Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


After the course you have a real life hands-on experience on how societal problems are worked into design problems and tackled with design, agile, and lean startup methods. You learn to combine many of your previous studies into a realistic project setting: group work, facilitation, societal understanding, data analytics, software design, service design methods, business and strategy thinking, and creating an actionable solution towards a social problem. Also, you learn how to turn concrete project work into personal development and learning to help you become an even better professional.

Credits: 9

Schedule: 13.09.2021 - 29.11.2021

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Risto Sarvas, Risto Sarvas

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    In the course the students work in a group on a real societal problem, based on UN's Sustainable Development Goals, together with a real organisation looking into solving that problem. The course is divided into three parts. First is the preparation phase where the project context and metrics for success are defined, as well as the personal learning goals for each student. The second part of the course is an intensive design project in the end of which the team presents a service concept. The third part of the course is about reflecting and learning from the intense and realistic project setting.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The teaching consists of lectures and workshops and group guidance. The grade is based on lecture participation, individual study diary on personal reflection, and final group presentation. The individual grade is mostly based on the group's grade, with +1 or -1 from the personal study diary.

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    48h lectures and workshops. 24h guided group work. 96h group work. 40h independent study. 32h final presentation. Total 240h.


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Lecture materials, readings, tools.

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    1 No Poverty

    2 Zero Hunger

    3 Good Health and Well-being

    4 Quality Education

    5 Gender Equality

    6 Clean Water and Sanitation

    7 Affordable and Clean Energy

    8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    10 Reduced Inequality

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption

    13 Climate Action

    14 Life Below Water

    15 Life on Land

    16 Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

    17 Partnerships for the Goals


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    NOTE! This is a very intensive course with lots of group work. Make sure you have reserved enough time during workdays and "office hours" to be able to work with your group. Every student is expected to have enough daytime during the week allocated for this course. Course staff reserves the right to fail the student during the course if the student has no time to participate in group work and lectures.

    This course can be substituted by MEC-E3001 Product Development Project 10 cr, MUO-E8012 Design for Government 10 cr,  MUO-Exxxx Design for Social Change 5+5 cr, or TU-E4100 Startup Experience (AVP) 9 cr.

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Autumn I-II

    2021-2022 Autumn I-II

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: In the academic year 2021-2022, registration for courses will take place on Sisu ( instead of WebOodi.

    WebOodi. A maximum of 48 students will be admitted to the course. Admission to the course will be based on a motivational letter. Information networks major's students will have a preference over other Aalto students. However, there is a quota for other students than Information Networks major.