-known design methods in a social context with the aim of gaining increased knowledge about social challenges.

Denmark is a country with a strong welfare sector; and many of the projects created in the Lab are related to the welfare sector. Design can contribute to development of a new model of the Danish welfare through design driven innovation with focus on user behavior and participatory design. In a partnership between NGO´s, private companies, government agencies and academia a series of demonstration examples are developed where design supports the development of coherent welfare solutions. The individual person and the surrounding communities are involved in all projects.

Design can contribute to the development of the welfare state version 3.0 through design driven innovation carried out through the question: What makes sense rather than: What is technically possible? Or what is profitable? With that as a starting point the Lab of Social Innovation has established a series of design partnerships that can show the importance of design in development of new social relations and behavior changes.


Examples of Projects:

They turn the doctor-patient relationship upside down:
What happens when patients acquire more participation rights? Researchers and designers at Lab for Social Inclusion investigate this question.
Allowing patients a greater say in their own treatment, and perhaps even letting them decide what type of treatment they prefer, is a practice that is being adopted in several areas within the Danish healthcare system. But in order to prepare the patient as well as possible for making the – sometimes difficult – decisions, tools are needed. The project, which is a collaborative project with the Center for Shared Decision Making, consists of a practical development project of which LAB for Social Inclusion is in charge. The research work contributes with knowledge and publications.

Place making | Makers:
Is a PhD conducted in Lab for Social Inclusion as a collaboration with Kolding Municipality.
The project is focusing on social sustainable city development and researches pivotal design parameters if we want to develop collective, urban public places, so that they support interaction between people, a coherent city and the social life.
The PhD is practice based research using Research through design methods.

Link to design experiment about interactive benches entailed in the project:


Designing Relations:
Designing Relationships is a collaborative project between the National Board of Social Services, Vejle Municipality, Development Center Skansebakken, and Design School Kolding. The project takes place at Skansebakken, a residence for 45 people with wide-ranging physical and mental disabilities. The goal is to develop more non-paid relationships that will enhance job satisfaction and well-being of employees and higher quality of life for the residents. The project will culminate in a series of prototypes being tested by residents and staff in the next two years and continuously evaluated by the National Board of Social Services. Using design methods a number of concepts will be developed and tested. It may, for example, focus on finding solutions that make it possible and meaningful to families or individuals in the community to be a part of and take responsibility for Skansebakken. The project’s goal is that 95 per cent of the residents at Skansebakken have created and / or strengthened mutual and sustainable relationships with family, friends, acquaintances and civil society, such as volunteers.

Decision tool for breast cancer patients
Doctors, nurses, patients and designers develop a decision tool that helps women with breast cancer.
Vera is 61 and has a positive outlook. Mette is 44 and confused. Henriette is 36 and critical. They have one thing in common: They have all had breast cancer and surgery – and now they all have to decide whether to accept further treatment in order to minimize the risk of recurrence.

Vera, Mette and Henriette are made-up characters but they share a great resemblance with the majority of the patients that the Design School Kolding designers encountered when they developed their decision tool. A piece of material that intends to prepare them for the decision whether or not to accept further treatment – with the risks entailed in either decision.

The decision tool has been developed as part of a collaboration agreement between Design School Kolding and Hospital Lillebælt. Hospital Director Dorthe Crüger is very pleased with the result and the process where “designers, clinical staff and patients have joined their creative forces.”

Design to improve healthcare
A large majority of the unintended episodes reported to Aalborg Municipality are about medication errors. The complication is particularly evident in municipal care homes, domiciliary care and in residential accommodations. In care homes ’medicine not administered’ constitutes 63% of all reported episodes. In domiciliary care it is 52% and in residential accommodation 46%.

– We do not know why there are so many episodes of non-administered medicine when there are safety protocols in place that largely ought to prevent them, said Louise Weikop, head of Aalborg Municipality’s Quality and Innovation unit.

This is the motivation behind the special unit for Quality and Innovation under Aalborg Municipality’s Senior and Disability Department’s partnership agreement with Design School Kolding. The primary goal of the partnership is to work with designers towards a solution that can minimize medication errors in the Senior sector.

– We want to investigate how existing protocol does not prevent errors and are not adequate. Why don’t they make sense to the users? And what can we do to make sure that they will? Or do we need a completely different approach, Louise Weikop adds. In concrete terms, the partnership means that a group of care personnel in selected care homes will go through a design process under the supervision of Design School Kolding’s professional designers and developers.

– What is central for the designer is to identify and solve challenges and problems in a way that makes sense to the staff, residents and any next of kin part of the exchanges that constitute medicinal administration. What this means is that users can connect to the solutions – emotionally, functionally, socially and culturally, said Design School Kolding Rector Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen and adds:

– The designer’s solutions appear intuitively attractive because they are created in a stress field between on one side the designer’s creative potential and vision and on the other side, the users’ own experiences and ideas. This creates a balance between innovation – the unanticipated – and the users’ demand for recognition. This approach avoids ’waste’ in the form of products that never make it to market or public services that neither users nor staff find useful and therefore conveniently abandon.

Increased use of design
Starting with the case at hand, Aalborg Municipality’s unit for Quality and Innovation harbour ambitions to increase the use of design, not least because the future scenario is more welfare work with fewer resources.

– That is why we need to be creative and innovative. Aalborg Municipality wants to break with traditional thinking and dare to tread new paths to improve and develop the quality of life for citizens and staff, Louise Weikop concludes.


Main Partners

  • Health Innovation Centre
  • The Centre for Robot Technology (Danish Technological Institute)
  • National Board of Social Services
  • Care 4 All
  • Kolding Municipality
  • Vejle Municipality
  • Fredericia Municipality
  • Aalborg Municipality
  • Skanderborg Municipality
  • National Board of Social Services
  • Development Center Skansebakken
  • Hospital Lillebælt
  • Kopenhagen Fur
  • Ecco
  • Marielundskolen
  • LEGO
  • Koldinghus
  • DTU, KU, SDU AAU (Danish universities)
  • Danish Design Center
  • Index – Design to improve life
  • International universities such as Parsons New School, Tongji University, Tshinghua University, Aalto University
  • NASA


Core Team

Coordinator Anette Flinck

Academic coordinator Anne Corlin

Team members:

Anne Louise Bang

Laila Grøn Truelsen

Ulla Ræbild

Joan Pedersen

Canan Akoglu

Kathrina Dankl

Trine Højbak Møller Gøttsche

Kerstin Bro Egelund

Liv Johanne Eskholm



Corlin, Anne, Melgaard, Bente, Bach, Jonas Strandholdt, 2017: The role and future of social housing – Three PhD projects approaching the challenges

Sesay, Anna-Mamusu, Corlin Anne, 2017: Using Interdisciplinarity as Catalyst for Reflexivity

Corlin, Anne, 2016: Urban Songlines as Mediator

Corlin, Anne, 2016: Superkilen – pivotal design parameters for an urban place, which support social life

Corlin, Anne, Bohl, Kirsten, Schmidt, Allan, Mikkelsen, Mette, 2014: Wayfinding, Middelfart Hospitality

Ræbild, Ulla, Bang, Anne Louise, 2017: Rethinking the Fashion Collection as a Design Strategic Tool in a Circular Economy

Bang, Anne Louise, Riisberg, Vibeke, 2017, contribution to book: Method 43. Documenting awareness of the sense of tough and wear’s sensuous experiences of cloth

Møller, Trine, Petersen, Louise Ravnløkke Munk, Bang, Anne Louise, 2016: Tangible Dialogue Tools

Møller, Trine, Bang, Anne Louise, 2016: Intimacy in Accessories

Hasling, Karen Marie, Ræbild, Ulla, 2017: Exploring the Competence Matrix

Hasling, Karen Marie, Ræbild, Ulla, 2017: Facilitating Sustainability in Design Education and Practice

Skjold, Else, Ræbild, Ulla, Hasling, Karen Marie, 2017: Design as Key to Unlock the Wicked Problem of Sustainability

Skjold, Else, 2017: Biographical Wardrobe Method

Akoglu, Canan, 2017: The Influences of Designing for Services in Product Design Oriented Organisations

Akoglu, Canan, 2017: Developing a General Decision Tool for Future Cancer Care: Getting Feedback from Users in Busy Hospital Environment

Akoglu, Canan, 2017: Learning to Design Together: Introducing Conditional Design as a Method for Co-design Activities