2024 System Design Project

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering
Ohashi Takumi  Saito Shigeki  Inaba Kazuaki  Taoka Yuki 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

System design is a holistic approach and process for designing and developing user-centered systems that solve complex and ambiguous problems while considering stakeholders' needs. This course emphasizes its importance as a critical component of the design thinking process. Through lectures, exercises, and real-world projects, students will learn how to design user-centered systems that solve complex and ambiguous problems while addressing stakeholder needs. The course covers core system design topics, including user empathy, problem definition, ideation, prototyping, user testing, and stakeholder analysis. Students will leave with a fundamental understanding of how to design systems. The course inspires students to continue exploring design thinking and provides a foundation for further learning and development in this exciting field.

Student learning outcomes

1. Develop a basic understanding of user-centered design.
2. Learn how to define complex problems, ideate potential solutions, create prototypes, and conduct user testing to solve problems effectively.
3. Understand the importance of system design in the design thinking process.
4. Gain knowledge and skills related to stakeholder analysis and how to consider their needs in the design process.


System design; Stakeholder analysis; User empathy; Problem definition; Ideation; Prototyping; User testing; Iterative process; User-centered design

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

In this course, students will work in teams to design a user-centered system that solves a complex problem. The course, held at Design Factory on the 3rd floor, 5th building, Ishikawadai area, will involve lectures, exercises, and real-world projects. Students will apply the design thinking process, including user empathy, problem definition, ideation, prototyping, user testing, stakeholder analysis, and system design, to develop an effective solution. The course emphasizes collaboration and iteration to refine designs.

Teams will deliver a final presentation showcasing their system design and problem-solving process, highlighting user-centeredness, stakeholder analysis, and system sustainability. Additionally, students will submit a final report reflecting on their understanding of the design thinking process.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction to System Design Project Problem exploration and definition Understand the course objectives and flow Explore and define the problems to be solved by the team
Class 2 User research methodology and practice Learn how to conduct data collection and analysis Practice user research on the campus
Class 3 Ideation and prototyping Learn how to ideate based on user research results Understand effective prototyping methodology using Design Factory facilities Practice prototyping
Class 4 Prototyping and user-test Learn how to conduct user testing effectively
Class 5 Mid-term presentation Iteration and revision Gather feedback from a wide range of sources to revise the problem definition and solution
Class 6 Iteration and revision Gather feedback from a wide range of sources to revise the problem definition and solution
Class 7 Final presentation and report Convey final ideas effectively to the audience Wrap up learning through the series of lectures

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterward (including assignments) for each class. This can be achieved by exploring online resources, engaging in online discussions with classmates and the instructor, and conducting independent research on relevant topics. In addition, students are encouraged to work collaboratively on group projects and assignments, which may require additional out-of-class study time. Students can maximize their learning and make the most of this course by dedicating sufficient time to prepare, review, and collaborate.


Non required.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Saito, Sakamoto, Takeda, Kado, Ouchi, "Introduction to Design Thinking for Engineers," Shoeisha Co. Ltd., (2017).
Other materials are provided during class.

Assessment criteria and methods

Exercises in class: 30%, Final group presentation: 30%, Report: 40%

Related courses

  • TSE.C201 : Introduction to Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering
  • TSE.C203 : Transdisciplinary Design Project
  • TSE.A318 : Introduction to Design Engineering

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)



The syllabus may be modified as necessary.

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