How do innovators, inventors, designers and problem-solvers be systematically creative? How do they create solutions that truly address the needs of users, that seem so well-considered? Solving problems creatively and proposing solutions that people love is not a mysterious or elusive talent.

This course platform - centred around the education of Design Thinking and creative problem-solving - equips students with the systematic and holistic ways to uncover and identify the real needs and wants of users.

The skill sets enable the innovating designer to be thorough, observant and sensitive, so that they can develop relevant creative solutions for the sticky problems of today. The methods extend to the validation of their discoveries, and also enable the innovators to quickly prototype and test their ideas with real users. This creates a positive cycle of feedback and evolutionary refinements that lead to excellent eventual solutions.

It is not surprising that this course has resulted in many well-considered products that address the overlooked needs of differently-abled users, innovative assistive devices, improvements in equipments for emergency situations, and numerous other practical solutions. Many of these design and innovation concepts from the students have garnered top international awards like the James Dyson Design Award, the BraunPrise, the Red Dot Design Award, and the IKEA Design Award, and as a result, have catapulted the careers of these students and graduates, landing them in renowned innovation and design teams all over the world.


Curriculum Overview Components

Design Thinking frameworks, methods, and tools

Need-finding, problem and opportunity identification

Idea creation, prototyping and iteration, validation and user-testing

Key Learning Areas in terms of Thinking / Knowledge

How to observe and uncover user insights and problem areas

How to make sense of research information and observations, to prioritise and validate the best opportunities for intervention

How to formulate innovative solutions and create quick prototypes for testing and iterative development

Key Skillset,Tool or Method Equipping Areas

Empathy tools, day-in-the-life tools, user journey maps, formulation of investigative interview questions and probes

Reframing methods, concept maps, concept fan, lateral thinking

Efficient and rough prototype creation, setting up tests and experiments, capturing and measuring user feedback, creating informed improvements in the product solutions




Oneware is a sink necessity that aids in the entire process of food preparation to dish washing for single-handed use. For those who have only one functioning arm, there are many issues that arise from household chores. Oneware aims to aid this process without compromising on efficiency and work flow.

Oneware won the James Dyson Design Award and the IKEA Young Designer's Award in 2016.

Loren Lim



ER+ is a tool bag designed to facilitate faster and more accurate provision of first-aid in the event of an emergency. ER+ can be manipulated easily to take on different forms to cater to the different needs at various phases of the rescue mission. It’s quick deployment properties enables medics to attend to more casualties in a shorter time frame.

In collaboration with Singapore Red Cross

Alvin Tan



Flex seeks to redefine the modern walking cane for the elderly; often seen as sterile and impersonal. Emphasizing on the notion of dynamic walking, Flex spots a flexible shoe design which ‘blossoms’ on contact with the ground, increasing surface contact thus making it more stable. The handle is sculpted to provide an inviting grip with generous curvatures for optimum comfort.

Chiam Yong Sheng Kevin



Echo is a rehabilitative training aid designed for individuals newly experiencing vision loss. It enables the visually impaired to be more confident of independent travel and living by facilitating the development of their auditory awareness and sensitivity. echo taps on to a user-generated audio library that allows instructors or caretakers to customise structured learning of critical environmental sound cues. Its highly versatile system can also be deployed to aid in orientation and navigation of new routes and environments.

Khaw Yee Jek


Donn Koh

Donn Koh graduated in 2007 and is a co-founding Design Director at STUCK, and Lecturer at NUS DID

Donn’s illustrious career in design innovation was catapulted by the success of his final year thesis project in 2007 – the Leapfrog Walker for Cerebral Palsy. This project won 3 major international awards, including the Braunprize, and has led to patents, clinical trials, and commercialization.

He has worked in San Francisco for One & Co. and HTC, in Eindhoven for GRO Design, and in Singapore for BMW DesignworksUSA. As a creative problem-solver, his most notable works include the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse, the Google Nexus One Navigation Dock, the HTC Evo 4G, the Air+ Smart Masks (with Innosparks), and – on a different note – the Merlion ChouChou. Donn is currently one of the founding directors of STUCK, a leading local design agency, and is also a Lecturer at DID in NUS.

Loren Lim

Loren graduated in 2016 and is currently a research assistant at NUS DID
How do you think the education in DID shaped your ability to create your award winning OneWare?

The success of OneWare (which won the James Dyson and IKEA awards) is because of the open and contributive culture of the Division of Industrial Design in NUS. From the tutors’ guidance and the trusty team of technicians who assisted in the prototypes, the environment at DID in NUS fosters a strong spirit of collaboration and honesty – this helps make our projects successful.

For what reasons would you recommend the course to others?

The course has enable me to think deeply about design and select the right disciplines to approach a problem before rushing into the execution of concepts. Furthermore, we are one of the unique courses with a small cohort – so everyone knows one another very well, regardless of our year of study. That is a good thing because the seniors, who are more experienced, can help the juniors.

This good practice and the open environment at the faculty encourages and provides opportunities for shared idea creation and collaboration.


As part of our strategy to evolve constantly, a major component of the course is the Course Platforms.
It allows students to tailor their individual course of learning by selecting and participating in 2 concurrent design studios from a variety of 7 to 10 different design projects offered every semester —ranging from

  • Experiments & Exploitation of Materials
  • Future Trends Forecasting & Disruptive Innovation
  • Entrepreneur Product Creation for Crowdfunding & Startups
  • Invention of Tools, Mechanisms, Materials & Structures
  • Innovation & Invention in Healthcare & Medicine
  • Mastery of Product Aesthetics, Usability & Desire Creation
  • Crafting User Experiences in Retail & Government Services
  • 3D Printing & Digital Fabrication Mastership
  • Specialist in Creativity & Problem-solving Methods
  • Interaction for Mobile Apps & the Internet of Things

The range of different topics reflect the ever-expanding role of an innovator and industrial designer; not only are students able to receive exposure to different areas of innovation, they also get the opportunity to learn different approaches to designing from the individual studio leaders and industry collaborators.

In addition, the vertical format of the design platforms encourages cross-learning of ideas, skills and methods while junior students work alongside and / or compete with senior students.

Students in a lower year will take up the role of a junior designer, whilst senior students will have the opportunity to assume the role of a senior innovator. This arrangement reflects the prevalent importance of group dynamics in industry practice, where design teams often comprise of junior designers, innovators and sometimes a creative director.

The platform program features real life innovation projects in collaboration with the following industry partner:



The Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design, B.A.(ID), is an undergraduate honours programme consisting of coursework driven by a synergistic three-pronged approach:

Design Thinking: Out-of-the-box innovation strategies and investigative methods to discover new ideas and unmet needs.

Multi-Disciplinary Aptitudes: Behavioural science, social economics, business strategy and engineering and technology knowledge help out graduates develop entrepreneurial strategic thinking and holistic problem-solving capabilities.

Artistic Sensibility: Training of imagination, taste, and crafts, to provide appropriate aesthetics and emotions to ideas so that solutions are both functional and desirable. The combined approaches equips our graduates with high-level strategic thinking, and enables them to translate problems and ideas to tangible, desirable solutions etc.


To broaden the students’ exposure, around two-thirds of each cohort goes for a one-semester overseas exchange programme during their 3rd year to distinguished design schools.

Our partner schools include:

University of New South Wales, Australia
University of Alberta, Canada
Duoc UC, Chile
Tsinghua University, China
Zhejiang University, China
Tongji University, China
Aalto University, Finland
ENSCI, France
ENSAD, France
International School of Design or ISD, France
Institut supérieur de design, France
Folkwang University of the Arts, Germany
Politechnico di Milano, Italy
Kyushu University, Japan
KIT, Japan
Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico
TU Delft, The Netherlands
TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Hangyang University, South Korea
Seoul National University, South Korea
KAIST, South Korea
ECAL, Switzerland
National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
University of Leeds, United Kingdom
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Arizona State University, USA


Crafting User Experiences in Retail & Government Services is a specialization platform electable by students of the Division of Industrial Design (DID).

DID was founded in 1999 as Singapore’s first university-level course in Industrial Design. DID offers a highly selective degree course in Industrial Design. We teach a potent combination of design thinking and innovation methods, with a clever mix of artistic, humanistic, technological and business disciplines.

Our vision is to make life better through design; to equip students with trans-disciplinary skills and thinking processes required to find unmet needs, to solve complex problems involved in creating viable new products, experiences, interfaces and environments. Our graduates are enabled to take up highly valuable and versatile roles as creative designers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders of change.

Originally as part of the Department of Architecture, our programme has built a stellar track record and gained independence in just 11 years. We are ranked among the world’s top 30 University for the subject of Art and Design by QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016, and also ranked as the top university in Asia.

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