Design for sustainable innovation


Ecodesign is the art of achieving more with less – the “Design for Sustainable Innovation” specialisation in the programme focuses on an innovative approach to holistic product development, the driving force behind economic and social progress. In an integrative product development process called DESIGNPILOT, relevant aspects such as form, emotion, function, production, sales, use and sustainability are bundled and deepened. This web-based design innovation method supports interdisciplinary development processes, promotes a systematic and creative approach and addresses complex problems (LINK:

The programme focuses on classic consumer goods, capital goods, service design and digital solutions. The opportunities and risks of digital transformation in technology, business, culture and society are explored.

Expanded design philosophy

Sustainable design takes into account the entire life cycle of a product – from the extraction of raw materials through production, distribution and use to recycling and disposal. The extended design philosophy aims to use fewer materials and less energy while generating greater benefits.

The focus area is committed to the fundamental transformation of the economic system towards sustainability and justice by promoting innovative, interdisciplinary development processes. The aim is to create a habitable world despite climate change. The focus is not only on products, but also on system-oriented procedures and processes in order to fulfil communicative and identity-forming functions and to shape individual and collective everyday culture.


The specialisation focuses on sustainability and eco-design by integrating research and practical experience in dealing with materials, construction and manufacturing processes as well as innovative technologies. Methodological approaches to systematic and creative design and conceptualisation are emphasised, in particular through the use of the web-based DESIGNPILOT.

The course content emphasises the economic and ecological potential of eco-design. In addition to technical skills and aesthetic sensitivity, the focus also emphasises systemic, structural and creative thinking. Environmental consideration in product development is seen as a key factor for innovation, cost savings and competitive advantages. Learning modules cover methods, approaches and tools of EcoDesign, including creativity techniques. The specialisation teaches holistic skills by combining technical, aesthetic and ecological aspects in product development.

  • Recognising economic and ecological potential in product development
  • Integrating ecological considerations into the entire design process
  • Practice-orientated research into materials, construction and manufacturing processes
  • Innovative design methods: use of the web-based DESIGNPILOT for systematic design and construction
  • Development of interfaces to institutions for technology transfer and interdisciplinary exchange
  • Research focus in industrial design: design engineering, innovative material utilisation, manufacturing processes, recycling
  • Application of CAD/CAM, VR/AR and rapid prototyping

Methods and creativity techniques for ecological analyses

Study goals

In this specialisation, students acquire the ability to successfully master complex problems through a multi-stage design process. This includes the planning, organisation and implementation of development processes in interdisciplinary teams. The focus is on the integration of innovative materials, technologies, sustainable development processes, intercultural and global production aspects and marketing strategies. In addition, significant megatrends of the 21st century are creatively integrated into new product concepts.

The overarching goal of eco-design is to design products, services and systems in such a way that their overall environmental impact is reduced across all phases of their life cycle. This includes life cycle thinking, emphasising longevity, careful use of resources and avoiding pollutants and waste. Ecodesign not only aims to reduce the material and technical impact on the environment, but also seeks new answers to individual values, lifestyles and cultural practices. The design process takes into account a variety of aspects, including technical, aesthetic, economic, social and ecological ones. With its sustainable design approach, ecodesign thinks ahead about social, economic and ecological consequences, strives to minimise environmental impact and takes into account the social effects of designs.

  • Developing creative and strategic skills to tackle complex problems through a multi-stage design process
  • Planning, organisation and implementation of development processes in interdisciplinary teams
  • Integration of innovative materials, technologies and sustainable development processes with a focus on environmental aspects
  • Emphasising life cycle thinking, longevity, careful use of resources, avoidance of pollutants and waste
  • Consideration of individual values, lifestyles and cultural practices in the design process
  • Holistic consideration of technical, aesthetic, economic, social and ecological aspects in design
  • Sustainable design approach with foresighted thinking about social, economic and ecological consequences
  • Striving to minimise environmental impact and taking into account the social impact of material or immaterial designs