Understanding Organisations

Organisations are somewhat like trees, with trunks and branches that extend in different directions. By understanding the trunk, designers can begin to grow new shoots and branches. That means helping to shape organisations creatively and responsibly by devising new key collective goals and designs to address the challenges of our time.

Everyone has a lived experienced being part of an organisation, be it with a school, hospital or company. Tapping into that experience, this course aims to bring a deeper understanding of organisations, to look at them from three perspectives: technical, interpretative and critical.

Explore how to categorise, interpret and produce knowledge about organisations while making use of key thinkers and renowned examples that shaped the study of organisations. Such efforts to create general understanding helps with developing a critical view of organisations, with an eye to what they could become while considering the consequences for stakeholders and society.

Learn to think beyond the status quo, recognising that we cannot solve today’s problems with the thinking of today. Use this to propose a specific change within an organisation. Part of a designer’s job is to make sense.

This course can be applied to Design Projects 1, 2 and 4 and relates to other courses that require an understanding of organisations.

Photo: 'Lone tree', Troy Williams, 2018. Released via Unsplash. Illustration: Astrid Rutten, 2021.
Photo: ‘Mist over a field 3', Mirjam Aarbodem-van der Geur, 2021. Released under CC BY-NC-SA via We Like Sharing, Flickr. Illustration: Astrid Rutten, 2021.

Course Coordinator's perspective

“Students should experience that they can plant new trees or branches. By clarifying their own aspirations and understanding the dynamics of organisations they can deliberately conceive triggers that set people into motion.”

Sander Mulder

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