MSc thesis examples

Rik Oomes - Brand Development in technical start-ups

Brand Development in technical start-ups

This integrated master thesis presents the outcomes of a conducted research to obtain a double master degree of the masters Strategic Product Design and Science Communication. This research focused on brand development in technical start-ups before product launch. Both a practical and a theoretical study has been conducted, which resulted in a new brand and market introduction plan for the technical start-up Magic Mitad and a brand identity development tool for technical start-ups, the Brand-ID tool. A physical tool in the form of a booklet that guides entrepreneurs in the creation of a brand identity until the design of a logo. Read more.

Eline Rietberg - Resilience in Information Centric Networks and the Analogy with...

Resilience in Information Centric Networks and the Analogy with Human Collaborative Networks

In this thesis, we look into two different researches with the same basis; information centric networking. Enhanced resilience is one of the often mentioned advantages of this paradigm shift in internet networks. However, this resilience is not quantified in literature so far. In this thesis the information resilience of hierarchical ICN topologies is analytically approached, allowing us to quantify the enhanced information resilience. Furthermore, understanding information sharing in human collaborative networks is shown to be very complex. The caching mechanisms in ICN are very suitable for building up an analogy with human collaborative networks, to increase the understanding of information sharing in human collaborative networks. We build up the analogy, and investigate the notion of resilience in a human collaborative network through 3 consecutive experiments. The aim of this part of the research is to enhance insights in human collaborative networks from a cybernatic point of view. Read more.

Emma Slot - An approach for businesses to increase customer's willingness to share...

An approach for businesses to increase customer's willingness to share personal information online

Double degree of Master of Science in Science Communication & Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis, and Management / SEPAM: Technology Policy and Management / Department: Engineering, Systems and Services + SEC: Applied Physics / Department: Science Communication - In the era of digital communication, the relationship between businesses and customers has changed. Businesses provide online personalized services within their ecosystem based on customer data, but at the same time, customers are reluctant to share personal information. In this article, an online trust building tool is proposed to increase customer’s willingness to share information. A conceptual model is constructed on the relationship between customers sharing information in an online context and businesses providing online personalized services. Customer conditions for information sharing from the conceptual model are validated by a survey under a selection of Transavia airlines’ customers. After conducting a principal component and linear regression analysis, it is found that these customers do not necessarily find monetary or non-monetary benefits the most important conditions for online sharing information. Moreover, gender and age do not have influence. The factor that appears most important for sharing information relates to trust. Customers with a higher general trust and higher institutional trust, are willing to share more personal information with the company. Therefore, literature on trust building is reviewed and four trust building principles are constructed: experience, security, transparency, and trusted sources. For each of the principles, constructs are identified in literature and validated by exploratory customer interviews. The list of constructs is the input for a trust building tool for companies to increase their online trustworthiness. The tool is a basis for a discussion with businesses. These discussions can create insights in how a business can become more trustworthy in the eyes of the customer, and can as a result lead to gaining more customer information. Read more.

Dewi Wesselman - Real time communication in shipbuilding

Real time communication in shipbuilding

This integrated master thesis presents the outcomes of a research conducted to obtain a double master degree of the masters Strategic Product Design and Science Communication. The research focusses on the communication and collaboration between the engineering and a remote production department in during the ship production phase. A communication process and tool are proposed to improve the collaboration between engineering and production and to create closed feedback loops and shared responsibility fro the quality of the ship. The process focusses on the detection, indication and correction of problems in the ship production phase. Read more.

Marlien Sneller - Facilitating promotive voice for contributing to sustainable innovation

Facilitating promotive voice for contributing to sustainable innovation

Sustainable innovation is essential for companies to stay in competition. The first phase of sustainable innovation is idea generation. Ideas for improvement can come from all employees, among whom employees that operate machines. The problem is that companies that strive for sustainable innovation often do not use the potential of their operators’ ideas for improvement. Therefore, this research aims to gain insight in how companies that strive for sustainable innovation can facilitate operators to display promotive voice. When operators share their ideas for improvement, this is called promotive voice. This leads to the research question: How can changes in the organizational context increase the probability that operators display promotive voice in companies that strive for sustainable innovation? Sub-questions are (i) What stimulates and limits promotive voice, according to literature? (ii) To what extent do operators, team leaders and management at Van Houtum B.V. find sustainability an important motive for improvement? (iii) To what extent do operators at Van Houtum B.V. perceive barriers and stimulants to display promotive voice? (iv) How can Van Houtum B.V. increase the likelihood that operators display promotive voice by changing the organizational context? This research question will be answered for one case company, by performing a design-based research. A theoretical framework is constructed and applied to this case study. An intervention aims to change an element of the organizational context. The effect of this intervention is used to reflect on the theoretical framework. According to the theoretical framework, companies that strive for sustainable innovation can increase the likelihood that operators display promotive voice by influencing a set of individual and contextual constructs, or by influencing how important their employees value different motives for an idea. (A motive for an idea is how important the individual assesses the envisioned outcome of the idea.) At the case company, eight motives for an idea were identified; to make work processes safer, more sustainable, cheaper, cleaner, easier, faster, give more production, or produce products with better quality. According to importance, respondents ranked the motive more sustainable on the third place, out of eight. Besides, operators appeared to experience many barriers and stimulants for promotive voice, of which the greatest barrier was the feeling that their ideas are not heard. An intervention that aimed to reduce this barrier indeed resulted in an increased likelihood that operators display promotive voice, but this effect was limited. According to team leaders, the likelihood that operators display promotive voice had slightly increased, because operators felt more heard. Yet, operators did not notice this change. In conclusion: In theory, there are many starting points for companies to increase the likelihood that operators display promotive voice, but in practice it is not easy to effectively change the organizational context in favor of promotive voice. The revised theoretical framework replaced individual and contextual constructs by critical variables for promotive voice. By validating `being heard' as a critical variable and identifying more critical variables, further research can develop a model that describes the decision of individuals to display promotive voice. Read more.

Nina Bohm - Idea Generation in University Cities

Idea Generation in University Cities

New ideas and innovation are the fuel to the modern knowledge economy. The university has for centuries been part of the innovation system responsible for the development of new ideas. Today, the interdisciplinary character and complexity of societal issues makes that there is a need for new methods to support innovation development at university. This thesis has sought for these methods from two different perspectives: that of the urban design of the university city (Section 1) and that of the learning process of its students (Section 2). Section 1 aims at developing an urban design approach for creating innovation space in the university city by conducting design-based research. Section 2 uses critical reflection as a method to give insight in the integration of design and research in Section 1. Read more.

Christos Tsiourakis - Smart Support: Design and implementation of a man-machine interaction...

Smart Support: Design and implementation of a man-machine interaction to increase group collaboration and decision making for marketers in the energy sector.

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Ferdoos Esrail - Collaborating and communicating across disciplinary boundaries in...

Collaborating and communicating across disciplinary boundaries in Biomedical Engineering

This graduation thesis forms an inquiry into the cross-disciplinary collaborative practice in Biomedical Engineering in the Netherlands. The rationale of this study was provided by Professor Jenny Dankelman (BioMechanical Engineering, TU Delft) who indicated that she would like to gain better understanding of the collaboration process of technical experts and health care experts. Professor Dankelman’s experiences and a literature study showed that cross-disciplinary collaboration is challenging because of diverse group of disciplinary experts with differing perspectives need to develop a common working understanding in their collaborative project. To explore how these challenges took form in cross-disciplinary collaboration in Biomedical Engineering in the Netherlands, we conducted a qualitative case study of a cross-disciplinary project between a technical university and a peripheral hospital (the DORA project). The main goal was to create more awareness within team DORA of the challenges and opportunities of the collaboration process. We used Deanna D. Pennington’s framework of team actualization as a conceptual springboard to empirical investigation. She maintains that effective cross-disciplinary collaboration depends partly on a group’s capacity to value different disciplinary perspectives appropriately and to accommodate those perspectives in a shared research vision that makes full use of the diverse expertise available in the group. Team actualization represents an ideal type of situation in which cross-disciplinary experts can work autonomously but the team is effective because every expert knows how his/her fits in the shared vision that drives the team effort. The main research question of this research project was as follows: To what extent does team actualization enable participants of the DORA project in the collaboration process? To answer this research question we employed a qualitative research strategy and an inductive-deductive approach to data analysis. The concepts constituting team actualization were used as sensitizing concepts in setting up an interview guide for semi-structured interviewing. Sensitizing concepts are often used in qualitative research as springboards to investigate empirical instances. The main research method comprised 9 semi-structured interviews with key participants of the DORA project. These data were complemented by observations of interactions between participants in the DORA project at 11 meetings. We used a thematic analysis to analyze the data. This process was initially inductive of nature, which means that the first interviews were coded using ‘open’ codes that stayed close to the data. These codes were used to set up a ‘closed’ coding framework with which the remaining interviews were coded. The observational notes were used as aid in the interpretation of themes that emerged from the interview data. The findings of this study suggest that team actualization within the context of the DORA project is characterized by the following: •The research vision of the technical university researchers incorporated the interests of the hospital and acted as an important driver of this collaboration. The vision was broadly supported by the team members and seemed to mediate the different perspectives that were present in this collaboration. •The team of researchers and health care professionals had a contact group as the main decision-making organ. The long-standing relationships and familiarity between key members of the contact group had resulted in a firm basis of trust, which manifested itself in informal decision-making based on verbal agreements. •One team member played a crucial role in safeguarding the substantive progress of the collaboration by monitoring research activities in the hospital. In this way she was pivotal to the effectiveness of team DORA’s collaboration process and therefore helped team DORA to become actualized. Based on our findings we want to raise team DORA’s awareness for the following points: •Team DORA is effective in reaching their goals due to the presence of a content manager in the collaboration process. This is potentially a good strategy for effective collaboration because the team does not need to set up a very dense substantive shared vision in which all individual perspectives of team members are incorporated. Then the team should enable one member to be the manager of the collaboration process and explicitly discuss what he or she needs to make the collaboration move forward. •When a content manager is elusive, team members will probably have to build a substantive shared vision for the collaboration to progress. The firm basis of trust can then be used a springboard to a substantive shared vision that integrates different disciplinary perspectives present in the collaboration. •According to the points above, there are two ways for team DORA to expand their network. First, a new actor may be familiar with the common history of interaction and the long-standing relationships of team DORA. The basis of trust of team DORA will probably ensure an easy entry of the new actor into the team. Second, a new actor may be interested to join the collaboration, but not have the proper social connections with team DORA. According to our understanding of the collaborative process of team DORA, this means that the content manager will be the main entry point for the new actor. According to our knowledge, this is the first social scientific study into cross-disciplinary collaboration in Biomedical Engineering in the Netherlands. We hope that this inspires further study of the collaborative practice in this field and we recommend the following topics for future research: • What organizational structured and management styles are required for effective cross-disciplinary collaboration (in terms of reaching intended goals) in Biomedical Engineering? • How do the social relationships between different disciplinary experts in a collaboration affect communication in cross-disciplinary problem solving in Biomedical Engineering? •How do individual differences in framing of the content of a collaboration (research problem, goals etc.) affect communication in cross-disciplinary problem solving in Biomedical Engineering? Read more.

Steven Puylaert - Social desirability and mobility impacts of early forms of automated vehicles

Social desirability and mobility impacts of early forms of automated vehicles

Double degree thesis: Part A: Civil Engineering Part B: Science Communication The first forms of automated vehicles (level 1 and 2) are already available at dealers, and next levels are being developed at this moment (level 3 and up). Literature indicates two development paths for automated vehicles: an autonomous and a cooperative path. Autonomous vehicles only monitor the driving environment, whereas cooperative vehicles also communicate with other vehicles or roadside systems. This thesis consists of two parts: one (part A) researching the mobility impact of these two development paths, the second (part B) develops a method to include the public in decision making around automated vehicles. Part A: Modelling the mobility impacts of automated vehicles Governments are eager to know the impacts that automated vehicles have on mobility. Investment plans and policies can be made with this information. Current macroscopic models that assess the large-scale impacts of automated vehicles are complex, unsuitable for explorations with many uncertainties and are not able to simulate multiple vehicle types. This thesis aims to explore the impacts of early forms of automated vehicles (level 1, 2 and 3) on mobility. To cope with this problem a System Dynamics model (SD-model) is built. This model is based on the structure of the ScenarioExplorer, a model developed by TNO in the 1990s. The SD-model is strongly explorative and does not make use of an explicit road network. The goal of this model is to capture the most important effects of automated vehicles, but not to go into all the details. As the structure is simple and the run time is short, the model can be used to assess different scenarios. In this model the road capacity, value of time and fuel economy effects of automated vehicles are researched. The different levels of automated vehicles are modelled as different user classes in the mode choice, time of day choice and the assignment. This is novel for modelling automated vehicles on a large scale. In the assignment PCU factors depended on the penetration rate are used per vehicle automation class. This PCU makes it possible to translate results of microsimulations easily to large scale models and to simulate mixed traffic. The SD-model is compared to three macroscopic models and historic data and shows similar results. In addition, other tests point out that the model is suitable for explorative studies. Simulations with the SD-model show that due to the benefits automated vehicles bring, they will lead to extra car traffic in all researched scenarios. In the cooperative development path, the travel times on characteristic relations will roughly stay the same due to capacity benefits. In the autonomous development path, the average speeds drop due to less capacity benefits. The model shows that early forms of automated vehicles will not reduce congestion and in most scenarios have a negative effect on mobility. The only benefits early forms of automated vehicles entail are for the drivers, but not for mobility as a whole. Governments should therefore invest in other measures to stimulate the mobility. Due to the increase in car traffic, more emissions are expected. Part B: A more responsible innovation through the use of a constructive dialogue Societal impacts of automated vehicles can be large, not only on mobility, but also on safety, privacy or security. Complicating aspect is that automated vehicles both influence the living environment of the consumers and other road users. Literature indicates that at this moment the public (both user and other road users) are important stakeholders, but are not enough involved in the automated vehicle innovation. Due to this, and other flaws, the automated vehicle innovation cannot be called a responsible innovation. not involving the public constitutes the risk of neglecting their fundamental ethical principles, as their opinions remain unheard. This research aims to develop a method to involve important actors and to translate their ethical principles into starting points for a design of future automated vehicles. The values of four important actor groups (the government, manufacturers, consumers and non-consumers) are investigated. The method aims to be a constructive dialogue method. The value profiles created from the questionnaire show that opinions of the various actors differ. All actors agree that safety is the most important value. Differences are that the government and non-consumer value traffic flow, whereas the car manufacturers value spending time differently and self-determination for the driver. The cooperative path therefore seems attractive for the government and the non-users, whereas the car manufacturers are most likely to be in favour of the autonomous path. The survey shows no preference for one of the two paths from the consumer. The value profiles created from the questionnaire show that opinions of the actors differ. All actors agree that safety is the most important value. Differences are that the government and non-consumer value traffic flow, whereas the car manufacturers value spending time differently and self-determination for the driver. The cooperative path therefore seems attractive for the government and the non-users, whereas the car manufacturers are in favour of the autonomous path. The survey shows no preference for one of the two paths for the consumer. To create a common value profile a dialogue is needed, this is done in workshops. Tests with the constructive dialogue workshops show promising results: tensions in values become clear and the students reach consensus in the workshop. This is empirical evidence for what Van de Poel (2013) describes in his paper on specifying values to design requirements. The set-up seems to be a way to involve the different actors. This method is therefore a step towards a more responsible innovation for automated vehicles. Another promising aspect of the method is that the new ideas which are not mentioned in literature on self-driving cars arise in the sessions. This research contributes to a more responsible innovation as stakeholders are involved. Still, other important steps have to be taken. The method which is developed in this thesis should be used by manufacturers to give input to future designs or by governments for policies. Future research should focus on the validation of the workshops and the embedding of the method. Read more.

Robin Vermeij - Reciprocity in Wind Farm Development: An Applied and Theoretical Approach

Reciprocity in Wind Farm Development: An Applied and Theoretical Approach

Communication in wind farm development is complex. A relationship between wind farm developers and residents which is based on reciprocity can lead to the trust and commitment necessary to deal with these complexities. The role of reciprocity is researched in a case study and a network model of reciprocity is developed. Implementing the findings of the case study in the model gives insight in the conditions for which communication leads to mutual advantage for wind farm developers and residents. Read more.

Aafke Fraaije - Video-based assessment of communication during cardiopulmonary bypass &...

Video-based assessment of communication during cardiopulmonary bypass & a case on responsible innovation

This report is written for partial fulfillment of two master degrees. Part A1 and A2 are written for the master Science Communication, whereas Part B is written for the master Biomedical Engineering. The goal of this thesis therefore was twofold. The goal of part A was to formulate recommendations on the responsible use of video recordings in operating team research. To this end first a theoretical framework was developed on Responsible Research and Innovation and then this framework was applied in a case study at the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), where video recordings were used to study communication during cardiac surgery. The same video recordings were used in part B of this thesis to develop a quality standard for the verbal interactions of surgeon, anesthetists and perfusionists during cardiopulmonary bypass procedures. Read more.

Kim Stolk - Responsible Digital Hospitality Quality Measurement to Facilitate...

Responsible Digital Hospitality Quality Measurement to Facilitate Reflective Communication

In this study, a unique combination of concepts such as hospitality, digitalisation and responsible research and innovation is brought together in the Responsible Digital Hospitality Quality Scale. This conceptual tool is more than a website benchmark or customer satisfaction measurement tool. It measurably defines responsible digital hospitality in six key domains and twenty-three elements using a visual representation of individual element scores and thereby enables digital brand owners, designers and communication experts to constructive communication and self-reflection on a status of a digital brand. The aim of reflexivity and real time assessment are tested in a small focus group session with digital experts. Literature study and expert insights are combined in an iteration process of tool design in order to develop a valid tool in survey format. Additionally, a theoretical framework is developed that combines theories of electronic service quality, user experience, RRI and interactivity. This framework could possibly function as talkative tool alone, however is not further researched within this study. More extended research on figure representation and inclusion of fun elements could provide extra value to the RDH quality tool design in the future. Read more.

Emanuela Voorwinden - Social learning for sustainable food

Social learning for sustainable food: Recommendations to facilitate social learning in practice within the governmental programme Knowledge and Education Deal Food.

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Roelof van den Berg - The networked brand identity: Management support tool for tension...

The networked brand identity: Management support tool for tension analysis in brand identity networks concerning privacy

A corporate brand is a complex construct, which might be difficult to manage because of a lack of insight into the network of relevant influencers. Sense Observation Systems (Sense) is a small software company developing software that helps users to get information from the sensor data of their telephones. Sense is aware of the possible threats to privacy users of their products might perceive and wishes to express their vision on privacy in the corporate brand. The communication manager aiding Sense in their external communications works for their parent company Almende. Almende advocates self-organization and the bottom-up approach that goes with it. Sense therefore wishes to manage their corporate brand with as little management as possible. The proposed self-organizing approach is a novelty in corporate brand management. This research aims to aid the communication manager of Almende in managing Sense’s corporate brand. To help the communication manager in this management task, we defined the following research question: How to manage the corporate brand of Sense Observation Systems so as to encompass the principles on end-user privacy present within the corporation? --Method-- Semi-structured interviews were used to gather insight into how principles on end-user privacy are present within the corporation. A total eight respondents were interviewed: six employees of Sense, and two of the parent company Almende. The respondents cover different functions in the company: four software developers, two managers, and two other members of staff. A conceptual model for brand management was developed from relevant literature and used to structure the interviews. Six identity types were linked to the corporate brand to distinguish between personnel, products, corporate communication, clients, market, and vision. In the interviews was searched for Sense-specific actors (humans, artefacts, policy, organizations, etc.) represented in these identity types. The interviews provided the following information needed for the conceptual model: • 75 actors from all identity types influencing the corporate brand; • 7 aspects of privacy relevant for Sense; and • the distribution of privacy aspects over the actors. --Results-- From the 75 actors we defined 10 representative actor clusters, each cluster consisting of actors with similar associated privacy aspects and from identical identity types. For each of the privacy aspects, we visually analysed the tension within the actors network using the privacy landscapes defined in the conceptual model. Based upon the preference of Sense employees and network analysis results, we advised Sense to focus on the privacy aspect use limitation. We also advised to add more stable elements to the actor network, so that core values become more embedded in the network. The practical suggestions of such stable elements were to develop a corporate slogan, build a product showcasing the corporate values, develop a market strategy leading to clients fitting the corporate values, write out the corporate vision so that it becomes more public. --Conclusion and discussion-- The developed privacy landscapes enable us to indicate points of attention in the actor network attributing to the corporate brand of Sense. Also, the advice to manage the company brand using stable elements increases the practical applicability; the effort for the communications manager at Almende can therefore decrease over time. The developed method is a novelty in brand management because of its ability to visually point out actors unaligned to the (preferred) corporate brand. Furthermore, the method provides insight not only in misalignments between but also within identity types by the use of actor clusters. Information privacy research might benefit from the observation of the following privacy aspects that were not found in literature: ownership of the data collected about a person, restriction of access to user data for the company where data is stored, how ownership is distributed in issues concerning multiple parties, and the depersonalisation of data so that it can not be traced back to an individual. We believe that the developed method and resulting privacy landscapes can be applied to other companies using different concepts in order to find points of attention within the corporate actor network. We recommend to reduce the possibilities for observer bias in the methodology by replacing the individual semi-structured interviews with group sessions. with Participants in such sessions have limited observer influence and can determine concepts for the brand identity and label and cluster actors. Instead of a research approach, the group sessions would be more similar to creative sessions. Read more.