IA40610 Design for User-Centric, Sustainable Solutions

Academic Year 2024/2025


The purpose of this module is to enable students to apply the knowledge learned during the other modules of the programme to a real world project with an external 'client' organisation. Students will work in multi-disciplinary teams to apply Design and Systems Thinking approaches to co-create, prototype, and test innovative, potentially viable solutions for real-world challenges of sustainability.

Building on what has been covered in the other modules, you will research the challenge and understand its context (from environmental, social, and economic perspectives) and engage with key stakeholders to identify key insights before developing potential innovative solutions.

Using an approach of prototyping and intentional iteration you will test your assumptions, re-iterate and pivot your prototype, as required, in order to develop a validated approach.

You and your team will present your proposed solution to your class, invited guests and your 'client' organisation.

Over the course of the module, you will be expected to undertake a significant amount of self-directed study specific to your project (covering, technical, environmental, legal, ethical, financial and business aspects) as appropriate. Teams will be supported throughout the project with structured mentoring and peer innovation group interventions.


Enrolment in an Innovation Academy module means a commitment to active participation and engagement, which necessitates attendance at scheduled classes. We limit our class size to 40 students or less. We require a minimum of 16 participants to ensure enough people for teamwork and a dynamic classroom environment.

Schedule Details & Assessment schedule will adjust based on the length and timing of each delivery of this module.

UCD Innovation Academy : About Us

At the UCD Innovation Academy, we are a group of Educator Practitioners with extensive real-world experience as academics, business and social entrepreneurs, tech thinkers, creative professionals and design thinking practitioners.
We take an action-oriented approach to learning, with a combination of individual, group and class tasks and activities, including discussions, presentations and reflection. All of our teaching is grounded in academic rigour, and our focus is on learning from doing in a real-world context.


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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

- Manage the design thinking process to engage with a real-world sustainability challenge

- Work effectively in a multidisciplinary team in a collegial and professional environment

- Apply sustainability literacy, creativity, teamwork, leadership, entrepreneurial thinking, action, communication and presentation skills when developing solutions for real world challenges

- Effectively and meaningfully communicate and justify a new creative & innovative sustainable solution for the ‘client’

- Practice reflection and self-directed learning

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Small Group




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
All Innovation Academy modules take a learning by doing approach, combining, individual, group and team activities, tasks and projects including presentations, discussion and reflection:

• Activity/task-based learning
• Peer and Group work
• Reflective Learning
• Enquiry & Problem-based learning
• Student Presentations
• Guest Speakers
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
IA40620 - Sustainability Mindsets

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Participation in Learning Activities: In class tasks and activities Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, Week 12, Week 14, Week 15 Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Group Work Assignment: Group Project: Teamwork, Project Report and Presentation Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, Week 12, Week 14, Week 15 Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Portfolio: Portfolio: Record of individual learning, Reflective Practice and short Presentation Week 1, Week 3, Week 5, Week 7, Week 9, Week 11, Week 14, Week 15 Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes



Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be given to students upon request. This will include feedback based on their participation during the module and their deliverables.