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    Design For Government (DfG, MUO-E8012) is a 10-ECTS advanced studio course in Aalto University's Creative Sustainability master's programme. DfG develops design addressing the complex challenges of the government and public sector. In the course, we apply empathic approaches to identify stakeholder needs, systems approaches to analyze the wider context of policies, and behavioural insight to identify and design relevant solutions.

    Public course website

    This year, DfG will work with 2 project commissioned by Finnish governmental ministries, 'Empowering Citizens through Artificial Intelligence,' by the Ministry of Finance, and 'Boosting Consumer Rights for Finnish Business,' by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority with Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment - summaries are available here. As this is a 'client project' model course, there is a contract between the ministry and Aalto University for the project brief. The IP of all concerned (students, university, ministry) is protected with an agreement that students sign, which is premised on national open access principles.

    This is a studio course with a 'client project' model that is also intended as a learning experience in professional working situations (for example, as if you would be working within or for a ministry). Therefore the study groups and project will be pre-assigned, as it would be in such a situation! Group assignments will be based in large part on making interdisciplinary combinations of interests, skills and backgrounds from all of your applications to the course, and how those match up with the competencies implied by the Ministry briefs. The content, learning experiences and outcomes is the same quality regardless of the project to which you're assigned.


    DfG runs through two periods, period IV (26 Feb – 12 Apr 2019) and period V (15 Apr – 31 May 2019). There is no contact teaching on the last week of either period. Contact teaching sessions are on Tuesdays. Schedule (see section of this MyCourses webpage) details activities. 

    Contact teaching in the course is on Tuesdays and mostly takes place in the building Otakaari 1 on Aalto's Otaniemi Campus. Exact dates and locations are specified in the Schedule.

    The course is structured according to a series of assignments, each of which are introduced, guided and presented in class. Three assignments are conducted as blocks: Human perspective, Systems perspective, Interventions and proposals. For insight into student work and outcomes of the course in general, check out these final videos, slides and reports from 2018 DfG!

    More about the assignments and references, see the Assignments section on this webpage. Recommended background includes 'Design for Government: Human-centric Governance Through Experiments', a report produced by DfG with Demos Helsinki for the Finnish Prime Minister's office ; a summary of the report and links to download in Finnish and in English can be found here

    2019 course structure


    Students who successfully complete this course should be able to:

    • Apply knowledge of the areas of human-centered research and design, systems thinking and behaviour insight in relation to policy-level design brief.
    • Demonstrate creative and relevant application of these knowledge areas and methods within a 'real world' project brief commissioned by a Finnish governmental ministry.
    • Describe the relevance of their project in terms of creative and analytic processes and in terms of some key literature, concepts, methods and tools from across the knowledge areas.
    • Communicate verbally, visually and in writing to those from multiple disciplines, sectors and the public.
    • Reflect critically on their own role within a multidisciplinary group and within the governmental context.

    Assessment is done continuously by course teachers based on:

    • Participation in contact teaching sessions and individual learning diaries (logs) (15% of final grade)
    • Contribution to group work (planning and completing assignments and blog)(20% of final grade)
    • Presentations and final report (mid-review 10%, final presentation 20%, final report 20%)
    • In addition, teachers will take into account feedback from commissioners on quality (5% of final grade)


    Course description in WebOodi. 85% attendance in contact teaching sessions is required unless otherwise agreed in advance. DfG is 10 ECTS. This equals 270 total hours of work, or 19.2 hours per week, which is roughly 3 full working days per week. Be prepared to work more if you are less familiar with human, systems, and intevention and design approaches. As this is an advanced studio course we assume that you are acquainted with the basics. Based on our experiences from previous years, we strongly recommend that students do not take another big course at the same time!

    DfG'18 will share guest lecturers and teaching activities with MUO-E0008 Designing for urban governance and services (5ECTS period IV). It is possible to take BOTH courses simultaneously for a total of 15ECTS. Both courses will be located side-by-side in the building Otakaari 1 on Aalto's Otaniemi campus.


    In case there are more students interested in the course than there are places, there will be a selection process, and this is explained in DfG info in Oodi. DfG is a multidisciplinary course and we seek diverse abilities and students in addition to the normal student selection criteria. Therefore we ask all interested students to fill out an application for the course, which is open for DfG'19 from 18 Jan until 6 Feb (17:00 Finnish/Eastern Standard Time). Master's students throughout Finland can apply for the course and attend through Joo agreement - for info about eligibility, see these Frequently Asked Questions

    Course responsible Ramia Mazé +358 50 4010 030
    Núria Solsona Caba
    Taneli Heinonen
    Seungho Lee
    Tania Rodrigues
    Anni Lepnen 
    Teaching assistant Riina Ruus-Prato

    (on leave in 2019) Hella Hernberg
    (on leave in 2018 and 2019) Juha Kronqvist

    + guest lecturers 

    Teachers bios are here 

    In case you have questions about the course, contact either Ramia or the teaching assistant.