IDE is comprised of three departments: Design, Organisation and Strategy (DOS), Human-Centered Design (HCD), and Sustainable Design Engineering (SDE). Each investigates and uses the design domain for innovation and knowledge creation from its own perspective. IDE flourishes based on the integration of the three departments, but each department also has its own way of looking at things coupled with a strong methodical approach focused on relevant themes within a society in transition.

The three departments each have their scientific areas of expertise (diversity) but always with a focus on design (unity). That is where the communalities and also strengths of the faculty lie. An abundance of research (and education) projects that cross departmental boundaries are living testimony of this.

Each department is chaired by the head of department who is a full professor. Heads of department report to the dean and are responsible for research, education, innovation, impact and operations. Each department is composed of several sections: smaller research units, chaired by a full or associate professor.