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In this study, the similarities between the actions of design students’ in product design project courses and open innovation processes were examined through a survey conducted among the students. Studies on open innovation were evaluated together with up-to-date discussions about design and its role in innovation and business environment in general. Since design can take crucial roles in innovation and management, the comparison of design students’ actions in product design courses with probable expectations in the work environment can provide information about if these project courses could act as a preparation for professional career. The theoretical relation between innovation and design was discussed to be followed by examination of similarities between product design project courses and open innovation environments. Afterwards, a brief field study conducted with third and fourth grade product design students was analyzed to explore any resemblance between their research preferences during product design project courses and open innovation practices. Also, their awareness on open innovation subject was sought to understand if the possible resemblance was a result of design education’s nature. The results suggest that students’ behaviors during product design project courses are in line with open innovation concept to a degree, even though their awareness on the subject is low.
Keywords: Design, Open innovation, Design education, Design thinking, Design students