About this online course


Decisions made by engineers during the design of products and technologies are not only technical in nature. They also embody ethical and societal values such as sustainability, safety and fairness.

Examples from industries
This course will provide you with the knowledge and tools to include ethical and societal values into the design of new products and technologies. There is an introduction to Design for Values which discusses the influence of values in design processes, explores how values can be investigated, and provides tools to translate those values into design requirements. Examples are drawn from industries like IT, chemicals and textiles to show that multiple values can be met through design.

Public values
As a result, you will be able to engineer a win-win situation in which society will benefit from the greater attention paid to public values such as safety, equity and privacy, and organizations may become more successful because their innovations will prove more easily acceptable. The economy may also profit because of faster and more successful innovation.

A striking and very successful example of a product meeting conflicting values is 'GreenFreeze'. The coolant has now been taken up by major manufacturers and is a huge commercial success. Compared to other coolants it is both safe and environmental friendly, and still very efficient.

Analyze your own cases
This course takes a context-sensitive approach which is a trademark of the work done at the Philosophy Section of Delft University of Technology. Through the assignments in this course, professionals will be able to analyze their own cases and examples, and apply the course materials provided to those cases. Instructors with outstanding track records in Philosophy of Technology and Design for Values will provide personalized feedback drawing on their philosophical expertise as well as their long-term collaborations with engineers and designers.

Learn from world-class experts:
  • Interaction via group case studies.
  • Feedback on final assignment/paper.
  • 'face-to-face' meetings on campus or via skype.
  • Personalized feedback throughout the course.
This is the right course for engineers who:
  • Want to increase their knowledge on how to integrate moral and societal values into their work.
  • Plan to obtain the Chartered Engineer qualification of The Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers (KIVI).
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
  • Apply value-sensitive-design as a way to integrate values into the design of your own technology and/or project
  • Recognize how values play a role in design processes
  • Identify the different stakeholders in the design process
  • Translate values into design requirements using the 'values hierarchy'
  • Recognize value conflicts in design
  • Develop strategies for overcoming value conflicts in design

Through a combination of short online lectures given by design and innovation experts, practical exercises, webinars and individualized feedback, you will learn the concept and principles of Design for Values and how to use this approach effectively for the organization's innovation strategy and societal responsibilities.

This course provides you with the tools to design in such a way as to increase the ethical value of your products. In the assignments, you will have the opportunity to apply the course materials and tools to your own design practices. In this way, you can directly put Design for Values into practice. You will also have the ability to discuss opportunities and difficulties with the instructors and fellow participants through the online forum.

Your Learning Platform
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Course Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction to Design for Values
In this week, you will get an introduction into the history and methodology of Design for Values, as well as exploring the ways in which ethical values influence design processes.

Week 2: Investigation into values
This week we will discuss different ways of investigating values; conceptual, empirical and technical. You will make your own plan for value research.

Week 3: Weighing values
This week will discuss 'the values hierarchy', a tool for translating values into design requirements. We will then discuss how to deal with value conflicts.

Week 4 and 5: Integration assignment
In these weeks, you will independently integrate the lessons of previous weeks, and work on one case (product, design process or technology) through the 'Design for Values' lens.

Assignments & Assessment

The aim of this course is to put Design for Values into one's own working practice. Therefore, the assignments in this course invite professionals to bring in their own case, and apply the tools and course materials provided to those cases.

Feedback will be provided by the teachers on selected assignments with the aim of deepening understanding of the theory as well as improving its application.

Literature and Study Material

Literature for this course will be provided on the course online platform.



If you successfully complete the course you will earn a Professional Education Certificate and you are eligible to receive 2.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

Chartered Engineer qualification

This course can be part of your portfolio to meet the formal education requirements required to both obtain and maintain the Chartered Engineer qualification licensed by KIVI. This course can be taken either as part of Initial Professional Development (IPD) or of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) stages. See all our online courses for engineers that correspond to the required competencies determined by KIVI.
This course corresponds to competencies B3 ('Implement design solutions, taking into account critical constraints') and E3 ('Operate and act responsibly, taking into account the need to progress environmental, social and economic outcome simultaneously') determined by KIVI.


This course is primarily geared towards working professionals. Some familiarity with design processes and design thinking is recommended.

Admission process
In order to complete your admission process you will be asked to upload the following document:

  • a copy of your passport or ID card (no driver's license)


If you have any questions about this course or the TU Delft online learning environment, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an email.

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