What is CIID?

An Intro

CIID (Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design), located at the heart of Copenhagen is a multi disciplinary and multi cultural learning and experimentation environment in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is one of the top design schools in the world and one of the few places where you will see technology used as a tool inside art, psychology, music and anything else you can think off.

It is a place where your ability to prototype the most wildest of ideas is limited only by your imagination. Students are pushed to think and design concepts in a way that fosters innovation and people centred design. This short video can help you understand more about CIID and the work that comes out of it:

Moreover, this school gets it right by having your projects emphasized and reviewed instead of having paper based exams that evaluate you. Some of the key mottos of CIID are:

  1. Build, test, repeat: Build the concept, test it out and repeat it again with the new learnings.
  2. Fake it to make it: Fake the concept as if it was real until you finally bring it to the world.
  3. Trust the process: Keep your faith in the process and structure of learning.

Simona Maschi heads the Interaction Design Programme and is also the co-founder of the school. Founded in 2006, this school has an expert network that includes people like Bill Verplank (who coined the term ‘Interaction Design’ with Bill Moggridge), Massimo Banzi (co-founder of Arduino), Matt Cottam (co-founder of Tellart), David Rose (Instructor at MIT Media Lab and serial entrepreneur), and many more experts from around the world.

Life at CIID

Life at CIID is pretty fast paced. We are 23 students or professionals from various fields who come from 17 different countries around the world. We can collectively speak 17 different languages and in the age group of 23-40. Every week we get to learn new topics with experts in that field who fly down to Copenhagen. We start our Mondays off with a breakfast with the teachers and students.

Here, focus is given on learning by making, so whatever we learn, we apply and test it on a rough prototype. And we use the learnings to then build a project as a team and present it to the whole CIID family on Friday. Soon after the presentation we also have a reflection and feedback session with the teachers to share our insights from the class. This is then followed by beers and chips where the teachers and students come together and relax to get ready for the weekend. This is the usual structure of a week at CIID. Moreover, during every second Tuesday, we also get to have amazing lunches with everyone in the CIID family that is prepared by Moises, our office manager at CIID and our go to guy for everything.

We also get to attend open lectures that happen at the school usually at 5pm on Wednesdays and which are also open to the public. During these sessions, we get to learn more about particular topics through experts in that field who come down to share them with us and also provides opportunity to network with other people from the city.


The range of topics that CIID offers through the Interaction Design Programme is very diverse and complementary. Here we are able to explore topics such as physical computing, video prototyping, people centred research, team building, experimental imaging, programming, experience prototyping, machine learning, service design and mixed realities. These are just a few of them that I could fit here. Our teachers for each of these topics are people who have done exceptional work and are world renowned in those particular fields.

Furthermore, peer learning is very prominent here, the students itself are professionals and experts from various fields such as 3D designing, sound design, electronics, graphic design, art, music, etc and we get to learn a lot by working with each other. This usually happens when we have to form teams to work on a project for each class.


Projects done at CIID sometimes require intricate tools and equipment for prototyping them, our in-house makerspace and wood workshop is able to cater to most of these requirements. With tools ranging from dremels to industrial grade drillers and saw machines, and from laser cutters to 3D printers and a painting station there are very few moments when we have to go outside of the school to get something done for our prototype.

After getting our prototype ready, we also have access to high end photo studio equipments that help in doing high quality documentation of our work. You can also check out some of the projects from our classes till date here.

This is just a short intro to my life at CIID, I will be publishing more posts on the different topics we learn as well as the projects we do through this blog.

Furthermore, all the credits to the media content for this blog goes to the IDP class of 2017.

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