PhD project
November 2011 – March 2017
Supervisory team: Pieter Desmet (promotor) and Elif Ozcan-Vieira (co-promotor)
Contact: Deger Ozkaramanli
Current position: Assistant Professor, University of Twente
Email: d.ozkaramanli[a]

Our everyday life is saturated with personal dilemmas. Do I really want that extra piece of pie even though I am trying to maintain a slim waistline? Should I really pursue that job offer at the expense of spending less time with my family? We experience a dilemma when we are faced with two choices, both of which up on upon our personal concerns, but at the same time, we cannot simultaneously have or do both options. Because of this, we experience both positive and negative emotions toward each choice.

Dilemma-driven design is a design approach supported by a collection of methods and tools that guide design students and practitioners in recognizing and capturing dilemmas in contextual research, and generating ideas for products and services to address these dilemmas in multiple different ways. This collection of methods and tools complement conceptual design activities at the so-called fuzzy front end of design processes. In this phase, dilemma-driven design helps generate genuine empathy for people’s deeply-held aspirations and values, and it stimulates innovation through using the creative potential of conflict as a central concept. Dilemma-driven design has so far been implemented in numerous international workshops, master-level graduation projects and large-scale innovation projects. Deger Ozkaramanli continues to research and expand dilemma-driven design as an assistant professor at the University of Twente.

Download the PhD thesis titled: Me against myself: Addressing personal dilemmas through design

For more information on dilemma-driven design, visit

For publications on dilemma-driven design, follow me on ResearchGate