Research group Co-design

Co-design is a method that bridges the gap between the technical and social environments. Technology is becoming more user-friendly through the involvement of end users as early as possible in the design of new techniques. This forces designers to live in the world of the end user. The research group is concerned mainly with co-design in healthcare and technology.

Developing new products is becoming increasingly complex, because of the technology used, global competition and the interconnectedness of products, services and infrastructure. Successfully innovating products is therefore not just about the smart use of technology. It is also about the link between the ‘world of technical products’ and the ‘social world of men and women’.

The research group wants the concept of co-design to contribute to innovations that enable people to take better care of themselves, of others and of the environment. The guiding themes are innovation using the experience of the end-user and multi-disciplinary cooperation. The projects focus on the areas of Sustainability, Healthcare & Technology and Creative Industries. HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht has chosen these fields as research priority areas.

Co-design brings together actors with different input, perspectives and competencies to address a specific problem. The ‘co-’ in co-design signifies ‘collaboration' between stakeholders in the process.

Engineering and technology students want to make the research group familiar with the principle of co-design and the associated design methods. So that further down the line when they become professionally practising engineers, they are able to bring together the technological and social worlds.

Research areas

The Co-design research group focuses on three areas of research:

  • Tools and methods for SMEs.
    The research group examines how we can make the co-design tools and methods used in large companies and organizations suitable for use in small and medium-sized businesses across the whole product and service development process.
  • Shared understanding about goals.
    Technical innovation is a process of communication between the various disciplines involved. One crucial condition for success is arriving at a shared understanding of the goals and how to achieve them. The research group examines how the perspective of the end-user promotes shared understanding between participants in innovation projects.
  • What is the value of co-design?
    The research group considers how co-design contributes to a product or service innovation, in terms of processes or outcomes. This can include both objective and subjective components.

Co-design in healthcare and technology

Current problems in healthcare require radical new solutions. Technology can play an important role here. But successful innovation is more than just about the smart use of technology. It is also about creating a link between the technical world of products and the social world of men and women. A co-design approach can help to bridge these differences in perspective. Read more about co-design in healthcare and technology.

Results for co-design

Co-design not only results in new products and services. It also leads to greater acceptance among users and it saves time and money. Moreover, co-design leads to better quality of healthcare and quality of life for both the recipient of care and the caregiver. Read more about the results of co-design.


Most projects are led by the research groups at the Faculty of Health Care at HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht. The Co-design research group has a specific role in the design of interventions. A co-design approach can contribute to innovation in healthcare at various phases in the design process.



Visiting address:
Padualaan 99
3584 CH Utrecht

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 182
3500 AD Utrecht

Phone: 0618345992