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Courses at Harvard

The Design Lab has been creating hands-on design and innovation courses, workshops, and programs at Harvard University for nearly a decade. We help students and our partners create more empowering products, services, and experiences for their users.

Design Lab Courses

Integrated design 

[HBS-5240] Leading advanced design projects requires the integration of multiple skill areas and ongoing learning about the best data-driven tools to guide development. This course is structured to provide a comprehensive education in all stages of the new product design process, from idea generation to concept development, detailed design and prototyping, testing and integrating data into design decisions. The emphasis is on the way that design teams must both generate and utilize data to make decisions under conditions of extreme uncertainty. A critical feature of modern technical design challenges is that the problem space and solution space are often poorly defined, and/or to a large extent unbounded. The course aims to provide students with rigorous analytical tools to deal with such uncertainties. More information >

Product and Experience Design for Desirability 

[SEAS ES22 / GSD SCI 6276] Product and Experience Design for Desirability is a Harvard University course cross-listed in the engineering and design schools, and open to students from all schools. It appeals to those interested in designing products and services that are desirable. In today’s competitive landscape, products and services that connect with human meaning, usability, and emotions are more likely to be successful. Designing for desirability begins with questions of what we mean by ‘desirable’ and ‘for whom’. It can mean irresistible, delightful, meaningful, cool, covetable, viral, easy, and more. The class explores different meanings of desirability in design. More information >

Innovators’ Practice:  Finding Building and Leading Good Ideas With Diverse Others

[SEAS ENG-SCI 21 / GSD SCI6271] Innovators’ Practice course was created by Altringer at SEAS in 2011 and has been described as “Harvard’s real-world obstacle course for practicing innovation“. Student teams from the first two years of the class have won awards, including the Dean’s 100K Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge and various funded fellowships to continue developing their ideas beyond the classroom.  Think of it as a startup obstacle course – You will experience the most common product and team challenges that early stage startups face, learn how researchers analyze these issues, discover how top companies deal with them, and apply these lessons in real time to your own project. The Innovators’ Practice is a hands-on course on idea creation & development based on a deep understanding of human and organizational behavior. The class itself is created as an organization designed to support multiple teams. Students learn to make rapid progress on their projects, as well as to contribute to the success of the broader organization. Limited enrollment for undergraduates (SEAS: ENG-SCI 21) and graduates (GSD: SCI627100). More information >

Human-centered Algorithms Design

HCAD was a one-time course at SEAS that evolved out of our algorithm research group —  ai-kitchen. Due to growing demand in 2016, the ai-kitchen discussion group expanded, becoming a course on Human Centered Algorithm Design designed and taught by Altringer at SEAS in Fall 2017. The team later worked with other groups at Harvard, MIT, and beyond that are better-positioned to take the conversation much further, namely, the BKC-MIT AI Initiative. *NEW* We recommend the syllabus that has developed out of the initiative’s work here. 

Online courses 

Our team has compiled  top-rated online courses from multiple platforms in design, innovation & entrepreneurship as part of our Nested Learning Collective COVID-19 educational community relief initiative. Explore the full list of courses in virtually every subject here

Courses at Harvard of Interest to Design Lab Members

Course nameCourse #Instructor
VisualizationCOMPSCI 171Hanspeter Pfister
Computer GraphicsCOMPSCI 175Steven Gortler
Design of Useful and Usable Interactive SystemsCOMPSCI 179Elena Glassman
Topics in Data VisualizationCOMPSCI 271Johanna Beyer
Research Topics in Human-Computer InteractionCOMPSCI 279RElena Glassman
Elements of Urban DesignSTU-1221Peter Rowe, Rahul Mehrotra, Yun Fu, Stephen Gray, Michael Manfredi
Collaborative Design Engineering Studio ISTU-1231Andrew Witt, Joanna Aizenberg, Elizabeth Christoforetti, Cesar Hidalgo
Spatial Analysis and the Built EnvironmentVIS-2129Carole Voulgaris
Digital Media: ManipulationsVIS-2228Hyojin Kwon, Zach Seibold
Responsive Environments: Episodes in Experiential FuturesVIS-2314Allen Sayegh
Mini MOOCsVIS-2357Diego Grass
Paper or Plastic: Reinventing Shelf Life in the Supermarket LandscapeVIS-2415Teman Evans, Teran Evans
Drawing for Designers: Techniques of Expression, Articulation, and RepresentationVIS-2446Ewa Harabasz
Art, Design and the Public Domain ProseminarVIS-2482Krzysztof Wodiczko
Culture, Conservation and DesignDES-3333Susan Snyder, George Thomas
Why Not Cultural Systems? Expanding Our Value System Beyond Nature and EcologyDES-3392Charles A. Birnbaum
From Fallow: Equitable Futures for Landscapes of InjusticeDES-3394Jill Desimini
Building Conservation and Renewal: Assessment, Analysis, DesignHIS-4384David Fixler
Field Studies in Real Estate, Urban Planning and DesignSES-5212Richard Peiser
Healthy Places: COVID-19 and CitiesSES-5330Ann Forsyth
Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Problems (at FAS)SES-5375Tarun Khanna, Satchit Balsari
Urban EthnographiesSES-5386Michael Herzfeld
Urban Design for PlannersSES-5420David Gamble
Climate by DesignSCI-6244Jill Desimini, David Moreno, Mateos, Martha Schwartz, Emily Wettstein
Material Systems: Digital Design and FabricationSCI-6317Nathan King, Zach Seibold
Introduction to Computational DesignSCI-6338Jose Luis Garcia del Castillo Lopez
Interface Design: Integrating Material PerceptionsSCI-6359Sawako Kaijima
Transformable Design MethodsSCI-6476Chuck Hoberman
Innovation in Project DeliveryPRO-7420Mark R. Johnson
The Entrepreneur’s Playbook: A How-To Guide for Start-Up StrategyHBS-1615Abhishek Nagaraj
Entrepreneurial FailureHBS-1745Thomas Eisenmann
Entrepreneurial Management in a Turnaround EnvironmentHBS-1635Ranjay Gulati
Entrepreneurial Solutions to the World’s ProblemsHBS-1685William Sahlman
Field Course: Decoding “Growth” in Silicon ValleyHBS-6694Mark Roberge
Field Course: Entrepreneurial MarketingHBS-6932Frank Cespedes, Christina Wallace
Field Course: Entrepreneurship through Acquisition Application OnlyHBS-6452Richard Ruback, Royce Yudkoff
Field Course: Field XHBS-6333Randolph Cohen
Field Course: Field Y: Projects in Business ManagementHBS-6334Randolph Cohen
Field Course: Product Management 101 Application OnlyHBS-6701Melissa Perri
Field Course: Product Management 102 Application OnlyHBS-6702Melissa Perri
Field Course: Scaling Minority BusinessesHBS-6614Archie L. Jones, Jeffrey Bussgang, Henry McGee
Founders’ JourneyHBS-1676Shikhar Ghosh
Grand Challenges for EntrepreneursHBS-1265Tarun Khanna
Launch Lab/Thesis 2HBS-5242Thomas Eisenmann
Launching Technology VenturesHBS-1757Jeffrey Bussgang, Sam Clemens, Donna Levin, Reza Satchu
Law, Management and EntrepreneurshipHBS-1540John Batter
Making MarketsHBS-1764Scott Duke Kominers
Managing the Future of WorkHBS-1677Christopher Stanton
Public EntrepreneurshipHBS-1623Mitchell Weiss
Scaling Technology VenturesHBS-1788Jeffrey Rayport, Christina Wallace
Venture Capital and Private EquityHBS-1428Nori Gerardo Lietz, Jo Tango
Authentic Leader DevelopmentHBS-2090Robin Ely, Tony Mayo
Leading DifferenceHBS-2022Frances Frei, Francesca Gino
Leading with People AnalyticsHBS-2028Jeffrey Polzer
Managing Human CapitalHBS-2060Ethan Bernstein
Power and InfluenceHBS-2056Lakshmi Ramarajan
Seminar: How Star Women SucceedHBS-2065Boris Groysberg
Field Course: Lab to MarketHBS-6107Karim Lakhani, Peter Barrett, Noubar Afeyan
Launch Lab/Thesis 1HBS-5241Alan MacCormack
Sensory Ethnography 3AFVS-158CRVerena Paravel
Sensory Ethnography 4AFVS-158DRVerena Paravel, Lucien Casting-Taylor
Experimental Animation: Intermediate Animation CourseAFVS-153ARYoung Joo Lee
Nah; or, gestures of resistance: Performance, Technology, and RefusalAFVS-134sSCRAAATCH
CMP Projects: Production and PublicationAFVS 352Joana Pimenta
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