University of Gothenburg

About us

Business & Design Lab (BDL) is a research centre founded by the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts and the School of Business, Economics and Law. Under the lead of Director Elena Raviola, BDL has a redefined its purpose during 2020 opening up for research in AI and technology.

Business & Design Lab was formed as a five-year project in 2006 and became a formal centre, as an interfaculty research unit within the university on January 1, 2011. As such it belongs to a small group of more or less similar cross disciplinary approaches of business and design in different parts of Europe, US, Asia and Australia.

The purpose of Business & Design Lab is to support research between the fields of design and business studies to engage in the surrounding communities to contribute to its development as a growing and more sustainable region - with help of design.

We experiment with new approaches in the relation between research and education, especially in relation to the new Master's programme in Embedded Design, and in a pedagogy that benefits from the design process, its artistic and exploratory devices and tools.

HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design is the host department for BDL.

Photo: Johan Wingborg

Torsten and Wanja Söderberg's professorship in Design Management

Torsten and Wanja Söderberg's professorship in Design Management will develop new knowledge and new practices in the meeting between artistic design practice, scientific theory, practice in management and business economics. Subject orientation may change over time, but should always be in the areas of design and economics. The professorship is not limited in time.

In 2007, the Torsten Söderberg Foundation donated SEK 40 million to the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts and the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg.

Elena Raviola, holder of the professorship

Elena Raviola, researcher at HDK-Valand, is the holder of the professorship since September 1, 2018.

Former holders:

  • Lisbeth Svengren Holm
  • Ulla Johansson

History of Business & Design Lab

The Business and Design Lab was formed in 2011 and its formation was linked to the establishment of the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Professorship in Design Management in 2010. The centre is led by the current recipient of the chair and has previously been led by Professor Ulla Johansson and Professor Lisbeth Holm-Svengren.

During the initial years, the Business and Design Lab focused on investigating the value of design and other artistic methods for management and innovation in corporate contexts.  In the second phase of development, the centre has concentrated its research on the role of design in contributing to sustainable development. This new direction has broadened the focus of the centre by being in dialogue also with other art forms present at the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, by developing a mutual exchange relationship between scholars from the arts and business administration and by taking into special consideration digitization.

Business & Design Lab leverages on the local, national and international network of scholars and practitioners interested in the intersection of Design and Business studies.