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The course, designed for managers who want develop transversal skills, useful for designing technological products and services, introduces participants to fundamental concepts for the development of empathic competence applied to new products analysis and design.

Essential cognitive constructs will be present related to how users perceive, understand and process the information contained in a new design driven by intentionality, expectations, cognitive patterns and visual reasoning.

The main idea underneath the workshop is that good design contains an excellent level of complexity and that “good complexity” is associated with a more elegant design and more rewarding user experience. However, this optimal point depends on the ability of users to absorb and process complexity receiving at the same time the expected type and level of performance; hence the need to develop an empathic approach to analyze users’ needs and abilities.

To put this idea into practice, we use a pedagogical approach based on the analysis of artistic and design masterpieces to show how great artists and designers have succeeded in offering users an aesthetic experience that simplifies the distribution of information content eliminating all that is not relevant and significant but at the same time maximizing aesthetic pleasure and practical effectiveness. Participants will learn a set of design heuristics and will be able to apply them to the current design of a new product.

Case studies and academic research materials will be used to provide a practical and advanced understanding of the subject together with art and design workshops and museum visits.


    • Introduce participants to the latest research and current practices supporting perceptual learning, visual thought development, and sense-making processes and user decision heuristics;
    • Apply these concepts and theories to new products analysis and design;
    • Analyze new products from a perspective of complexity with particular attention to the cognitive and emotional heuristics that individuals routinely use in their experience to solve complexity.



Event Schedule

17 luglio - Understanding complexity

Understanding complexity – the sense-making process. This module presents the process of creating meaning and the role of heuristics and prejudices in decision-making processes. In class experiments participants will test the impact of these heuristics on daily decisions.

Coffee break

17 luglio - Thinking like an artist

Thinking like an artist – how mind solves complexity through emotional sense making. This module presents the most important cognitive, perceptive and communicative mechanisms through which the mind creates meaning and represents complexity. We will use examples from cognitive sciences and neuro-aesthetic studies to illustrate examples of how our brain constructs systems for the optimal organization of information (for example symmetry, balance, singularity, dynamic tensions, hyperbola, figure and background, … ).

Lunch break

17 luglio - Structuring complexity

Structuring complexity through language and storytelling.

Coffee break

17 luglio- Photo Walk

An introduction to the Psychology of Perception: PhotoWalk.

18 luglio - Empathy ergonomics

Empathy ergonomics: interfacing complex systems with cognitive processes. In this module we will present examples and cases of how designers simplify social and technical complexity by developing appropriate interfaces (eg ipod navigation system, Nest thermostat, car dashboard) through the search for effective complexity.

Coffe Break

18 luglio - Design Lab

Design Lab. In this workshop the participants will have to develop a small-scale reverse design project. Instructors will present a challenge to the class by involving the class in redesigning a given product interface. The students’ task is to apply visual thinking strategies based on effective complexity to redesign an interface, prepare a model, get feedback through quick interviews with clients.

Lunch Break

18 luglio - An afternoon at the museum

An afternoon at the museum: Galleria Borghese visit – how artists represent complexity.


Jul 17, 2019 @ 9:00 am
Jul 18, 2019 @ 6:00 pm
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Hueval Events
Via Oslavia, 6 (Piazza Mazzini)
Rome, 00195 Italia
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