Welcome to Design and Innovation Processes and their Staging (2021)


While innovation and design are increasingly expected to answer to a broad variety of concerns and depending on the incorporation of knowledge from a diversity of sources, questions are raised as to what kinds of sources, and how they are incorporated in processes of design and innovation. As innovative challenges and conditions are changing with increasing pace these questions cannot just be solved through a singular choice of organization or established guidelines for selecting innovative ideas. Issues of how to stage the scene and circumstances and how to facilitate processes and the involvement of diverse actors in design as well as innovation have increasingly come into focus. Successful design and innovation are seen as the outcome of interactions within a broader network spanning across diverse organizational and societal boundaries and institutions. There is a need to address the design and navigation of new fora and spaces for development where existing frames of understandings may be challenged and new patterns for interactions emerge. 

The course takes its departure in the well-described dilemmas between incremental but often path dependent innovative processes within established networks and the quest for the development and design of new innovative, disruptive or breakthrough ideas, product and services facilitated through new networked relations. A range of theories, cases and approaches concerned with the framing, designing and staging of innovative processes, from linear sequential models to complex, dynamic networks of innovation are treated and related to the current work of the participants. 

During the course, a dialogue is created between the participants’ projects and a diversity of understandings of the management and staging of design and innovation from organization, institutional theory and sociology of innovation. The idea is to direct inquiry and to stimulate theoretical insights and empirical approaches in the field of design and innovation. The course introduces concepts, which help render relevant phenomena and issues (relationships, dynamics, consequences) in the participants’ projects visible and open to investigation, analysis as well as creative inquiry and exploration. This would, in turn, also help in delineating hypotheses of relevance to the investigation of innovative processes and their staging, and in proposing new directions for research in the field. 

The program will cover the following themes: 

  • Challenges in management of innovation and the staging of design and innovative processes
  • Innovation and design as heterogeneous processes of interaction involving actors, artefacts and knowledge
  • Innovation and design as journeys characterized by uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity
  • Innovation between rational analytical, interpretive and performative processes
  • Innovation and design as exploitation and exploration
  • Innovation as networking, brokering and collaboration in and between organizations
  • From planning and calculation to social learning and translation of interests
  • ‘Co-creation’ and ‘path creation’ as heterogeneous network building,
  • Staging and navigation of temporary spaces for innovation across knowledge boundaries

Part 1 (Takes place at AAU Aalborg):

The first part of the course provides insight and understanding of how theory and practice in innovation and design as process has evolved. Insight is achieved through an overview of classics and recent movements in innovation research, a review of core innovation concepts and fields, as well as dialogue with industrial professionals from organizations leading innovation and design.

Part 2 (Takes place at AAU Copenhagen): 

The second part provides insight in innovation and design and their staging based on the latest socio-material approaches to innovation and design. These traditions have emerged as an attempt to develop concepts and approaches enabling to search for and identify key processes and dynamics that might become central to the design of innovation and their staging. 


The students should be familiar with basic understandings of innovative processes from innovation process theory and/or science and technology studies (the STS field) on an academic master level. The program includes teacher presentations, student presentations, professional experiences and company talks as well as dialogue sessions where students will receive feedback on their presentations and projects from fellow students as well as teachers. 

As a preparation for the first assembly, participants should prepare a presentation of a problem/solution from their research, which they want to analyze from an innovation process perspective. The presentation can focus on a case and/or a challenging perspective (oral supported with ppt) within the theme of the course (It is important to describe how innovation processes could be a relevant perspective for your activities in order to provide a professional and empirical background for your own reflexive learning.) 

Between the first and second assembly participants write a 5-10 pages analysis bringing theory to bear on selected case material of their own choice. These assignments are basis for evaluation and approval of participation. In addition, participants will be asked to fill in a formal evaluation scheme. 

Organizer: Professor Søren Kerndrup - soeren@plan.aau.dk

Lecturers: Professor Peter Karnøe, AAU, BDO, Associate professor Søren Kerndrup, AAU, SIP, Associate professor Astrid Heidemann Lassen, AAU, CIP; Ole Tangsgaard, rinnovation Consult; Assistant professor Jens Dorland, RUC; Assistant professor Signe Pedersen, BDO, AAU and professor Christian Clausen, AAU, BDO.

ECTS:  5

Time and place: 
Part 1: 23-24 September 2021 in 9000 Aalborg
Part 2: 6-8 December 2021 in Copenhagen Place: Aalborg University, Copenhagen Campus, A.C. Meyers Vænge 15, Room ACM15 (A) 2.1.009 (DK-2450 Copenhagen SV)

 Aalborg University

Number of seats: 20

Deadline: 1 September 2021

Important information concerning PhD courses: We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 3.000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately four months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year. We look forward to your registrations.