Project Design Thinking (993N1)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Autumn teaching

This module explores a range of concepts, qualitative approaches, tools and process models associated with problem structuring methods and design thinking. Traditional project management approaches are ill-suited to address changes in the environment or business needs, especially in an innovation context that is characterised by complexity and uncertainty. Some limitations associated with project management (e.g. exploration, stakeholder management and strategy) are highlighted, and can be connected with project front-ending.

Problem structuring methods can assist with addressing these limitations and contribute to project front-ending. Problem structuring methods and design thinking aim to improve problematic situations through an innovative offering (i.e. a new product) based on creative reasoning. Design thinking is explored through three dimensions, namely, cognitive (reference to creativity and exploratory issues), social (reference to stakeholder and process issues), and strategic (reference to creating value and organisational strategy).

Additionally, various problem structuring methods from different disciplines are examined which informs an effective intervention. The module aims to develop interdisciplinary thought, problem structuring and design thinking skills, which complement traditional project management competencies.


33%: Lecture
67%: Practical (Workshop)


50%: Coursework (Essay)
50%: Written assessment (Project)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 117 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.