Seven Innovation | Positive Design
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Our approach is called Positive Design – design that creates means for increasing people’s happiness. We blend human understanding available in (positive) psychology with the creative and strategic mindset of design thinking. We strongly believe innovation processes can greatly benefit from scientific research on human experience. After all, design is about people, and the better we understand them, the better design solutions we can create.
The philosophy behind Positive Design has been developed by leading researchers from the Delft University of Technology and the Delft Institute of Positive Design. We further developed this approach by being active in both the research community and the design consultancy world.


Positive Design Framework

In our masterclasses and workshops we use the Positive Design Framework, developed by researchers Pieter Desmet and Anna Pohlmeyer, from the Delft University of Technology and the Delft Institute of Positive Design. This framework comprises three main components of subjective well-being: pleasure, personal significance and virtue, and proposes that subjective well-being can be achieved through design that integrates all three.

Positive Design Framework
Desmet & Pohlmeyer (2013)

“Some think theory to be a dry and tedious affair. It is not, because “there is nothing more practical than a good theory”. What is tedious, though, is looking up all those theories. From now on, this is no longer a chore, because you are holding them in your hands; twenty-nine gems from psychology and design, which will certainly inform your next project, or even better, inspire you to read on!”

Marc Hassenzahl
Author of Experience Design:
Technology for all the right reasons

Positive Design Reference Guide

In collaboration with the Delft Institute of Positive Design, we edited and published the Positive Design Reference Guide. The guide focuses on the why, what and how of human experience – both in general, and in relation to design for well-being. This guide elaborates on questions such as:


  How does design mediate, facilitate, or foster user well-being?


  What are the universal principles of human experience? 


A wealth of insight about human experience and well-being can be found in psychology, whose literature represents an inexhaustible source of inspiring principles. Yet such literature comes with its own challenge: where to start? The sheer number of publications is overwhelming. Most practitioners and students simply do not have enough time to extensively identify the most useful theories for their project at hand. The Positive Design Reference Guide was made to provide designers with a quick entry point into the variety of theories that can be relevant for well-being-driven design. It comprises 29 models, theories and frameworks, separated into two sections. The first section presents a collection of theories drawn from (positive) psychology, and the second section presents a collection of theories and frameworks drawn from (positive) design research. Each theory is introduced with a short summary and a list key of publications that will offer more extensive explanations.


The guide is available at the website of the Delft Institute of Positive design: