Industriell design

ph.d.-program (doktorgrad)

Industriell design


Foto: Hedvig Kvassheim

Om programmet

Om ph.d.-studiet i industriell design

Primærkontakt for doktorgradsstudiet i industriell design er Institutt for design.
Forskningsaktiviteten ved instituttet er sterkt knyttet til doktorgrads-utdanningen.

Våre forskningsområder:

  • Designteori og andre temaer

  • Interaksjondesign

  • Bærekraftig design

  • Helse

  • Industriell design

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Følgende har disputert:

Følgende har disputert:




Marie Hebrok

Marie Hebrok

Food Waste: A practice-oriented design for sustainability approach



Summary of the thesis


This dissertation develops a practice-oriented design for sustainability (PODS) approach to explore opportunities for reducing household food waste by design. Through this approach it has produced narratives of current and possible future food-related practices that have been co-created with participants in order to elicit opportunities for design interventions. The narratives provide insights into how food waste occurs within the flow and rhythm of everyday life, how it is entangled in a web of interrelated practices and conflicting ideals, and how practices could be reconfigured in the future by design - imagining not only incremental innovations but also new ways of food consumption. Moreover, in light of the food waste case, it reflects on what the theoretical underpinnings of PODS mean for current and future ways of addressing sustainable consumption issues by design.

Two routes towards reducing food waste by design are identified, which are not mutually exclusive. The first route consists of product-level and product-service-level innovations, such as the ones that can already be seen in packaging, labelling, fridge/freezer technology, apps, box scheme services and online grocery shopping services. The second route entails reimagining and reconfiguring food-related practices more profoundly. This route involves rethinking how we go about provisioning for food, when and where we eat, how and where food is stored, etc.

The research presented in this dissertation has implications for actors working on issues related to sustainable consumption in general and on household food waste and food consumption in particular. It can be of interest to policymakers, non-governmental organisations, various actors in the food industry, and to commercial and public innovators of products and services seeking to contribute to sustainable consumption. 

By making explicit the elements which practices entail and how they cause inertia and represent opportunities for change, it is argued that social practice theory provides a framework for increasing understanding and unpacking the complexity inherent in the role of practices in wicked design problems. Furthermore, that providing these insights enables us to approach the design problem in both incremental and radical ways, moving from ideas of product/service-user interactions to ideas of new ways of living. 

The dissertation is based on a total of four articles: three peer-reviewed and published journal articles, and one submitted journal article. The research has been conducted in Norway.




The role of consumer behaviour towards reducing waste of fresh bread: Sustainable packaging development in an industrial perspective.

This thesis is conducted through the Industrial PhD programme funded by the Norwegian Research Council, and I have been employed at Norgesmøllene. Cernova, our mother company owns Mesterbakeren, the industrial bakery that supplies all Rema 1000 stores in Norway with freshly baked bread and this is the background for conducting this research.

Food waste and possible solutions towards reducing food waste particularly on consumer level has been a rising topic in the society the last decade. The Global Food Waste Report shows that out of all food produced globally, as much as 30-50% goes to waste, causing significant negative environmental impacts.

The thesis explores the role of how consumer behaviour, shopping habits and preferences influence the waste of fresh bread on household level and how sustainable packaging development may contribute towards reducing edible waste of bread at home. Insight on consumer behaviour

The studies on consumer behaviour and preferences were conducted through a variety of methods and empirical data on this shown in the papers. The study from the large web-based survey included topics like how much bread they wasted, preferences for bread, storing habits, shopping behaviours and environmental consciousness. Population characteristics were also collected. This study showed that there are significant differences between the groups who state that they waste no bread at home and the groups who state that they waste 7 sleeves of bread (or more) each week. These groups represent the Low-Wasters and High-Wasters. We see that these groups have different population characteristics, shopping patterns and behaviours towards both packaging and handling the bread at home. Low-Wasters state that they have strategies to avoid waste of edible bread, like freezing parts of the bread or using a toaster when the bread is dry.

Aspects of how the packaging for freshly baked bread may influence the freshness of the bread were studied on several levels: material properties, how the consumer perceives the packaging, how the packaging works in production and how new materials might affect the freshness of the bread. Different packaging materials have different barrier properties that affect how long the bread will keep fresh. This was studied at RISE PFI material laboratory, in baking and storing tests at Nofima and through consumer pilot tests. The results of these studies show the benefits of working interdisciplinary and systematically with different research methods.

The studies conducted through web-based survey, in-store observation and interviews showed that most consumers re-pack the bread either in the store by the bread-cutting machine or at home. Disclosing this information is important, as it clearly indicates that the consumer does not think the packaging provided by the bakery is suitable or good enough, or do it just out of habit or because the option is so obviously provided. The consumers may choose to add an extra plastic bag on each bread they buy, resulting in a use of plastic that could be avoided had the packaging for bread been better suited. This study has given us a better understanding of how consumers view today’s packaging options and how different materials performed. Two new packaging materials for packing freshly baked bread were tested. These new bags were designed in the same way as existing paper bags for industrial bakeries to make sure they would work in production. The practical pilot tests found several benefits from changing the packaging. Particularly the second test showed that the use of the new bag resulted in less waste of edible bread during the three days the test lasted. Empirical data on the effects of packaging and food waste prevention by consumers and the environmental impact of bread production in Norway is given in the papers.

Combining qualitative research methods from the design field and quantitative research has provided rich data that can be used as a knowledge base in future industry projects. Until now there has been little or no research aiming specifically towards the waste of edible bread on consumer level, and the contribution of this research is therefore increasing the knowledge on consumer behaviour related to this. In addition, this research gives a contribution towards developing sustainable packaging options through an industrial perspective.

Future studies should research whether introducing improved packaging for this food group would change consumer behaviour and hence potentially reduce the use of plastic bags and waste of edible bread and potentially reduce the environmental impact. Furthermore, research on new materials is important as well as exploring this field wider than has been possible in this project. Designing packaging that is suitable for recycling should be prioritized to ensure a sensible utilization of materials. In the work towards a more environmentally sustainable future it is obvious that edible food waste on consumer level needs to be reduced. Future research should include several stakeholders like the food industry and packaging developers to ensure that proposed new solutions are at all possible to implement on a larger scale. Changes needs to be made several places in the value chain to reduce edible food waste and it is important to acknowledge that the responsibility is shared. One cannot alone blame the industry or the consumer, - there is an entire value chain that share the responsibility to work towards a more sustainable system.

Because this research has been conducted within a commercially driven company in a competitive market, there are some topics and results not disclosed or discussed in this thesis.

KEYWORDS: food waste, edible food waste, sustainability, packaging, design for sustainability, bread, consumer behavior.

Faheem Ali

Faheem Ali

Text will follow




Raphaëlle Stewart

Raphaëlle Stewart forsvarte sin doktorgrad ved institutt for design, NTNU den 20. mars 2019: 

"Integration of Sustainability Approaches in Companies: An Exploration of Narratives and Internal Organizational Functioning”

Intensively discussed in the international scene, as illustrated with the Sustainable Development Goals launched by the United Nations, sustainable development and sustainability have been well established as central topics for our societies. Recent scientific work urges to reduce environmental sustainability pressures so that Earth’s life-supporting functions can be maintained, and economies and societies nested in the Earth system can keep thriving. The role of companies in supporting the transition towards sustainable societies has been emphasized by researchers, policy-makers and companies themselves. In this context, companies increasingly develop their own sustainability approaches. Sustainability approaches can take various forms such as environmental management, sustainable supply chain management, and cleaner production. In this PhD project, a product life cycle perspective was taken, which relates to viewing companies as the major providers of goods and services (hereafter referred to as “products”), with their embedded life cycles, in our economies. The decisions made during the product development activities have typically been considered to determine a large share of products’ environmental sustainability impacts along their life cycle. Hence, companies have a key role to play through the development and delivery of products, which is the focus of ecodesign research. Sustainability approaches can be researched on different layers, ranging from internal organizational functioning, over operational sustainability practices and companies’ narratives, to functioning of the overall business ecosystem. In this PhD project, sustainability approaches from a product life cycle perspective were researched based on two different layers of sustainability approaches, namely company narratives and internal organizational functioning.

Together, the two tracks of this PhD project had in common to allow “getting closer to companies”- to the companies’ understanding of how to best present their sustainability efforts, and to the companies’ internal organizational functioning, respectively. This PhD research provides complementary insights on how to strengthen the integration of sustainability approaches in industry, from a product life cycle perspective. The first track identified the need for an increased use of life cycle thinking in companies’ narratives for critical analyses and reflections about existing product life cycle systems, and the environmental sustainability challenges they are associated with. The second track paved the way for further testing of the analytical and practical value of the four-lens view of organizations to investigate and support ecodesign integration in companies, with a broad horizon of what internal organizational functioning entails. These two tracks were conducted independently to a great extent, and opportunities for their cross-linking are outlined for future research.



Disputas Anne Carlijn Vis

Anne Carlijn Vis forsvarte sin doktorgradsavhandling 3. desember 2018:

”Matching Intentions with Experience – a Human-Centered Service Design Approach to Shared Decision Making ”

Demographic change towards an older population and increasing prevalence of life-style related diseases lead to changing needs for medical care. Simultaneously, medical practice is moving away from paternalistic decision making. Patients and their next-of-kin are increasingly invited to become active agents in treatment decisions. This practice is called Shared Decision Making (SDM).

Chronic Kidney Failure (CKF) is used as an example to investigate the implementation of SDM practice in chronic care. SDM is being promoted among others in Norway (Leivestad, 2013) and the United States. However, a systematic review that covered studies from various countries, conveyed that patients with CKF and their next-of-kin have frequently reported a lack of choice. Moreover, others have claimed that best practices on effective approaches to information dissemination and knowledge acquisition for patients with CKF are lacking. Furthermore, regarding SDM in general, there is a need to investigate how patients and their next-of-kin are best supported in making a choice, as only providing information is not enough.

The aim of this thesis is to reach a better understanding of aspects that can support the (re)design of pre-treatment education and decision-support programs for chronic patients and their next-of-kin. This is done by investigating existing interventions that provide pretreatment education and/or decision support to patients and their next-of-kin from a humancentred design perspective. Emphasis is placed on the situation in Norway.



Disputas Martha Skogen

6. juni 2017 forsvarte Martha Skogen sin doktoravhandling:

"Do You See What I See? Investigations into the Underlying Parameters of Visual Simplicity"

Motivated by a longstanding interest in timeless design, this research focused on visual simplicity due to its potential as a core value of a design’s longevity. Multiple studies were conducted to investigate how people view, interpret, and understand visual stimuli, with simplicity as a fundamental aesthetic approach. The research goal was to uncover what the underlying components of visual simplicity may be, and how people judge those components. The research into visual simplicity is rooted in the following questions: 

I. What is visual simplicity and what are the graphic design parameters that determine it?

II. How do people interpret visual simplicity?

III. Does everyone agree?

The range of visual stimuli tested here included aspects of the real world as well as the computer realm. The stimuli included (in order): CD covers, architecture and/or public spaces, miniaturized poster art, graphical user interface (‘GUI’) screen layouts and GUI icons. The initial studies included adult participants only. Results revealed a consistency in responses: In both the real world and GUI realms, adults answered consistently that “simple” design meant a scant amount of detail and minimal use of line, color, and other graphic design parameters— whereas “complicated” visual design meant the opposite. For adults, there seemed to be a reliable set of design parameters that when combined, elicited a “simple” or “complicated” response to a visual design, regardless of media. However, the final set of studies revealed an unforeseen phenomenon: youths ( ≤ age 13) did not respond consistently with adults. In general, youths did not consistently associate detail-scant GUI icons with simplicity, but in many cases with being more complicated. This revealed a possibility that people go through a period of transition during which they change their interpretations of minimalized, abstracted imagery and then associate those characteristics with being “simple”. This phenomenon led to a discussion regarding the potential existence of ‘visual archetypes’ and how they might be interpreted by viewers of various ages. ‘Visual archetypes’ refer to a design that uses the least amount of visual information required to communicate the message.

The contributions of this doctoral research include:
• expanded awareness of design parameters that are associated with the relationship between visual Simplicity-Complicated
• insight into the emotional aspects connected with visual Simplicity-Complicated
• awareness that not all viewers interpret Simplicity-Complicated identically (age-based differences were revealed—there may be other differences)
• recognition of the possibility for unintentional design presumptions
• discussion of visual archetypes

This research contributes to the design community by demonstrating that people can interpret design differently than designers might presume and/or intend. Although the research raises awareness of potential interpretive differences between children and (primarily) midlife adults, the discussion can perhaps apply to seniors as well. Importantly, the research revealed that children are highly capable interpreters of our culturally- and computer-based visual information.



Daniela Blauhaut

Daniela Blauhaut forsvarte sin doktoravhandling 10. mai 2016:

«Handheld devices for use within integrated operations in the petroleum industry»

Handheld devices have been used for several years in integrated operations in the petroleum industry. There is little knowledge of the effects of their design on efficient and safe plant operation, however. Moreover, little is known about how operators evaluate design and usability of mobile devices to support their work. The objective of this research work is to investigate how the design of handheld devices affects working routines to facilitate efficient and safe operations at gas processing plants and to what extent their use improve current procedures and satisfies users’ needs.

For the purpose of creating design criteria for future product development, the research includes the collection and analysis of data on existing collaborative work practices in safety critical environments and evaluation studies of handheld devices that are currently used by operators on Norwegian land facilities. The criteria are based on theory and interviews, observation material, and video data from three ethnographic fieldwork studies conducted at the Ormen Lange and Hammerfest LNG onshore processing plants. The data were analysed using techniques from ethnographic analysis, video analysis, and design. The thesis seeks to show relationships by taking a holistic view of human-computer interaction (HCI). It brings interaction with the real world - including sensory experience - into the focus of attention when designing future products. Creative decisions, in particular for mobile communication technologies, should be based upon theoretical considerations of the life world, embodiment, and Gestalt theory as well as on frameworks such as Distributed cognition and Activity theory because they are important for correct and effective use of technical devices. Handheld devices used in industrial contexts should be designed to support task performance rather than device performance. To succeed, the focus should, on the one hand, be on physical space in which work is done and on established procedures. On the other hand, user experiences and behavioural patterns as well as users’ mobility should be taken into account. A logical outcome of this is simplification of technology complexity.

The aim of this research work is not to provide innovative technology but rather to emphasise the impacts of mobile technologies on people and business goals as well as on the physical and social environment in which technologies are used. The thesis is written from a design perspective and suggests aims for the design of handheld devices for use in the oil and gas industry. It presents a complex theoretical and empirical research and shows the dimensions that must be considered when designing seemingly small devices in order to meet their requirements. To answer the problem statement of the thesis, material from the fields of philosophy, cognitive science, and design theory was used and related to the empirical data collected from fieldwork studies. Based on a comprehensive design and context analysis, knowledge about handheld devices used in a hazardous work setting and information about user experiences is presented and data on the activity system of field operators provided. Finally, design criteria for handheld devices are suggested and three concepts of mobile devices evaluated to identify their opportunities and challenges.

The research results show why it is necessary to design mobile technology from a user’s perspective. There is, however, a need for more empirical research in time-constrained, datadrive environments where people are required to perceive data rapidly in fast-paced situations. In order to provide people with well-designed equipment, human aspects will have to play a greater role in technology development and in design and engineering sciences.



Brita Fladvad Nielsen

Brita Fladvad Nielsen forsvarte sin doktoravhandling den 27. oktober 2015 ved NTNU:


When we are searching for knowledge about other peoples and reasons, it is largely motivated by an underlying need to understand ourselves. In humanitarian aid we want to know, how we can provide the most help. Even after decades with a lack of clear evidence that aid helps, and knowing the dependencies and corruption it may feed, we do not discuss whether we should help, we keep searching for a better way to help. Perhaps desperately, we want to find a way for communities to reach our level of wellbeing. Individually, we want know that what we do matters.
Humanitarian staff seek a way to save lives. Refugees want services that will take them out of the refugee camp. The socioeconomic development of the refugee depends on the opportunities given, while the socioeconomic development of the region and larger context surrounding the refugee camp depends on stimulating the dynamic between the agendas in the larger picture. A missing link between the concern and effect is how knowledge flows between the relevant stakeholder groups. Knowing how separate agendas can link to affect humanitarian values requires the acknowledgment of the refugee and the host community as stakeholders in humanitarian action, and a consideration of where information is accessible within the system.
While humanitarian organizations, NGO stakeholders and many enterprises want to help, they are not aware of the extent and the significance of systemic and contextual problems inherent in the refugee’s situation. Humanitarian customers do not have a routine method for providing this information. Refugees do not know how to get out of their situation in the constructed refugee camp reality; one that promises personal development but rejects real opportunities. Humanitarian staff in the refugee camps want to help but cannot because of lack of power, lack of influence in decision making and lack of information access and knowledge.
This research has provided a way to understand humanitarian action on a small and large scale. Depending on which part of humanitarian action one wishes to effect, Agenda Spaces can be useful when desiring to affect longer term products and services within humanitarian action. The resulting framework helps distinguish design for humanitarian action focusing on low resource settings from other design challenges such as design for the bottom of the pyramid or design for marginalized populations.

Alf Ove Braseth

23. januar 2015, forsvarte Alf Ove Braseth sin doktorgradsavhandling:

"Information-Rich Design:
A Concept for Large-Screen Display Graphics: Design Principles and Graphic Elements for Real-World Complex Processes"

The objective in this thesis research is to mitigate two problems, which are typically experienced by control room operators monitoring large-scale processes in centralized control rooms: 
i) How to design for rapid perception of industrial-scale data sets? 
ii) How to avoid keyhole effects in complex processes? 
In this thesis, these problems are approached through research into Large-Screen Display (LSD) design; the contribution is a concept named Information-Rich Design (IRD).The concept is not domain specific, and it is useable typically for nuclear and petroleum industries. IRD can be used as a starting point for user-centred design, as opposed to approaching the problem from the technology end first. 
The thesis research is based on a broad perspective, through interaction design research methods: design exploration, design studies and design practice. Design exploration was done on a small-scale early in the research process, and later through three complete LSD applications. The first two LSDs were implemented on full-scale nuclear simulators, and the most recent was implemented for an operational nuclear research reactor. Crews of certified control room operators have provided feedback for design in an iterative research process. 
Design studies were based on findings from basic, applied and clinical research: 
(1) human capabilities and characteristics 
(2) principles for information visualization 
(3) findings from human-computer interaction 
(4) research from other related display concepts
Design practice from applying IRD commercially in Norwegian petroleum industry was fed back into the concept. The thesis research suggests that LSDs should be designed from the ground-up, acting as a stable frame of reference for process monitoring, leaving details for desktop workstations. Research found that larger displays should support bottom-up data driven processes by presenting process data as simple visual patterns, suitable for rapid visual perception. Further, LSDs should support operators in top-down search for information, and aim to avoid keyhole effects through externalized graphics, which do not load limited visual memory resources. Graphics should reduce visual complexity by creating visual hierarchies, giving critical information the most prominent visual salience, while avoiding masking primary data from less important information. Based on this, the contribution for LSD designs, are design principles and accompanying graphics. The IRD concept is theoretically validated, and externally validated through industrial applications and user tests. 



Johannes Ludvig Zachrisson Daae

Johannes Ludvig Zachrisson Daae forsvarte sin doktoravhandling 29. april 2014, ved NTNU:

"Informing Design for Sustainable Behaviour"

This doctoral thesis is written for design practitioners and researchers who are interested in how the design of products can make people use them in the most sustainable way.
The main purpose of the thesis is to describe how the individual pieces of research described in the published papers, together contribute to answering the research questions and contribute to new insight to the research field.

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Gradsnivå: Ph.d.
Studieprogramkode: PHDESIG
Normert studietid: 3 år
Campus: Gløshaugen, Trondheim
Søknadsfrist: Rullerende opptak


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