Master's course

Challenges for Emerging Cities teaches design methods for challenge-driven innovation. Accelerate social change and put an edge to your CV.


Why take Openlab’s Master’s Course?

Our Master’s course Challenges for Emerging Cities (15 or 7,5 Credits) is an interdisciplinary project course based on challenge driven innovation. You will learn and apply Design Thinking in order to develop solutions and innovations to a given societal challenge, on behalf of an external public sector client. You will work in teams with students from different universities, disciplines and backgrounds.

The course is provided by Openlab’s four partner universities Stockholm University, Karolinska Institutet, Södertörn University and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, in collaboration, with challenges from the Stockholm City and Region Stockholm.

“I think this is the most useful course I have taken in my 5 years of studies. The creativity, innovations and solution-oriented approach is something I will keep as a core approach to my work going forward. Highly recommended!”

Former Master’s Course student

We provide a hands-on course that teaches design methods, project management and teamwork skills that will be valuable for your future work or academic studies. All this while you create solutions with the potential drive societal development in the fields of sustainable urban development, health, education and the ageing population.

Learning goals:

  • Learn and apply design methods and tools (Design Thinking) to create innovative solutions to societal challenges
  • Learn and apply project management methods and tools (SCRUM) to an innovation project
  • Solve challenges on behalf of an external public sector client
  • Analyse complex societal challenges from an interdisciplinary and needs-based perspective
  • Develop skills for working in interdisciplinary, international teams
  • Develop skills for presenting an innovation or concept, verbally, visually and in text, such as sketches, prototypes, pitches, presentations and reports
  • Develop a creative, visual, problem-solving mindset towards approaching challenges
  • Develop and evaluate ideas for innovations with the potential to create lasting benefits and value or a specific target group


The challenges in the course are submitted by Stockholm City and Region Stockholm and origins from the four main areas: sustainable urban development, future healthcare, education and the ageing population.


Submit your application to one the the participating universities: KTH, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholms University or Södertörn University, through antagning.se / universityadmissions.se. Click on Application details for information on how to apply.



Course days: Tuesdays and Thursdays
Preliminary dates, autumn semester 2022:
– Course start, August 30th
– Challenge presentations, September 8th
– Halftime presentations, October 27th
– Final presentations, January 12th

Course details

Start period: Period 1
Level: Master
Study pace: 50 %
Daytime: Tuesdays and Thursdays
Language: English
Qualifications: 180 credits
Location: Openlab, Stockholm (Valhallavägen 79, 3rd floor)
Covid-19: We follow recommendations from the Swedish health authorities, the course is run online when the situation so requires.

Previous student projects

Sustainable ageing in Stockholm

Greenology Care

Hur är Läget? – A well-being campaign for young Stockholmers

Kista Library – A library’s wish to engage with the youth

Revitalising interaction with the elderly of Östermalm

Safe Landning

A new chance, a new teammate

Illustration of Sparky, a cheerful cartoon lightbulb.


Illustration of the concept ACT for social sustainability

Safety in residential areas

See more