Eileen Mandir

Managing complexity - How to work around a fuzzy briefing?

2022-10 • Design Management, Design Process, Project Management, Design Methodology, Design Research
Cover photo
Students playing the snowflake game - an exercise for introducing teams to agile project management @Faculty for design, University of Applied Sciences Munich


The Corona pandemic has greatly changed students’ working and living habits. Remote and hybrid teaching have now become part of everyday life, even without lockdowns. The Studentenwerk München (Munich Student Services) would like to realign its university catering and adapt it to the new situation that students not only study and eat on campus, but also flexibly at home. For this reason, the current service offer consisting of Mensa, StuBistro, StuCafe and StuLounge is to be expanded to include a service for catering at home for students.

In this course, students go through the basics of design management: robust design processes and methodology, managing team dynamics, understanding organisational settings and stakeholders, research tools for markets, customers, cultural phenomena, in order to formulate a concise rebriefing.

The focus is on trying out new methods and deepen the understanding of design management as an essential part of a professional designer’s life. The topic “Mensa at home” serves as a real-life example that confronts the students with lots of complexity and fuzzyness. Students need to find and defend their own point-of-view and learn how to compellingly communicate their concepts and formulate a strategy.

Students were asked to work in groups. The engagement with the methods and the topic could be expressed through a variety of forms that the students could choose themselves, e.g. solutions / concepts ranged from apps to campaigns, cooperations, services, blogs, communities.

Fakultät für Design, Hochschule München
BA "Industrial Design" and BA "Kommunikationsdesign", interdisciplinary students from 3. semester
Fall 2022
Prof. Dr. Eileen Mandir
Guest speakers:
Christoph Rauscher (Senior Manager at Tangity Studio), Daniel Kurfess (Founder Zest Labs), Julia Peglow (Design Strategist, Author), Johannes Maas (Senior UX & Service Designer at Tangity Studio)

Article and selected student projects