Sustainable Design Solutions

The minor Sustainable Design Solutions (SDS) is a multidisciplinary minor within the design study Communication & Multimedia Design. You work on innovative design solutions for various sustainability problems with students from various study programs, from within and outside NHL Stenden, from home and abroad. Think of future-oriented materials, lifelong health, value creation, social sustainability and diversity. These problems originate from both national and international organisations and are always related to your vision as a designer.


Study start

  • February
  • September


  • Leeuwarden


  • English

European credits

  • 30 EC's

Minor type

  • For all bachelor programmes

Subject area

  • IT & Media
  • Technical

Minor content

In order to deal with the complex issues we face as a society, you learn to take structured steps using the Design Thinking method. You will therefore work iteratively, and the development of prototypes is central to this process. The end user is an essential part of your design process and you are in close contact with it. Through Design Thinking you are able to structure the most diverse problems and thus design a suitable and sustainable solution for the organisation. Innovation, creativity, a committed and open mindset and guts are important values.

The possible solutions that you design within the minor SDS are just as diverse as the problems we are working on. You can think of a product or an app, but also a service or an event. You work at the beginning of the design funnel and develop a proof-of-concept with your group. Whatever the solution may be, it is your design. And so we ask you to take responsibility and invite you to think about good substantiation, the ethical aspects of your work and we encourage you to develop your own design vision. What is your role as a designer in the world? What impact do you want to make? We use a wide variety of tools and methods for this, such as the Multi-Level Design model, the Business Model Canvas, but we also encourage you to come up with your own learning questions. You will receive feedback on these learning questions during the semester and we will assess you. Everything is focused on your development as a designer in the broadest sense of the word.

Structure of the minor

T he minor SDS is a community of practice where we learn with ​ánd ​from each other. We find externally if we don’t have a certain expertise in the community. Just-in-time, relevant and demand-driven. We regularly have excursions or speakers to help us better understand a problem or part of it. A three day excursion is mandatory.

Within the community you work in a multidisciplinary team. There is a lot of strength in the diverse composition of the group, everyone brings something to the table: business insight, knowledge of biology, multimedia talents, creativity, inspiring leadership, etc.

Every 2 weeks you present your project and show where you are as a team. You give and receive feedback and contribute to other projects. You see the value of sharing. Together with the rest of the community you have endless knowledge and experience, and you are not afraid to exchange this together.

Within SDS it is important that you make things. In our workshop we have the opportunity to quickly make prototypes based on wood, paper, clay, etc. In addition, the minor space is located in the old prison, the Blokhuispoort, next to the FabLab of the Friesland College, where you can work together on things with for instance a 3D printer, or cut it out with a laser cutter. An inspiring environment in which your personal search is given shape together with the community within and outside the minor SDS.

If you choose the minor SDS, you choose independence and a challenge. There is an initial description of the problem that you will specify with your project group. You embark on the quest in which you will design a solution in a structured and project-based manner. You dare to look broadly and tackle obvious problems. You develop your ability to look at the world as a designer and thus contribute to a sustainable and better society.


Within the minor SDS it is possible to work on all competences of CMD at any desired level. The core competences within our minor consist of:

  • Concepting
  • Design
  • Research & Innovation - Sharing
  • Growth & Reflection 


Do you have questions about this minor? Ask them via the online form.