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Many organisations in Zeeland are looking to optimise the way they work and the impact they make. At the same time, HZ researchers are developing expertise that can help them do so. In the minor HZ Innovation Studio you contribute to real life projects by means of one of the two tracks; design thinking or applied research.

In design thinking, you are coming up with inspiring ideas in co-creation with fellow students and project stakeholders. In applied research, you immerse yourself in a particular subject in cooperation with a research group. Regardless the track you choose, you will learn to take ownership of your project(s), investigate, manage your time and work together with students from different study programmes and cultures. What we do in our Innovation Studio contributes to a positive impact in relation to regional development by either specific innovation projects or challenging research questions. 

Design thinking track
Design thinking projects you can work on are for example improving business processes in hotels, creating circular business models for campsites or designing healthy living methods for regional residents. You participate in several projects at the same time in different teams. You will learn to apply the Design Thinking approach in each challenge you face. Together with your team, you start by discovering and defining the problem. Then you generate ideas for a solution. During this entire process, you and your team work closely with your project client. In some projects you may not only make suggestions for improvement, but will take part in realising the actual change.

Applied research track
When you choose applied research, you will work in close collaboration with HZ researchers on a range of relevant topics. You practice your applied research skills and gain expertise in cases that require urgent and valuable knowledge, resulting from empirical studies.

  • Energy Transition
  • Water Technology
  • Biobased Building
  • Circulair Economy
  • Going Green
  • Marine Biobased Chemistry
  • HZenzor
  • Climate Adaptation

You can read more about the different research projects in the drop-down menu at HZ Studio | HZ University of Applied Sciences.

You can submit your area of interest at Together, we will look for a suitable research project.

Structure minor
The Innovation Studio is a collaborative environment where everybody shares thoughts and opinions. You figure out your own steps and discuss progress with your coach. For both the design thinking projects track as for the applied research track, we have suggested steps, tools, inspiration and coaching at hand. Furthermore, your fellow students are here to assist and motivate you as well. The strong sense of community and regular social activities stimulate creativity and wellbeing.


  • You invest in getting to know and understand all associated stakeholders for the benefit of the output and process.

  • You contribute to a collaborative environment in which everybody feels at ease to share thoughts and opinions.

  • You can apply Design Thinking and share the output in a clear manner, or;

  • You conduct relevant research and collect and analyse data that are suitable for the required insights.

  • You take leadership in your own development. You give and receive feedback on your own functioning and experiment with different perspectives and worldviews.

  • You know how to collaborate with persons outside your own (scientific) domain, institute, culture or context.


This minor is open to students from all programmes at all universities of applied sciences.

You must have completed the propedeuse and 30 credits in the main phase.

This is an English language minor. When you follow the Applied Research track, some available research projects are in Dutch.

Credits: 15 or 30 (customised is also possible)


For the applied research track, we have numours online sources and methodology books in our studio available. The following books are recommended for the design thinking track (you can borrow them from the Innovation Studio library):

  • Lewrick, M., Link, P., & Leifer, L. (2020). The design thinking toolbox: A guide to mastering the most popular and valuable innovation methods. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Borges, C. C., & McNamee, S. (2022). Design thinking and social construction: a practical guide to innovation in research. BIS Publishers.


  • You are at the HZ Innovation Studio for at least 6 half days during the minor. This is a creative work space in the HZ Tower, with free coffee and tea.

  • For the applied research project track, it might be the case that for some time you have a workplace at the particular research group.

  • It is possible to obtain your credits during the same semester or spread over two semesters.


A variety of testing takes place, depending on the amount of credits you take. Tests for the full minor are:

  • Individual update. You share your plans and outcomes on your own chosen personal development ideas, ambitions and actions. In a vlog or blog you reflect on the entire period and development in The Garage.

  • Contribution portfolio. You create a portfolio with your log and proof of your leadership skills as well as your cooperation with others. In this, you also address boundary crossing competencies.

  • Project output and process. You share your project work such as reports, workshops, flyers or presentations, and of the process by means of interview reports and minutes. You also reflect on the process of Design Thinking and/or your research.

Aanvullende informatie

HZ has study programmes in Vlissingen and Middelburg. Students from all over the world study here. We think it is important that you get the best out of yourself and develop your talents. At HZ, you matter.

Do you have any questions? Or would you like to discuss whether this minor suits you? We will be happy to help. You can contact Jessica Borgs at