International design business management (IDBM)

Apply before August 27th, 2019!


This programme is only for degree students.

International Design Business Management (IDBM) programme helps you become a future creative professional in integrating design and technology with global business development through transdisciplinary teamwork and real-life challenges provided by our renowned industry partners.

IDBM students tackle complex, real-life challenges in multi-disciplinary teams, applying design thinking methods to create meaningful innovations.

IDBM educates students with arts, business and engineering backgrounds to make better business with meaningful innovations and design, providing a strategic view into design-intensive businesses management. Graduates of the IDBM minor programme will be able to drive innovation and lead initiatives to undertake new business ventures within global environments.

Academically rigorous and practice-oriented IDBM programme prepares students to lead and collaborate in multi-disciplinary teams. The objective is to gain knowledge in multiple disciplines and to learn to connect one’s own disciplinary expertise to a wider multi-disciplinary design business framework. During a four-month long real-life industry project students explore and develop innovative product, service and business concepts. Projects are coached by multi-disciplinary faculty and expert industry tutors.

Learning objectives include the abilities to:

  • use a design approach in product, service and business development
  • lead and collaborate in multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teams, deepening and connecting one’s own disciplinary expertise to a wider business context
  • drive change and development activities in organisations
  • communicate ideas and concepts both verbally and visually at operative and strategic levels
  • understand and utilise academic research in defining and approaching problems in systematic and systemic manner

Courses included in the programme:

= Contact learning
= Online learning
= Blended learning (online & contact learning)
IDBM Challenge (JOIN-E7006), 5 ECTS. 9.9.–25.10.2019.

Implementation method: Online & few face-to-face sessions in Espoo. Travel expenses will be reimbursed.

IDBM Challenge is the introductory course for new minor students of the IDBM programme. This course brings together students from diverse educational backgrounds, and provides a setting for combining theory with practice to design bold solutions to a societal challenges that will affect people’s lives on a global scale. Through practical experience and learning-by-doing, students acquire the skills to conceptualise, develop and introduce socially sound and commercially successful solutions.

Students are presented with a complex challenge to test and forge their skills, and are taught to recognise and harness the unique working styles of their team members as well as their own.

Learning outcomes:

During this course, we will focus on the following learning objectives:

  • Understanding the dynamics between the individual, the team, and community. This will be based on readings, exercises during the class, as well as individual and team assignments.
  • Apply the skills you learn and practice through readings, talks, and exercises to propose your solution to the challenge.
  • Analyse the current situation and in multi-disciplinary teams connect the present state of things with how you envision the world.
  • In multi-disciplinary teams, learn to apply design-driven methods and processes to create a solution to a pressing societal challenge.
IDBM Capstone (26E04903): Global virtual teamwork, 5 ECTS. 28.10.–13.12.2019.

This online course advances and deepens students’ understanding on the central topics of international design business management. Students will conduct research studies on IDBM-related topics, applying theoretical literature and interviewing professionals working in the related industries. Course assignments “warm-up” students for their master’s thesis. Virtual learning technology and webinar (web-based seminar) format enable students to participate in the course from any location.

Along with the advanced academic knowledge on international design business management, this course provides tools and methods for working effectively in global virtual teams and for facilitating engaging virtual meetings & webinars.

Learning outcomes:

After completing this online course, students should have:

  • A deeper theoretical and practical understanding of international design business management and it’s central topics such as design management, leadership for creativity, design thinking, human-centered design, and change management.
  • Ability to work effectively in distributed virtual teams.
  • Skills and experience on facilitating webinars and giving engaging online presentations for large audience.
  • Readiness to start their master’s thesis.
IDBM Industry project (JOIN-E7005), 15 ECTS. 8.1.–27.5.2020.

Implementation method: Mainly online learning, including contact lessons in Turku.

Course includes three kickoff sessions:

  • Wed 20.11.2019
  • Fri 22.11.2019
  • Wed 27.11.2019

The IDBM Industry project course follows challenge-based learning approach of instruction where students participate in real-life business projects and practice working in multi-disciplinary teams. Industry projects are assigned by industrial companies for developing innovative business concepts using design thinking methodology.

The project teams are multi-disciplinary and the team members represent different fields of technology, business and design. Together these perspectives support the development of interdisciplinary and diverse competence.

Students apply theoretical knowledge and skills learned in other IDBM programme courses in the project work, practicing combining theory into real-life business development. To support this interaction, online study materials, webinars, and supervising field experts offer mentoring for each project team.

Learning outcomes:

After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Explore and create creative and cross-cutting new business opportunities within complex, ambiguous problem settings and environments.
  • Apply design thinking process and tools in product, service, business, and/or ecosystem development.
  • Solve real-world problems creatively.
  • Design and conduct research in the project contexts.
  • Connect one’s own disciplinary expertise to a wider multi-disciplinary design business context.
  • Lead and collaborate in a multi-cultural multi-disciplinary team.
  • Communicate ideas and concepts both verbally and visually in and outside the team on both operative and strategic levels.

Professor in charge: Professor Niina Nurmi, Aalto University (

Contact person in practical matters: Programme manager Anna-Mari Saari, Aalto University (

Other teachers: Programme teacher Ville Eloranta, Aalto University (

Type of study unit




Teaching semester


Host university

Aalto University

Open for degree student


Open for non-student


Level of studies


General prerequisites

Motivation letter, CV and an official study transcript

Teaching methods

Online with some contact sessions at Aalto University. Travel expenses will be reimbursed.

Place of contact learning




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