Read the stories of our international MSc students at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering and discover their experiences of getting used to their new study (and living) environment. Find out their tips to get the most out of the MSc programme or just learn in advance what the best study spots are at the faculty of IDE!
Student Organizations and Ultimate Frisbee
Jack Eichenlaub | October 2021
Coming from an American university, student clubs and organizations were a foundational underpinning of the social experience. Universities (such as my undergraduate home) would advertise having “over multiple-hundred active student clubs” as a draw for potential students. Despite not such vocal promotion of their own resources, TU Delft has a deep network of student clubs and associations ranging in focus from sport to career to purely social. I’ll briefly highlight what is available and share my experience joining Force Elektro, TU Delft’s ultimate frisbee club.
First and foremost, clubs and associations are a fully optional experience with varying levels of commitment. Some students focus purely on their studies, and there’s nothing wrong with that choice. I would, however, personally recommend that everyone at least try to join some sort of organization for the diversity it brings to your daily life. The full list can be found here!
If you’re looking to get heavily committed to a social group, perhaps the most intense are more classical “student associations” that mirror a combined fraternity/sorority. Two of the largest in Delft are D.S.V. Sint Jansbrug and Delftsche Studenten Bond (DSB). These organizations are most often joined by Dutch students starting their bachelors, but some will accept the dedicated international student as well. With tight-knit social circles and appreciable time commitment, these associations are for those wanting to buy into typical, traditional Dutch student life.
There are plenty of choices outside of Dutch social associations: related to one’s studies, each faculty or master will have a study association. For IDE, we have “I.D.”, which seeks to provide both social and academic experiences to members outside of their official studies. This manifests in workshops, career fairs, social events, and even social outings and trips! Study Associations also offer great opportunities to gain leadership experience on committees responsible for planning the events. Membership is cheap and easy, and I highly recommend all IDE students join ID, especially as we move to in-person activities again. Expanding your network of like-minded, intelligent classmates can never be a bad thing!
For international students missing a connection back to their home, culture, or communities, there are also a large variety of cultural organizations that link students of common background or interest. For example, the Indian Student Association or Outsite, the Delft LGTBQ+ group both offer community for people that could feel isolated after moving to Delft from their homes around the world. And of course, in accepting Dutch fashion, anyone is welcome regardless of your identity.
Most important to my experience has been Force Elektro, the local Ultimate Frisbee club. For the uninitiated, Ultimate Frisbee is a team sport that combines the endurance and running of football with flying plastic discs, scoring in endzones, and borrowed elements from other sports. With over 18,000 college ultimate players the US alone (and over 1100 competitive players in the Netherlands), the sport has large reach and is growing rapidly. More importantly, it’s been an exceptional way to meet people from all corners of TU Delft and share in their experiences.
This past month, we welcomed over 60 new teammates of varying experience levels to the program, each one a potential new classmate and friend. Deep in the corona lockdown last year, joining a sport club was one of the only allowed social activities and has proven to be incredibly valuable as a physical and social outlet for me. Sometimes the stresses of school can be overwhelming, so to have an energy outlet is a great benefit to mental and physical health. And of course, it is all the better when surrounded by new friends.
Your time in the classroom at TU Delft is a period of learning and discovery, so why not mirror that outside of school hours? There are enough clubs and associations for everybody to find something they match well with. Enjoy some new friends and new activities, and I might even see you out on the sports fields. Until next time!
Social Initiatives for (International) Students – IDE and MoTiv
Jack Eichenlaub | April 2021
It is no secret that the coronavirus has put many aspects of our lives “on hold.” As the local cherry blossoms bloom and the world awakens again in spring, we all want to get back to life as we used to know it. This past Easter Monday, I had the opportunity to bask in that feeling of normalcy when I was hosted for lunch by a lovely Dutch couple named Irma and Paulus. The “MoTiv Connects” program, arranged by TU Delft-affiliated group MoTiv, allowed individual students to join a Dutch host in their home and make a new, personal connection. This program was also offered over the winter holiday (when I first participated). Over the same break, the faculty of IDE also opened their doors as a gathering place for students not returning home due to travel restrictions. All in all, these experiences have been very valuable to me as I adjust to life abroad, so I wanted to share and inform the wider community!
Over Christmas, I joined one friend in travelling via train and tram to Rotterdam to meet a young TU Delft employee at her cute, top-floor apartment. Nestled near a public park that contained a playground and some very bizarre fruit-shaped seating, we watched the sun slowly settle over the neighborhood from the warm indoors. We ate various Dutch lunch staples while listening to the yearly “Top 2000” broadcast (I highly recommend you go check out this year’s list!). Afterwards, we learned about our host’s life growing up in the Netherlands and what life is like as a grown, working adult. We ended the day with a fascinating game called “Regenwormen” which deftly combined luck and strategy to guarantee that I always lost! Despite the repeated defeats, it was a lovely day, and we definitely overstayed our welcome. Walking back to Rotterdam Centraal Station in the early evening darkness, I had to reflect and appreciate the opportunity to have a meal with a stranger so far from my home.
During the weekday afternoons of the winter holiday, international MSc and PhD students were invited (with proper precautions, of course) to congregate at the faculty to socialize and meet in an informal, “living room” style setting. I personally went for 3 of the available days and met some fascinating fellow international classmates. I was able to flex my dormant table tennis and foosball skills, participate in a “pub quiz,” eat too many oliebollen, and perhaps most importantly, meet fellow IDE students! Alongside learning of what brought them to the Netherlands, I was able to get a better understanding of the variety of people who come to TU Delft to study. Despite vastly different origin stories, our mutual desire to move the world forward through design was a common thread connecting us all. Leaving the holiday season with new friends and familiar faces was a boost to my morale and renewed my appreciation for my classmates and their journeys.
More recently, I hopped on my bike and rode to the Delfgauw village (just east of campus) to meet Irma and Paulus in their home on Easter Monday. Walking in the front door, I was greeted by a modest but homely atmosphere and the smells of at least 10 different foods. They really went all out in preparation, filling a large table with different foods and treats for me to sample. The Dutch paasstol, or Easter bread, was unmistakable and filled on large platter at one end of the table, while a large vase of tulips adorned the other end. My hosts were very curious to know what brought me to the Netherlands specifically, and if I enjoyed the country and the people. In return, they shared tales of their life journey and lessons they learned along the way. Despite being from different cultures, they reminded me of my own grandparents, and were just as eager to show off pictures of their various vacations and adventures as one would expect from grandparents.
As we ate, we watched the sky rapidly change: first, hail fell, only for sunlight to break through the clouds minutes later, and then more hail fell! In that moment, I learned firsthand that “April doet wat hij wil,” or “April does what it wants” (loosely translated) when it comes to weather. The phrase was never more true than on my bicycle ride home that afternoon, when the wind gusted so strong I was stopped in my tracks! Even in the abnormal chill, I left with such a warm feeling inside knowing there was someone looking out for me and willing to welcome me with open arms.
These two events were organized by MoTiv, a “centre for personal development in education and business” that is affiliated with the university. 130 students were hosted over the winter holiday, and another 40 at Easter, with significantly more interested. Recently, MoTiv has been focused on offering resources for students and lecturers needing support in the coronavirus environment. For example, they offer things from online courses in yoga and meditation to more personal assistance like a student support phone line and message platform. Devoted to helping students in their personal and professional development, MoTiv understands the challenges students face in academic life and seeks to be a resource for all.
I would be lying if I said living in coronavirus times is easy, but anyone reading this already knows that. I am both reassured and grateful that programs like MoTiv and the IDE Living Room exist to help all students (but especially international students) in integrating in Dutch life. Hopefully, these opportunities continue in the post-pandemic era so I can meet more local and international people (perhaps even some reading this article). That’s all for now, until next time!
Bikes, Delft, and Nederland!
Vignesh Balakrishnan | April 2021
If you are planning to start masters in the Netherlands, polishing your biking skills should be in your priority list because on Dutch streets, bikes rule. Bikes are an essential part of Dutch culture and holds even more importance in student life; Your bike is your best friend. Be it going to campus, grocery shopping, visiting a friend or to just for leisure, bikes make life easier. Delft is a beautiful city with both narrow alleys and picturesque streets. Most roads have dedicated bike track and with having a maximum speed of 30 kmph in every living area makes biking even safer. Biking can be a really enjoyable experience in Delft especially with lush green nature surrounding the city. If you are coming here to Delft, here are a few tips and trips in relation to biking.
Getting a bike
In a country where bikes outnumber people, choosing a bike for yourself is going to be tricky. You have to decide which bike suits you best and where to get it from. You have a lot to choose from depending on your preference and there are multiple ways with which you can buy one. Here are some useful links.
Long term bike rental - https://swapfiets.nl
Short term bike rental - https://www.ns.nl/en/door-to-door/ov-fiets
Bike stores – Fietscyclette, Decathlon, Wijtman Tweewielers.
Maintaining a bike
Every bike deserves attention but sometimes it attracts bad attention. It is always a good practice to chain the frame of your bike to the rack even if you’re just running errands for a few minutes. Maintaining the bike regularly could save you good money as repairs are not cheap. In case you need a repair, the train stations usually have bike repair facility priced reasonably.
Using a bike
In addition to helping with your day to day chores bikes can also be an energizing hobby. I find it refreshing to go biking in the weekends in and around Delft for a few hours. Getting away from screens to get some fresh air enhances wellbeing. Although there are quite a few places I'm yet to discover, here are the three routes that I would recommend you trying.
(click to view route)
Until next time
Who is Designing Design Anyways?
Jack Eichenlaub | April 2021
Most of us go to university to acquire collective knowledge that has been built for many years, all around the world. IDE masters students not only do that, but also learn from professors at the forefront of design, who are actively creating new knowledge and writing the future of our field. One particular focus is on designing design itself, specifically in the form of exploring design methods, theories, and approaches.
If you do not recognize this vibrant blue book, you surely will soon. It is a proud export of our faculty of Industrial Design Engineering and a critical learning tool used both in our classrooms and in other global contexts. The Delft Design Guide contains a multitude of 2-page spreads that succinctly describe all manner of design perspectives, approaches, and methods to use while tackling modern design challenges. Many of these are well known historical approaches, and many detail modern ideas developed here at TU Delft, such as “Vision in (Product) Design.”
The role of methods in a designer’s practice is often debated. Are the best designers successful due to their intuition, creativity, and inherent talent? Or does the rigorous application of structured methodological approaches yield successful design solutions? Coming from the engineering world, I am trained to believe the latter, but there is no unequivocally correct answer. Design methods exist for our own benefit and are to be applied selectively as they further our goals and fit our individual processes. While this uncertainty is intimidating for some, the Delft Design Guide and other resources exist for us to leverage in our times of need for structure and process.
As first year master’s students, we are encouraged (well, required really) to reflect on the role of design methods in our own practice in a shared master course called Design Theory and Methodology. This course very explicitly does not aim to teach specific methods and theories, but rather asks students to critically evaluate different methods and how they influence our practice. What methods do you use? What is your design philosophy? How can you adapt your design process based on reflective practices?
This year, the course was delivered largely through “podcast” style lectures that brought eminent design theorists directly to our earbuds. We were able to hear from experts in conversation on design fixation, participative design, metaphors and creativity, the value of design expertise, and the future role of design methods. Led by instructors Dr. Peter Lloyd and Dr. Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer, we were challenged to ponder and create our own “practice guide.” This document was to succinctly explain how we would instruct and onboard a new junior designer at our own hypothetical firm. In a few words, it showed our design philosophy, aims, methods and practices. I will admit it was quite hard to embody only the purest essence of one’s work and goals.
Exiting the DTM course, I feel much more secure in my understanding of my own design philosophy, and I know that I will be consciously reflective into the future. I may not have quite understood it when I arrived last fall, but TU Delft offers an approach to design that extends far beyond the bounds of what “is,” and looks to what design “will be” in our ever-changing world. At the risk of vanity, I have always wanted to operate at that leading edge; to help shape the future of design far beyond the bounds of my own individual creative output. I now know that resources exist at TU Delft to help me in this goal, so now it is up to me to make the most of them. If you’re interested in these same pursuits, come join us here at IDE! Or if you just want to live vicariously through me, check back soon for my next story on life and learning at TU Delft. Until next time!
Master Variant for Engineers
Vignesh Balakrishnan | April 2021
Industrial Ontwerpen IO is a faculty full of enthusiastic teachers and ambitious students. I am one of those students with a background in mechanical engineering who dreamt of becoming a strategic designer. In this article, I’ll elaborate on the program that enabled me to follow my dream.
I was introduced to design during my bachelor's in mechanical engineering at IIITDM Kancheepuram, Chennai. It was in my penultimate year that I realized I had an interest in human-centred design and wanted to learn more about it. During this time, I followed the MOOC “Delft Design Approach” course on EdX. This was a steppingstone in my pursuit of higher education for two reasons. The course introduced me to the Delft way of designing and Master Variant for Engineers (MVE).
The MVE program gives students and professionals with an engineering background the opportunity to learn industrial design at a master's level. It starts with an intensive semester-long crash course in industrial design to prepare you for Integrated Product Design or Strategic Product Design pathways. MVE puts the theory of 'learning by doing' into practice. The first semester follows a project-based learning approach with a total of four sequential projects in the following domains:
- User-centred design
- Strategic design
- Form and experience
The projects are supervised by coaches from the IDE faculty who have extensive professional experience. The theoretical content required for the projects are supported by lectures, workshops and discussions. In addition, the MVE covers the subjects of ergonomics, design drawing, and applied electronics.
What makes MVE special?
The MVE semester provides students with an opportunity to tackle a variety of design challenges. It gets you out of your comfort zone as an engineer and gets you into the mindset of a designer. It helps you embrace uncertainty and become aware of the bigger picture, not just the technical aspects. The structure demands you to be proactive and take control of your actions. By applying different design methods and practices throughout the four projects, students build their confidence in handling complex design problems.
What was my experience?
Reflecting on my journey, the MVE semester helped me in a lot of ways. Working in groups taught me to work collaboratively with students from other educational and cultural backgrounds. This along with individual responsibilities improved my time management and communication skills among others. Being an engineer, I was always used to black and white problems and definitive ways of solving them. Following this semester made me a bit more comfortable with uncertainty, and I learnt that there is more than one way to tackle a design problem (50 shades of Delft blue). The small size of the cohort and the group projects also allowed us to get to know one another quite well, even despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic and online classes.
MVE is great for engineers with a strong affinity towards industrial design looking to bridge the gap between technical and creative realm. If you are one of them, take a leap and make a splash. It is an enjoyable learning experience.
For more information on MVE, check out the course program.
How can I help?
If you have any questions or want to discuss MVE or SPD or life in Delft, drop me a text here.
Living in Delft: The Great Bakkerij-venture
Jack Eichenlaub | January 2021
Undoubtedly, many unique experiences await once you move to the Netherlands and join the bright men and women of TU Delft. Unfamiliar apartments, new friends, many many bikes, sideways rain, and of course, lots of foods at the store that you cannot quite translate correctly. Sometimes the rigorous schedule of academic work at the TU can be consuming, so in my first semester I attempted to take some personal time to focus on something thing I loved, and search Delft for the best I could possibly find. That thing? Bread and baked goods!
Coming from America, the land of “added sugar,” it took some experimenting to find what I was looking for. So many things are sickly sweet in the US, like for example bread from Subway restaurants. Ireland recently declared that Subway bread was too sugary to be bread, and taxed it more heavily. Luckily, good (unsweet) normal bread is quite common in the Netherlands.
In my search for delicious bread, I first stopped at two staple grocery stores, Jumbo and Albert Heijn. Students will know these well, as not only are they conveniently located near campus and in town, but also ubiquitous throughout the Netherlands. Fresh baguettes and loaves are put out every day throughout the day, although a few times I arrived too late in the day to get any! The bread on offer is quite basic, but extremely cheap. More bread than I could possibly eat in 2 whole days can be found for around 1 euro at each store. And it is good too! Maybe not “gourmet quality,” but tasty all the same. My personal preference is for the rustiek types from Albert Heijn. Often based on a sourdough starter, they are filling and have more complex flavor than basic white bread from either AH or Jumbo.
After figuring out my baseline favorites, it was time to experiment. There are no less than 14 bakeries in Delft, so the choices are practically endless. Conveniently located close to my apartment was a local family-owned bakery, Bakker Jaap V.O.F (Wijnhaven 5). Their yellow awning is hard to miss! I was not incredibly impressed with their full-size loaves (especially when the price is compared against AH or Jumbo), but I did become obsessed with their saucijzenbroodje. Despite the name, this 2-euro treat does not contain sausage, but rather a spiced minced meat within puff pastry. I have been enjoying these simple Dutch delicacies in our lockdown winter, as they are great for adding a warm, hearty touch to your lunch.
Next, I went upmarket and stopped in the Stadsbakkerij de Diamanten Ring (Choorstraat 9). Its building is a place of significance in Dutch history, previously being an inn at which the assassin of William I of Orange stayed the night before the 1584 assassination. Today, it lives quite a different life: with beautiful displays and a wide selection, the Stadsbakkerij is a patisserie selling cakes, muffins, and brownies alongside loaves of bread. The first, and so far, only, good chocolate brownie I have had in Delft was purchased here, as well as a nice red velvet muffin and some good krentenbollen (currant rolls). While more costly than my other baked goods purchases, the flavors justified the costs, at least when one needs to treat themselves.
After I demolished my brownie (instead of eating lunch), I noticed the smudged paper it sat on. It said Sinds 1796, or “since 1796”. That means my home country had only formally existed for 20 years when the Stadsbakkerij was founded. I felt a sense of wonder that Delft, its buildings, and its heritage, have been here for so many years. It was a surprising and quaint reminder of the depths of life that are available to discover in Delft and in the Netherlands as a whole.
So, armed with this small body of knowledge, good luck, and happy exploring! Be it bread, coffee, church windows, farm cottages, bicycle parking racks, or anything else you personally love, I hope you can take the time to explore life outside of our campus once you arrive! Delft may be different than where you come from, but it is easy to make it your new home.
Writing a paper and getting it published
Regina Morán | July 2020
During the master, you will write papers in some courses, and you can decide to present or try to publish your work. For this article, I will share my own experience in publishing a paper.
I will explain what the project is about, where it was presented, what the biggest challenge was, and the learnings. I have also interviewed another student who wrote a paper as part of the research elective.
Publishing a paper
I realised my research as part of the research elective (see electives overview). The research elective consists of realising a research project; for instance, it could be in collaboration with an existing research in the faculty. Besides, you can select the working hours you will assign to the project (e.g. 3, 6, 7, 8, or 9 EC). For my project, I was coached by Dr. ir. Marina Bos-de Vos. and together we defined I will assign the hours needed to receive 9 EC.
What was my project about?
It is about collaboration in healthcare. I studied eight open innovation initiatives in healthcare in the Netherlands to explore how they are working to contribute to a sustainable healthcare system.
Where did I publish my work?
Since, the beginning we (my coach and I) looked for opportunities, and we found out the 6th European Conference on Design4Health would take place in July 2020. Although the conference got cancelled due to COVID-19, we still managed to publish the paper (see full paper here). Timewise it was perfect because I started my project in September, so I had time to apply.
What was my biggest challenge to publish?
The theme I was exploring is a bit complex, and I wanted to include a lot of information (see Figure 1). When I realised there was a word limit for the paper, I had to cut out a significant percentage of the paper. It was challenging for me to scope down the study and talk only about concrete findings.
Figure 1. Analysis session
What did I learn from this experience?
My most significant learning was to have a clear goal and scope down the project; otherwise, you will never finish. Besides, a good advice I got from my coach was to focus on what is really interesting and what are the mechanisms that are causing this. So my advice would be, that if you are doing research and writing a paper, you need to know what you are adding to the existing literature and why your contribution is relevant.
In the end, writing down a paper is a learning exercise, it is an excellent opportunity to learn more a specific topic of your interest. Besides, by publishing, you contribute to existing research, and you are presenting yourself as an expert on a specific topic.
Writing a paper
I continue with the story of Jesal Shah; she is currently studying the master of Strategic Product Design.
What was your project about?
The project was under the domain of design-led transitions. It was done as part of the research elective, under the guidance of Dr. Rebecca Price. It aimed at understanding how design can be applied to transverse and connect different perspectives in order to achieve sustainable transitions. Using the recent demonetisation effort in India as a case study, we reflected on how design could have been applied to improve the transition, as well as to anticipate and alleviate social losses encountered during socio-technical transitions.
What was your biggest challenge to publish?
Since the paper has not been submitted yet, the challenge would be to find the appropriate platform, journal, or conference to present the paper. We have put up a pre-print working paper on ResearchGate to gain some interest and feedback from the research community (see pre-print here).
What did you learn from this experience?
That it is vital to define the goal and scope of the research explicitly; it helps to stay on point. Although my process was very organic, early decisions (e.g. which case study and point of view to pursue) helped in guiding the process. Having a well-defined method of organising the materials you have read is key. Otherwise, it is challenging to keep track of literature (the content, its relevance, and important aspects) and find relevant sources or arguments while you are writing your paper. Lastly, pursuing the project helped me find my writing style (both language and process-wise) as a novice researcher. I write a lengthy first draft to ensure I have captured all my ideas and arguments. I build it for redundancy since it is much easier to remove things rather than add later on.
What do students think of IDE/IPD?
Aman Dalal | July 2020
IDE is home to students from many different countries around the world. They have widely varying academic and cultural backgrounds. They have done their previous studies in industrial design or various disciplines of engineering. Some have even gained years of professional work experience before they chose to do a master. While it is not possible to represent all of their experiences in an article, I tried to gather some highlights of why they are here and what it is like for them to study IPD.
This article takes a question-answer format where the perspectives of various students have been gathered in each answer. Some of the following questions are common among incoming students, especially those coming from afar.
Why did you choose IPD among the three masters?
“I loved what I did in my bachelor of industrial design but it was very theoretical in my opinion. I wanted to take it forward by getting more practical experience”, said a student from Italy. She continued, “Out of the three masters, IPD is the one that resembles my bachelor studies the most and is serving as a perfect extension to it.”
A student from India pointed out that to him hands-on work is very important as he likes to build things. He wanted to learn more about this tangible aspect of product design and apply it in projects. He believes IPD to be the ‘core’ product design among the three options and it suited him the best.
Why did you decide to study at IDE from all the other options around the world?
“IDE offers a fantastic blend between engineering and design!”, exclaims another student from India, “The course is technical while at the same time it can be a little artsy if you want it to. It aims to explore many sides of the design-engineering equation and in the end, you get to find out what kind of a designer you are in the two years.” To summarize it, “all in all, it makes for a great curry!”, he laughs.
An engineer from Spain explains, “I am an engineer by training and I wanted an entry into the product design world. I was intrigued by this field and was looking for a way in so I can later work in the design industry and this served as a perfect course. I wasn’t really able to find any other course that matched the curriculum, even in the (other) top universities around the world. Moreover, my interest in cycling also attracted me to the Netherlands."
A student from Korea adds on his perspective to studying in the Netherlands, “I have been learning English since childhood but never really got to practice it in real life. Apart from the course, an advantage is that people here speak really good English. So I get to practice speaking too all the time.” A Chinese student reasons that she was in contact with other Chinese students who have been here before and they always spoke of the welcoming nature of the teachers and students at IDE and in the Netherlands in general. The positive reviews drew her to studying and later wanting to work in Delft!
How would you compare your expectations and your experience with studying IPD?
“My expectations were very high of the education at TU Delft and I’m more than pleased to say that IDE, the curriculum, the standard of projects, the industry connections, events like the business fair, etc. all have kept up to their promise.”, asserts a graduating student from the US.
“Coming from an engineering background, I was curious how it would be to study among designers who have done something like this before. I’m glad that the MVE (Master Variant for Engineers) was set up to facilitate students like me who really want to be designers. The downside is that you miss all the wonderful electives that IDE offers but you do integrate really well if you follow this track as an engineer”, explains a student from India who followed one semester of bridging MVE courses.
A student from Latin America was pleasantly surprised by the closeness of connection that companies have in IPD master projects in the courses of Advanced Concept Design and Advanced Embodiment Design. She wasn’t completely aware that she would be working while positioning these companies as clients while doing the master. This aspect exceeded all her expectations and she found it to be the most helpful element of the master for her future career.
What do you like most about the IPD curriculum?
The IPD curriculum is composed of two major projects and smaller courses along their side in the first two semesters. The third semester gives you the option to follow electives which include an optional internship. Lastly, the fourth semester is the graduation project that can be done with the faculty, a company, or an organization.
The most common answer to this question was that students are a big fan of the project-based curriculum. “You don’t feel like you are studying. Rather it is more like working for clients, who can be different sorts of companies or governmental organizations depending on your project. Ultimately, you learn much more with this practical exposure and this was by far my favourite aspect of the master”, says a student who was new to working with companies outside of the university.
A Dutch student who did his bachelor at IDE was happy with the variety of electives offered in the third semester. He wanted to dive deeper into some topics which he wasn’t able to during the bachelor. The elective courses are common between all the three masters and students are able to experience a touch of Strategic Design or Design for Interaction too using these courses. He adds, “You can really shape your master according to your interest and that is very satisfying.”
A bunch of students (graduating at the time of writing) are happy that they were able to choose their own graduation projects, some with a company, some with a research organization, and some with the university itself. They share that it is not the case that this would be possible with other universities. Other places offer a list of topics that they can choose from but at IDE, you can really pursue what you want and where you want it for your final project.
Presenting at the Dutch Design Week
Regina Morán | July 2020
During the master, you will design different solutions for existing challenges. Hence, you may have the chance to present your work in different events such as the Dutch Design Week. For this article, I interviewed one student from the master Design for Interaction. She presented her work in the 2019 edition of the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. I will explain what the project is about, what the biggest challenge was, and the learnings she took from it.
This interview was with Ileana Díaz Couder Breceda. She shares her experience of presenting her work in the 2019 edition of the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven; in collaboration with Hannah Goss and Tirza Izelaar. The three of them are students of the master Design for Interaction.
What was your project about?
The project is called Blip. It is an installation that consists of eight hanging balls each with their own personality that can be explored through bodily movement (see Figure 1). Each ball has its own colour and face which corresponds to a musical note. When a person interacts and moves one ball, a musical note begins to play, and the ball begins to light up. The musical note and light loop each time the ball is moved (click here to see a video). As the interaction with the balls increase, the experience turns to be more immersive. When the balls are still, they pulse slowly and move in the wind to attract visitors. Familiarity, connecting, nostalgia, surprise, creation, reflection, beauty, and simplicity are our ingredients for momentary happiness.
Figure 1. Blip; installation at the Dutch Design Week 2019
The reason behind this installation is that people increasingly are consumed by their thoughts, worries and tasks. Without realising it, they are moving through the day without taking a break to enjoy or reflect on what brings them happiness. Blip seduces people in a public setting to practice momentary happiness and ideally improve their subjective wellbeing by being fully engaged and present in a moment with the installation.
What was your biggest challenge to present your work?
The project was the deliverable of the course called "Interactive Technology Design" from the MSc Design for Interaction. For the deliverable, we had one balloon fully working and we "wizarded" the rest. One of the challenges was to make it a stand-alone installation, robust enough for Dutch-Design-Week proof. Hence, we had to do some extra work refining the codes, hardwiring, making a mechanism to make sure the balloons were airtight, and of course to stay on top of all the requirements for the exhibition.
What did you learn from this experience?
I learned to trust the design process, or at least to go with it. Also, I learned (and enjoyed) how good teamwork works; each of my teammates added different ingredients to the table that were visible at the end.
This case is an example of how you can take your projects one step further; not only like a deliverable in a course but also as a project you can present to more people. An experience like this can demonstrate the pitfalls and successes of the project. Besides, it is an enriching experience as a professional and as a person because you face new challenges that can provide you with a learning experience.
SPD Courses in Brief: an overview of what you’ll study
Regina Morán | May 2020
This article will provide you with an overview of the courses you will have as an SPD master student. The information is provided based on my experience as a student who started in autumn, however, it is also possible to start in the spring semester. To see the full master programme, visit SPD Programme. Besides, you can see a detailed description of each course in the Study Guide.
Courses in (year 1)
During the first year, the courses provide you with a set of knowledge, skills and tools. Hence, you will have courses that will provide you with theoretical and practical knowledge. I perceive that during the fall semester, the purpose is to provide you with the general skills and knowledge you need as a strategic designer.
For instance, by learning design methods on Design Theory and Methodology and getting knowledge of business models on New Products Economics. While in the spring semester, you are guided and informed to shape your own path. For example, in Strategic Value of Design you learn about the different paths as Strategic Designer to build your own ‘designer identity’, with Manage your Master you define your master path and at SPD Media you learn a communication skill to convey a clear message. Besides, during the whole year, you are able to learn new skills at IDE Academy by attending 14 different workshops (e.g. observation, future scenarios, photography).
The main courses during the first year are Design Strategy Project (fall semester) and SPD Research (spring semester). In the following lines, I will explain those courses.
Design Strategy Project (fall semester)
This course is project-based, you will work with an organization as a client. For example, in previous years, students have worked with KLM, Red-Cross, Ford, among others. You will have the opportunity to work with a different organization each quarter. Every project is developed by a team of around 4 students guided by 2 coaches and the client. The project depends on the organization’s needs, it could vary from developing new innovations, creating a new business model, etc. For example, my team and I worked with KLM and developed a data-driven strategy for passengers during the flight. Besides, we had great lectures about a huge variety of topics (e.g. artificial intelligence, service design).
SPD Research (spring semester)
The aim of this course is to teach students how to do advanced scientific research. Hence, it is a theoretical and practical course. It is formed by three different modules, qualitative research, quantitative research and customer research methods. For the three modules, you will have lectures and for the qualitative and quantitative modules, you will also have tutorials where you put the theory into practice. Besides, you will work in a team (around 3 people) on a research project, it could be with a qualitative or quantitative focus. You will have the opportunity to select from a list of topics one of your interest to develop your research project. My team and I worked on ‘Designing new business models for multi-stakeholder collaborations’. We realized qualitative research on the health sector where we interviewed health professionals.
Electives (3rd semester):
During this semester, you are able to select your courses. The faculty offers around 40-50 options. Besides, you can select courses from other faculties or other universities inside or outside the Netherlands. There is also the possibility to realize an internship for 15 EC. Another possibility is to select the Medisign specialization, where you need to take at least 9 EC worth of Medisign related electives. For more information you can visit the Medisign webpage. In my case, I selected Health Psychology plus Contextmapping and Experience and Persuasion on health-related topics. Another possibility is to select an annotation on Entrepreneurship where you will need to complete 15 EC from elective courses or an annotation on Sustainability where you will need to complete 10 EC from elective courses.
Graduation project (4th semester):
For the graduation project, you need to complete 30 EC. You can decide to do your graduation project related to an ongoing research project at the faculty or within an organization (visit graduation opportunities). Ideally, you will select a project of your interest. You will be guided by a chair and a mentor. If the project you have selected doesn’t have a chair and a mentor assigned, you will need to look for them. Talk to different professors and ask for advice, it is important that you find the right people that will guide you and support you. For references on graduation projects, watch this video.
To summarize, the programme for SPD master includes a balance of theory and practice to acquire new knowledge, skills and tools. During the first year, you will get basic knowledge and develop new skills. In the second year, you are free to design your own path and focus on what you find more interesting.
Meeting Don Norman
The man, the myth, the legend
Aman Dalal | April 2020
Around 5 years ago, ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ was the book that introduced me to the field of industrial design. Back in the day, I carried it everywhere I went and was amazed by the attention to the details of the world that is offered in each of its chapters.
When I got to meet its author, a superstar in the world of design, psychology, and cognitive science, Don Norman, right here in our own faculty, I was elated.
As soon as I found out Don was going to be in Delft for the 50th anniversary symposium of our Industrial Design Engineering faculty, I looked for events and adjusted my schedule to make sure I could interact with him. I found a match in a Q&A Session at IDE and I couldn’t be more eager to be inside that hall.
He talked about some of his plethora of experiences and had a fun, insightful story to go along with his answer to every question. When the moment came, not a second passed by before my hand shot up in the air. My question to him was, ‘As a product designer, sometimes the best solution I find to problems and project briefs, is to not design. Do you share this feeling?’
This statement is right at the heart of sustainability and design for the future and has kept me awake on many nights. It questions everything I do and that I am working towards. I was exceedingly curious to hear what he has to say about this.
Norman finally eased into the couch placed in the middle of the stage for him. After a few silent moments, he reiterated Victor Papanek, “This brings us back to Papanek, ‘There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a few’.”
He was referring to the first sentence of Papanek’s book, Design for the Real World. But why would Papanek introduce his very profession with such a negative stance? The reason is pretty clear to me. Design, in any form, has the power to ‘add’ to the world. With this power, comes the responsibility of choosing what to design, what gets made, and what people use. It has the power to create, modify, and control what people demand, and again in turn, what gets created. If you look at this loop and scale it up, this is quite some influence on the world and the way we use our seemingly abundant resources.
Norman carried on, “We blame designers, and that implies we assume that designers have more power than they really do.” He stated the fact that very few designers have the power to decide what should or should not be made. Once the management decides to do something, it is very hard for someone lower in the hierarchy of companies say it is a bad idea. Neither is it difficult for management to find someone else willing to do exactly as they say. Moreover, some things that are bad for the environment are often good for the business, “and that’s evil, that’s wrong.”
“So how do we fix that?”
“Don’t solve the problem you are given. Find out what the real problem is.” The real problem is not that we design things that are bad but that we are asked to do so. And yet we don’t have much power to say no.
“So how do we change that?”
He continues, “One thing we have to do is to get ourselves in a position of power.” We need more designers that are, say, CDOs, CEOs, Managing Directors, not only of small companies but also of large companies.
“However, that’s not enough.” Because we have to change the culture and behavior of people. He gave a practical example of cars. While it is fascinating to have automobiles that go from 0 to 100 in 4 seconds, is that feature something people really use? That’s what people crave and buy, but do they really need it? Will it ruin their lives if it takes them a few seconds longer?
“Maybe people should brag about how slow their car is or that it takes 20 seconds to go from 0 to 100”, because it is indeed more efficient than those superfast cars.
I agree that this is a very specific example and there would be plenty of people on the other side of the argument. But I still believe the time we are living in to be a time to re-think what we really need and should care for. And more importantly, what we should design.
When I took this fresh line of thought to my colleagues at my internship company the next hour, it was welcomed with a healthy discussion. Jiaji Zhao (also IDE IPD graduate) offered his perspective that if industrial designers wouldn’t do their jobs, someone else would do it. And then, we’ll have badly designed products, services, and solutions. Why give away the opportunity of making a difference when we have the ability to do so? This brought us to what IPD majorly focuses on – products and projects that have the possibility of creating real value and making an impact on people’s lives. And that is what I love most about the master course, the quintessence in everything we do.
The 15th day of November was crucial for me as an alignment of my north, reassurance that what I’m working towards and what I’m studying make absolute sense, and I will be ever so grateful to Don Norman and IDE for the same.
Surprises, challenges and learnings at IDE
Regina Morán | April 2020
For this article, I did a small questionnaire among students at IDE. I collected the answers from students of the three masters at IDE. The aim of this article is to provide you with some tips based on our own experience as students at TU Delft. In the following paragraphs, I share the ones I considered the most interesting and useful. Students answered three main questions; what has been the most surprising aspect of the faculty, what has been the most challenging moment during their studies, and which has been their main learning during their master. Besides, I also add my personal opinion based on my experience.
What has been the most surprising aspect of the faculty?
I would say, for me, the most surprising thing has been the Delft Design Labs. Our faculty has 10 different labs related to healthcare, cities, museums, entrepreneurship, food, among others. The labs are collaborations between different stakeholders, connecting design science and innovation. Recently, I interviewed a master student who is part of the Critical Alarms Lab, the interview was really interesting. She told me the lab was mentioned at the New York Times last July! You can take a look at the article here.
One student from SPD answered ‘the student support at the university [referring to the service desk]’. The people at the service desk are quite helpful. They can help you to book a room; for instance, if you have a team session or a workshop. Also, you can ask for some equipment like a video camera or voice recorder for your projects. Another student referred to the Wednesdays at ID Kafee. Every Wednesday, you can have some beers with your friends at the student bar, it is a nice place to meet new people, talk to some classmates or even professors. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a nice evening at ID Kafee!
What has been the most challenging moment during your master?
If you come from a different country, it is most likely, that the way of working and the system in the Netherlands is slightly different from your home country. A student from IPD mentioned that it is challenging to adapt to the ‘way of doing things here’. For instance, being self-disciplined without having someone telling you to get things done. You need to organize yourself to be able to manage the workload. Another one could be, the grading system, which might be different from your home country. You might not be aware of those things at the beginning and for me, that was a bit challenging, and sometimes stressful. Therefore, I have some tips that can help you cope with stress.
Of course, the first thing is to plan in advance. However, it is sometimes challenging to keep the rhythm. If you are struggling with the workload, talk to someone. In my case, I have always discussed with my teammates, that is the good part of working with teams. You can support each other and make things work for everyone. You can also talk to your friends, coaches or professors. Besides, the faculty has Academic counsellors, that you can talk to (everything that you discuss with them is confidential) and an e-health webpage with some practical tips.
Which has been your main learning during the master?
Of course, we all have learned valuable things in our masters. However, almost all the respondents agreed that some of the biggest learnings had been personal. An IPD student mentioned ‘I have learned a lot about myself’. You get to know yourself and to be yourself around others. You meet people that accept you by who you are. You discover how capable you are and learn to detect those things or activities that you enjoy the most and that gives you energy. I have learned that is up to me how much I enjoy my master and how much I learn. To have the best experience at TU Delft, I suggest you practice a sport, meet people during Wednesdays, make new friends in the faculty, and all these will make you feel at home!
The master goes by so fast, so a final tip from a DfI student, ‘learn as much as you can, in the end, the biggest benefits are for you’.
Living in Delft
Life beyond the faculty
Aman Dalal | April 2020
An important consideration, especially when you are going abroad to study, is the location of your university. Situated in the historic city of Delft, doing a master at IDE comes with the opportunity of having an excellent lifestyle outside of academics.
If we zoom out on the map a bit, Delft is a very approachable city in the Netherlands. It lies in the province Zuid Holland in the vicinity of cities like The Hague (political capital), Rotterdam (European hub), Gouda (popular for its cheese). These places can be reached in very short train rides or if you fancy, bike rides along scenic routes. The Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is only 40 minutes in the train and the capital, Amsterdam, just a bit further North. The central location of Delft is handy if you are looking forward to exploring what the Netherlands has to offer in terms of traveling.
From the outside, Delft is quite a touristy destination, even for the Dutch. It is most famous for its Delftse Blauw (Delft Blue) ceramics (and factory) and its history attached with the father of the nation, Willem van Oranje. In the city center, it is usual to find people exploring the local market, souvenir shops, and enjoying the iconic view from the top of the new church or looking at the fascinating leaning tower of the old church. You can also find them marveling at the remarkable Oostport (Eastern Gate) or one of Delft’s many renowned museums spread throughout the city. Delft is home to just over a hundred thousand people out of which almost 25% are TU students. This makes the city very student-friendly and internationally oriented.
From the inside, Delft can be a satisfyingly peaceful place to live in. It is calm when you need it to be but always welcomes you to go out for events such as museum days, light festivals, music performances, and much more. From a fully-equipped sports center (X TU Delft) to a fantastic university library, you are never too far from what you want to do. A beautiful lake just a short bike ride away from the faculty is the favorite destination among students for barbecues, frisbee, or just a relaxing walk when the sun is out. Perfectly suited for (international) students, every person I’ve ever met in Delft speaks commendable English.
Having been here for over 1.5 years, I can say that Delft is the coziest city I have lived in! My favourite characteristic of the city is its snug size. I like to call it a ‘walking city’ and I love being able to just step out and walk to the university, market, train station, sports center, library, or a café in the city center within minutes. If you live in a less central location, you can still approach all these places by bike in a similar amount of time! Personally, I couldn’t be happier with the biking infrastructure of the country. I am a cycling enthusiast and for people like me, the Netherlands is what one might call ‘heaven’. I crave long rides especially on weekends with good weather. A ride to Scheveningen (famous beach in The Hague) or along the countryside on the way to Zoetermeer has become my tradition for Saturday mornings.
Given all of the above, I reckon Delft as a very exciting place to live as a student. However, it wouldn’t be fair if I give you every detail. I can assure you that there is plenty to explore and a memorable student life awaits you in the Netherlands.
IPD Courses in Brief: an overview of what you’ll study
Aman Dalal | November 2019
This article will give you a clear idea of what the master course encapsulates and what you can expect in your 2-year study. The overview is written from my (student) perspective and experience and detailed information can always be found on StudieGids by going to the Programs section.
Advanced Concept Design (year 1, fall semester):
A project-based course where you work with a company, governmental or social organization (i.e. your client) on a given brief to develop concepts of possible solutions. The first quarter is focused on research and is done with a group of 4-5 students guided by a coach and several experts. The second quarter is primarily individual and involves plenty of ideation, definition, client persuasion, user testing, and some prototyping. The course is composed of sub-courses that have their own lectures and assignments which help move the project further.
Advanced Embodiment Design (year 1, spring semester):
Similar in style to ACD, AED is also a project with a client and the course itself is divided into expertise areas. Both the quarters of this course are group work guided by a coach. Starting from a concept, reaching at least a functional prototype is the goal of every project. The setting of this project is quite similar to a consultancy or in-house design team with added learning attributes.
Other courses (year 1):
Year 1 has still more courses that broaden your knowledge and also let you interact with a lot of students and teachers. One of the courses helps you draw a path for your master program and graduation project, while another helps you deepen your theoretical knowledge about design methodology. A few other courses are over specific topics like sustainability and product innovation. You will also follow a year-long course wherein you attend 14 workshops on topics in the vicinity of design from experts within or outside the faculty.
Moreover, you might also be asked or suggested to follow adaptation courses on drawing, electronics, and ergonomics if you haven’t had such topics in your previous education.
Electives (3rd semester):
This is undoubtedly the most flexible semester of your master program. For both the quarters, you have a multitude of electives offered by our faculty to choose from. The range of their topics is too wide to list in this article. More information can be found on the IDE MSc Electives page.
As a part of your electives, you have the opportunity to do an internship for either 10 weeks full-time or 20 weeks part-time. This can be at a start-up, established company, or organization within or outside The Netherlands. The internship is not only an excellent way to gain industrial experience but also earn 15 ECs to contribute to your electives.
Apart from the internship, you are allowed to take courses outside the faculty as well. The most popular among international students are the Dutch language courses offered by the faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management.
Graduation project (4th semester)
The graduation project is the final step of your master and earns you the closing 30 ECs you require to graduate. There are endless possibilities for the kinds of graduation projects you can do. You can choose to do this project at the faculty or a company of your choice. You will be guided by a chair (supervisor) and mentor from IDE regardless of where you do it. Most students choose to do this project with a subject that they really care about or are wanting to work with in the future. However, you are free to explore new ideas, innovations, and contribute to the research.
Watch the movie, which shows the graduation projects of three (international) students.
To sum this up, I believe the master course to have struck the perfect balance between being structured and flexible, organized yet with plenty of freedom. With this, I wish you the best for fruitful master studies at IDE.
This is Design Doing
Regina Morán | January 2020
During the first year of my master, I was surprised that in the MSc courses we were already working for companies. One of my first projects was for KLM. Then, I learned about the collaboration between TU Delft and KLM called Design Doing. The aim is to connect employees, researchers and students fostering a culture of design throughout the company. As a student, it is a great opportunity to see the innovation possibilities to design and build design-driven organizations!
In the project I did for KLM, I worked with three classmates. The assignment was to design a solution to improve the experience of passengers during the flight. We worked during one quarter on the project and had the opportunity to visit the Crew Center and interview some Cabin Attendants. Then, we did the validation of our project on a real plane at TU Delft! Finally, we presented our results at the KLM Headquarters and our project was selected as the best project by the jury from KLM.
Later, I found out that we were not the only ones working for KLM. The collaboration between TU Delft and KLM involves employees, researchers and students, it is called Design Doing. The aim is to deliver knowledge to KLM and have a long-lasting impact on their customers and employees by fostering a culture of design throughout the company. At the same time, TU Delft is able to research and educate students in the KLM practice to learn about the impact of design. This collaboration is present in multiple ways; for example, there is a design elective called X-Lab and there are graduation and internship opportunities you can get to know during the ‘meet and match’ events. Also, some IDE Alumni have being hired at KLM.
Currently, I am part of the Design Doing collaboration because I am working as a student assistant in the Design Doing team, formed by KLM’ers and TU Delft employees. I have had the opportunity to experience and learned about the value of Design Doing. Me and other student assistants were present at the celebration of KLM for their 100 anniversary and at the Dutch Design Week (see Image 1) in a stand where we invited people to design the future of flying. Therefore, Design Doing has external recognition and also has an impact outside TU Delft and KLM. I also helped organize a workshop for students (in the MSc course IDE Academy) where around 60 students went to the KLM Headquarters for a design sprint on three different challenges.
Giulia (student assistant for X-lab) at the Dutch Design Week
I am happy to see how design is present in organizations and to see what the value of designers could be in a big organization as KLM; for example, by improving the experience of passengers or suggesting how to transform KLM into a sustainable company. As a student, it is a great opportunity to see the innovation possibilities to design and build design-driven organizations!
IPD FAQ: Common Questions from International Students
Aman Dalal | January 2020
The faculty of IDE has a long-distance mentor programme. Admitted international MSc applicants preparing for coming to Delft are brought into contact with current MSc students in the same programme. Being a long-distance mentor, I often get questions about IPD from international students. They are usually about what they can expect from the master course and how to prepare the best for it. Here I have summed up the most common ones that can help every future student or applicant understand the curriculum better.
1) How is the structure of the 2-year master?
The 2 years are clearly divided into 4 semesters. Each semester is further divided into 2 quarters of 10 weeks each. The 1st and 2nd semesters consist of compulsory IPD courses, the 3rd semester is specially dedicated to electives, and the 4th semester is for your graduation project. Each semester accounts for 30 ECs, adding up to the 120 EC master program.
More information about the course structure can be found in my other article, Courses in brief.
2) What is the nature of courses are offered?
Plenty of courses offered in IPD are project-based. Rather than being dry and theoretical, they are practical, involve teamwork and also clients. This is especially true for the first year courses composed of concept and embodiment design projects.
A lot of mandatory as well as optional IDE courses include working in student groups. Knowledge expansion is supported by lectures, workshops, and discussions with experts from the faculty. In most courses, the combination of all these aspects makes sure that students gain theoretical knowledge while also applying it practically.
3) How much freedom do students have in choosing courses?
The courses in the first year are mandatory and your time-table is already defined. You are still free to choose your preferences for the projects you wish to work on within these courses.
The 3rd semester electives (30 ECs) are totally up to you to select. You may opt for pure IPD-related courses or broaden your knowledge by pursuing courses related to other topics. These topics are extensive ranging from design drawing to the business of design consultancies, from using machine learning and electronics for prototyping to in-house team projects with companies. It is also possible to follow courses outside the IDE faculty including Dutch language courses.
The 4th semester graduation project is also free for you to determine. You can choose to work on a topic of your interest at IDE or outside at a company. With all these options in both years, you are quite independent to shape your master the way you want.
4) What do you like the best about the IPD curriculum?
In my opinion, the fact that the courses are made to suit real-life design work is the largest benefit of studying at IDE. The 2 major first-year courses are designed such that students are consulting for real clients (companies or organizations). This quickly teaches you about the interests of stakeholders, client communication, presentations, both methodical and pragmatic approach to design among countless other things that are useful in working outside the faculty. This kind of learning with an experiential component is hugely favourable in developing both your soft and hard design skills, and is what I have gained the most from.
5) How to best prepare before starting the 1st semester?
Reading this FAQ (and other articles) and getting a general idea of what you will do in the 2 years is a good starting point. This way you would know what to expect and not too many things will catch you off guard.
It will be useful to skim through the descriptions of the courses you will study. You can do this on StudieGids by using the Program section.
Another good way to be ready for studying at IDE is to read the celebrated Delft Design Guide. It is a neat reference guide that speaks volumes about the distinguished methodical approach to design at Delft. It will not only be beneficial for your knowledge but also help you quickly adapt to the terminology that is used often here by teachers and students alike.
Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to brush up your sketching, CAD, rendering, and Adobe skills, especially what you haven’t been practicing since a while. You’ll probably use all these at some point in your 1st year and it can only help to be quick at them.
Don’t forget to take some time out to be with your family and enjoy the last weeks at home before you head out for your exciting new journey in Delft.
Why choose the Medisign Specialization?
Regina Morán | November 2019
The Medisign Specialization is meant to form students capable of designing new products and services that answer to current needs and are also future-proof. To be part of the Medisign Specialization, you should be enrolled in one of the masters of the faculty; Integrated Product Design (IPD), Design for Interaction (DfI) or Strategic Product Design (SPD). Among the possibilities, TU Delft has three Design Labs related to healthcare; CardioLab, Critical Alarms Lab and End of Life. Each Design Lab works with different organizations and it is a good opportunity to get deeper into a topic of your preference through a research project. Design in healthcare is expanding worldwide, by choosing the Medisign Specialization you can contribute to improve the healthcare sector.
The healthcare sector is facing many challenges nowadays, due to global development and societal changes (see Medisign Brochure). Professionals with a creative background are needed to design the future of healthcare. The Medisign Specialization is meant to form students capable of designing new products and services that answer to current needs and are also future-proof. It is designed for master students from Integrated Product Design (IPD), Design for Interaction (DfI) and Strategic Product Design (SPD)* that would like to make a difference in the healthcare sector.
To be part of the Medisign Specialization, you should be enrolled in one of the masters previously mentioned. You do not need to apply for the specialization on advance, you may choose to do it when you have already begun with your studies. One of your projects during your first year of master should be related to healthcare. For example, I am currently doing a project on Value-Based Healthcare in the course of SPD Research (see Picture 1). Then, 9 ECTS of your electives should be focussed on medisign courses; there are different options, like Capita Selecta Medisign, Complex Ergonomics for Complex Systems, Biomechanics, among others. Finally, your graduation project should also be related to healthcare, you can see some projects in the Medisign webpage.
Interviewing a medisign professional
If you are willing to learn more, there are some options beyond the courses. TU Delft has three Design Labs related to healthcare. The three of them work with different organizations and it is a good opportunity to get deeper into a topic of your preference through a research project. The first is the CardioLab, they work collaboratively to explore how smart technologies can reduce cardiovascular diseases. The second is the Critical Alarms Lab (CAL), which focusses on sound in healthcare to shape the future of alarms and soundscapes. And the third one is the End of Life Lab which explores how design could help improve the quality of life in its last stage. If you want to be part of any of these Labs you can contact them to define how could you contribute to the project.
Design in healthcare is expanding worldwide. If you wonder about future possibilities after graduation, here are some examples. In the Netherlands, a well-known company were designers are collaborating is Philips, you can take a look at Philips Design. For smaller organizations, you can check MEDD or Vilans, where some IDE alumni have worked. There are also opportunities in other countries in Europe, some examples are Scope in Finland and The Care Lab in Spain. In case that, there is nothing related to Medisign in your country and you wonder if it would be worth it, I bet it will. You can always take the lead and contribute to improve the healthcare sector.
I final tip would be to talk to people and solve your doubts to enrol in the Medisign Specialization when you have started your MSc in Delft. More information is shared during the Manage Your Master days, at the beginning of the first and the second semester. Also, you can join the Medisign Community on Facebook.
Internship Opportunities: An explorative experience
Aman Dalal | November 2019
Internships are a great way to learn and explore your interests while you are still pursuing your master studies. They take you out to the real world, give insights on how things work there, and help build yourself up as a designer. While gaining academic knowledge is one thing, applying this knowledge to an industrial project is a whole different aspect and that is where internships come in handy with the offer of a new perspective without the pressure of making a long term commitment.
Fortunately, at IDE we are allowed to carry out an internship not only in our own time, but are also awarded 15 ECs for it in the elective semester (3rd semester of the master program).
You can do an internship in the elective semester itself, but another nice option is to start an internship in the summer after your 1st year and finish it earlier. The duration should be either 10 weeks (full time) or 20 weeks (part time) to earn the ECs. The internship is bound to make it easier for you to satisfy your EC requirements as it already accounts for half of the elective semester ECs.
Firstly, you must decide where you would like to do an internship. You can choose to do it in the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world. It is naturally more straightforward to find an internship in the Netherlands as you would be living here, but that shouldn’t restrict you from opportunities abroad.
Secondly, you should think about the kind of a company you would like to intern for. You can map this to your future career and point in that direction or might want to explore a totally new field that you are passionate about. Students generally intern at design consultancies, start-ups, in-house design teams of large corporates, government agencies, etc.
Finally, as you can imagine, finding an internship that fits you is a significant task in itself. At IDE we have several options to help you with it.
The first being the IDE Business Fair which is held in March every year with more than 40 visiting companies and opportunities to get speed-dates as well as talk to employees at their respective stalls. This is an opportunity that should not be missed if you are looking for an internship.
Another major event is De Delftse Bedrijvendagen in February-March in which over 150 companies from all over the country visit to seek interns and employees over the span of a few days. This is not only a great opportunity to network with a wide variety of people but also a place to find an internship in a corporate environment or at a multi-disciplinary company.
The opportunities are not limited to these events but extend to all the places where you can network with executives. This includes lunch lectures and workshops by companies at IDE, open days, YES!Delft events, and even LinkedIn.
Hopefully, with this article gave you enough insight about the opportunities and importance of internships along with your study program. For further details, you can refer to the internship manual on the TU Delft website which provides a complete picture.
Regina Morán | April 2019
The Honours Programme gives you the opportunity to focus on a project of your interest and to take an extra challenge beyond the regular courses. It is an opportunity to see your own capabilities and what you need to improve. You get to manage your time and your workload to move forward with your project. You work with a coach that guides you during the project and you get to know other students that are part of the programme. It is an opportunity to put in an extra effort and challenge yourself.
Before coming to the Netherlands to study my master, I worked at different companies. My last job was supposed to be “cool”; a small innovation consultancy with young people, flexible schedule and our office located in WeWork (co-working space). Despite all those benefits, my colleagues were always late to every meeting, never delivered on time and with few hours of sleep daily. I wondered why they didn’t pay attention to their lives?
When I arrived at TU Delft, during the first days of the master, we had some Manage your Master days. There are three days at the beginning of semester 1 and 2, to get to know all the possibilities we have in the faculty. In one of those lectures, I heard about the Honours Programme at the university. In the programme, you get the possibility to work on a topic of your choice. In my case, I knew right away I wanted to do a project focused on well-being in organizations.
I knew the Honours Programme was about doing an extra project beyond the regular courses, but I wanted to know more. I joined the meeting announced during the Manage your Master days and I read the material available on the web page. After the session, I decided to enrol. I went to a coaching session to receive some guidance for my motivation letter and to define the scope of my topic. Finally, I sent the documents according to the deadlines.
Now I am part of the Honours Programme. I decided to enroll because it is challenging, and it is a way of pushing myself to give something extra during my master. It is a good opportunity to see what my capabilities are and what I need to improve. I need to be good at managing my time and workload. I need to be responsible and define work days to move forward with my project. Besides the personal project, I am also taking the course of Critical Reflection on Technology, which consists of discussion sessions that have helped me learn ways of argumentation. Closer to finishing my project, I will organize a symposium to share my project with other students.
Benefits of being part of the Honours Programme
The benefits of being part of the programme above are that I am coached by a professor that has experience in the field and is guiding me during my project. I have also met other students that are part of the programme, the idea is that we create a community and support each other. And of course, I am doing my research on how co-design could increase well-being in organizations. So, if you have a personal interest and are willing to put in an extra effort in your master, challenge yourself and join the Honours Programme!
Regina Morán, March 2019
The faculty of IDE at TU Delft is the largest design research institute in the world with 100 design researchers and 120 PhDs. I interviewed professor Pieter Jan Stappers, director of Research, to know more about it. According to Professor Stappers, “there are plenty of opportunities to find and discover people with research expertise on a particular topic”. In general, the faculty focuses on three societal challenges, sustainability, health and mobility. So, if you are willing to learn more about design research, TU Delft is the right place for you!
This year, during the first days of the semester (Manage your Master days), we had a Research Day. For me, it was enriching to get to know the research possibilities we have in the faculty. For this reason, I decided to interview Professor Pieter Jan Stappers, director of Research at IDE, to share with you the options we have at TU Delft. Here is a summary of what he shared with me:
During the research day, you mentioned that TU Delft is the largest design research institute. In which sense it is the largest?
“We have 100 design researchers doing research that particularly supports design or creates new ways of doing design. Other leading design schools in the world, have 20 or 60 students. Also, at the faculty of IDE we have 120 PhD students who do research, so if you are looking for a particular piece of expertise we have a lot. And I hear often from visiting researchers that sometimes come for an exchange; "Oh my God! for every topic you have an expert. When I go back to my own school we have six researchers." They cannot carry all the expertise. So, I think that is unique about Delft. We have so many different approaches, many different ways of working.”
You also mentioned that the main themes of the faculty are health, sustainability, and mobility. Why did you decide to focus on those 3 themes?
“There are three societal challenges that we are focusing on, sustainability, health and mobility. Those are three issues that are considered urgent in the United Nations, Europe, and the Netherlands. We also have disciplinary perspectives. Those are the perspectives of the departments according to the backgrounds of the people (psychology, sociology, technology, etc.). We say designers bring together the multidisciplinary perspectives of people, technology and organizations; but health, sustainability and mobility are what people ask for. The challenges are the market pull and the other three are the disciplinary push with the knowledge from different areas. The pull is what society needs. (Figure 1)”.
What do students need to do or who do they need to approach in case they want to know more?
In the master program, there are plenty of opportunities to find and discover people with research expertise. Number one, gossip; talk to other students. Probably they have met someone in a course and they know about a specific topic. Of course, there is the website (IDE Research) and the advertisements that we have on the wall. Also, one of the places where you can find some enthusiastic group of researchers is in the Delft Design Labs. I would suggest students to take a look at the opportunities that are already there in the courses. Many of the projects have research components and have opportunities to get in contact with researchers and experts who know a lot of things that might be a connection for them.
I hope this article gives you an overview of the research possibilities in the faculty. If you are willing to learn more about design research, TU Delft is the right place for you!
Study Associations: The Sweet Spot
Marianne Langrand | April 2019
Delft might seem like a small town, but you will be surprised when you discover all the activities that you can do in and out of the University. I assure you that you won’t even have the time to do everything you want, you will have to choose from all the great opportunities there are! There are many possibilities to complement your studies with extracurricular activities, like study associations, research projects, part-time jobs… you name it. But how do you choose?
Do your research to learn about all the possibilities, and choose what you want to do. Talk to people, research online, talk to academic counselors, and ask your teachers. Don’t worry too much about your final choices, since every experience will be very valuable during your time in Delft.
During my studies here I’ve tried to find a balance between academic and non-academic activities that will be positive for both my professional and personal growth. Joining study associations has offered me the sweet spot.
I am part of the Latin American Association of Delft (LATITUD) as Media Manager. I initially joined because I wanted to improve my graphic design and marketing skills, as well as acquire soft skills that my Master courses don’t offer me. However I discovered much more than just that. I have met people from everywhere around the world who are looking for every opportunity there is to learn and contribute.
There are many different types of associations that you can join: Sports & culture associations, international associations, Dutch associations, and the study associations of your faculty.
The ID Study Association has various committees that you can join for a semester or a year, as well as many activities in which you can participate. There is also one study association for every Master programme: Futury (Integrated Product Design), Infuse (Design for Interaction), and Studio 360 (Strategic Product Design).
These committees that are part of the faculty are a great opportunity to complement your studies. It is a chance to organize and participate cases in companies, be in contact with different companies, and get different perspectives of what you want for your professional future. This was something I took with me after being in the organizing team of Cases on Tour (one of the committees).
What I find most special about being part of a study association is that you will find yourself in a highly proactive environment, with people who are there because they want to, and are taking all the opportunities they find to learn, discover new things, and meet new people. You have a chance to share your own ideas, passions and goals with other people, and go after them together!
Aman Dalal | February 2019
The faculty of Industrial Design Engineering has a lot to offer in the master courses. However, some of us like to push for the extra mile and engage in pursuits outside academia. If you’re such a person, have an entrepreneurial mindset, or just want to experience the start-up culture in Delft and get a feel for how everything works, say yes to YES!Delft.
As lively as the name sounds, YES!Delft is TU Delft’s own start-up incubator with over 70 exciting and energetic companies founded by graduates with big ideas. The facilities, events, investors, associations, and innovation make YES!Delft a leading tech-incubator not only in the Netherlands, but in Europe.
YES!Delft has a diverse portfolio of companies that ranges from Robotics to Blockchain, from MedTech to Aviation and is by far the largest physical tech-startup community in the country. It is likely that you would find multiple companies here working in an area of your interest.
Since 2005, YES!Delft has helped over 200 companies grow their ideas and businesses from paper to revenue. They not only provide office spaces, prototyping labs, conference rooms etc. but also guide start-ups along their way up with coaches, mentors, investors, and potential partners.
Building connections during your graduate studies is an important asset that could be very valuable for your future and YES!Delft is a perfect place to start working on it. Start-up events, discovery days, coaching events, and a lot more takes place on a weekly basis to help companies learn, network, and grow. It is fantastic place to find an internship during the break or if you have a great idea, to build your own company after you graduate.
The best part is, all this wonderful innovation is taking place right in our campus, only a 10-minute bike ride from the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering! For more information about the amazing work being done there, head over to yesdelft.com or watch this video:
Our Creative Environment
Marianne Langrand | November 2018
The IO (Industrieel Ontwerpen - Industrial Design Engineering) faculty is the place to get inspired, have fun, and develop your design projects. It is a big open space full of design students working all around in teams or by themselves.
The IO faculty was designed for creative minds; we have the freedom to work and play wherever and however we want. The experience of working here is really special for design students because it offers a broad variety of open and closed spaces to get the best designer out of us.
Depending on our mood and the type of work we have to do, we might have changing needs related to the creative environment.
Designers need noise, silence, music, order,
chaos, colors, post-its, people, whiteboards,
conversations, inspiration, feedback, light,
nature, space, coffee, laughter, stillness,
inspiration, and movement.
There is a creative flow going on at all times at IDE. In this friendly atmosphere it is all about sharing, and you can be a part of everyone’s work. You can see what other design students are working on, test prototypes, and give and receive feedback. However if you need to focus, you can also find your ideal working spot and spend the whole day in your own bubble.
Here is an overview of my favourite spots inside our beloved faculty.
Further recommendations: If you need to work on a paper or study, you can go to the Library, which is just 5 minutes away by foot from our faculty. There is also a very warm atmosphere in the Pulse building next to our faculty.
The IO faculty thinks about you and your creative needs. The space adapts to you and not the other way around. You will find many different corners and spots to get inspired, do creative play or academic work, and even rest. It is a place to develop your creative self and share with your designer friends.
Regina Morán, December 2018
The Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering is formed by students all over the world. We all come from different backgrounds and the way in which we were taught at our previous university might be different from the way of teaching at TU Delft. Here at the university, you will learn by experiencing and by putting your knowledge into practice. It is your decision how involved you want to get in every project. I am positive that in the past months at TU Delft I have been able to learn more than I could have imagined.
The students at the IDE (Industrial Design Engineering) faculty come from different backgrounds. A high number studied their bachelor in Delft, but there are other ones who studied in Eindhoven or other cities in the Netherlands. Or as it is my case, I traveled all the way from Mexico to come to study in Delft. I have classmates from Indonesia, Colombia, India, Denmark, Greece, and many other countries. Currently, 38% of the students in the MSc programmes are international. If you are curious to check the nationalities in the faculty from previous years, you can check the Student Population in TU Delft.
So, why is it relevant that we all have different backgrounds? I think that the way of learning and the way we have been taught in our previous university might be different from the way of teaching at TU Delft. How I call the way of teaching in the faculty is “Experiential learning”, you need to put all your knowledge into practice and experience it. You will have an assigned project and you will have some lectures that will help you prepare for the case, but you won't get a guide for how to do things. You need to try, to dare, and to suggest innovative solutions. During my first two quarters, I have already worked in projects for important companies such as Vanderlande and KLM; and it has been very enriching.
To help you a bit with your first projects, I have some tips for you. Whenever you go to a lecture you need to be ready, meaning that you should read the Lecture Manual on advanced, and probably there will be a paper to read before the lecture (check Brightspace; ask a friend if you don't know how to use it). Professors provide the material that you need, like slides, papers, books, and references. Make the best use of those documents, they will help you as tips or guidelines for your projects. You will have constant sessions with your coaches; be prepared for every session, write down your main concerns, they are always willing to help. A coach suggested us, that we should always choose three main questions to guide the conversation. In case you need extra help, you can ask them for extra coaching sessions. Also, learn from your classmates, we organized some sessions with other teams to share what everyone had been doing, and it was useful to see different approaches to the same problem. Working in teams is also very common in the faculty (Picture 1), so if you want to know more about it you can read the story about <link io studeren masteropleidingen msc-design-for-interaction experiences study-activities>Studying in a Dutch environment.
What I can tell you about the way of teaching at TU Delft is that it is very different from what I was used to, back at home. Despite the differences, I am positive that in the past months I have been able to learn more than I could have imagined. It is just that by putting your knowledge into practice you personally experience each stage of your project, and experience is not a thing that books can teach you. I am also impressed by how much do the coaches know, so I am trying to read all the papers that they suggest and dive a bit more into the topics I am interested in. A good thing about studying a master at TU Delft is that you can shape it the way you want and focus on the topics you like the most. So my suggestion would be, enjoy and get ready to learn as much as you want!
An Introduction to the Language
Aman Dalal | December 2018
Do you really need to learn Dutch to live in Delft? The opinion shared by most students is, “Not at all. Everyone here speaks English so well!”
While that is very true, some of us have a different mindset. If you’ve decided to hop on for a two year long journey to the Netherlands, learning some survival Dutch couldn’t harm. I will take you through what Dutch looks like. Shall we beginnen?
(That’s not a typo. Quite naturally, beginnen means to begin. Many Dutch words are very similar to their English counterparts and if you speak the latter, it wouldn’t take long to understand the former.)
To keep the pronunciations simple for now, replace every Dutch ‘j’ with an English ‘y’ and every Dutch ‘g’ with an English ‘kkkhhh’. Wait. That’s not like anything in English, you say. Well, yes, you might have to produce a few unfamiliar sounds and really work your throat out if you want to speak Dutch!
In our pursuit to get a feel of the language, let’s go on a short trip to the supermarket or de supermarkt.
Welkom – The supermarkt welcomes you inside!
Vruchten – Did you come here looking for fruits?
Soep – Why not also make some soup tonight because it is getting pretty koud (cold) outside.
Groenten – For your soep, you definitely need to buy some vegetables. Groenten literally comes from groen which means green.
Bon? – Quickly say ja (yes) or nee (no)! At the check-out counter, the cashier will put up this question and stare you in the eyes and you’ll be wondering if you did something terribly wrong. No, you didn’t, but would you like the receipt?
Alsjeblieft – If you said yes, you’ll be greeted with your receipt, a smile, and this incredibly pleasant sounding word. It means here you go but is also a common replacement for please.
Dank je wel – When you get the receipt, this is the right way to say thank you.
Fijne avond – Don’t forget to wish the cashier lady a fine evening before you depart.
Uitgang – Looking for the exit? Just look for the uitgang. Literally, uit means out and ga means to go. Like this, many Dutch words match their English counterparts but are spelt and pronounced slightly differently.
Let op! – Going back home? Watch out! A bike could hit you from any direction.
Hope you enjoyed our little trip. Though Dutch is known to be a difficult language to learn, I find the basics easy to grasp because of its similarity to English.
To start with, Duolingo and LearnDutch.org are great resources to get a grip on to the feeling of the language, the basic phrases, pronunciations, and some vocabulary. Doing this for a month before coming to Delft enabled me to order a coffee and ask for directions in Dutch on my first day here!
If you’re interested to immerse yourself in the language even further, joining the free Dutch courses offered by the TPM faculty would be a good idea. Until then, tot ziens!