Round Feather Academy 2019

Course from 26 May – 8 June, 2019 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The Round Feather Academy (RFA) offers an intensive two-week program for recent design graduates and professional design researchers, in which they are taught state-of-the art well-being-oriented design research techniques, including theory and methodology. The focus is on emotion and happiness-driven design. After the academy, students will have a thorough understanding of the conditions for human well-being and the universal principles of the human emotion system. In addition, they will be familiar with (and have practiced) qualitative research methods that enable them to uncover consumer emotions and deep user needs, and have the ability to translate these insights into viable design and innovation opportunities. Students will also develop personal leadership skills, supporting them in flourishing in their professional life. The course is offered by Round Feather, an innovation consulting firm in the United States, and organized and tutored by the Dutch design research agency, Emotion Studio.

The course
The course will combine a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, project-based education, individual coaching, group discussion, workshops, and peer feedback. The course will be jointly taught by Prof. dr. Pieter Desmet, Dr. Steven Fokkinga, other tutors from Emotion Studio and Round Feather. Participants will work on a case for a real client in which they can immediately apply the learnings of the course.

The twelve selected participants for the RFA will be offered the program free of charge. The course will be located in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The course will have a mandatory full-time program from Monday 27 May until Friday 7 June 2019, with day and evening activities (arrival day: Sun 26 May; Departure day: Sat 8 June). All participants will be given accommodation in Rotterdam, free of charge.

About Round Feather
Round Feather is a design and innovation consulting firm based in San Diego, California, that collaborates with companies to develop blissful user experiences through emotion-driven design. We employ a multi-disciplinary approach to deliver holistic solutions, as our global team is composed of individuals from diverse backgrounds including: Strategic Design, UX Design, Product Design, Cognitive Psychology, Anthropology, Marketing, Engineering, IT and Business:

“Our proprietary methodology, Design for Happiness, delves into people’s deeper motivations and desires. It is built on 3 pillars: Human Understanding, Design Sensibility and Digital Speed. We believe that in order to truly understand human beings, it is vital to fathom why people do what they do. By focusing on the deeper why (product usefulness) and subsequently the how (product usability) and what (product functionality), we enable the revelation of accurate, authentic and intuitive insights that drive economic value. These insights are the heart of our methodology as they empower innovative solutions that close the gap between usable and useful products, thus evoking sheer bliss and driving consumer loyalty.

At Round Feather you will find a group of young and energetic professionals with great passion for design and human understanding. We are constantly looking for new talent to join us on projects all around the world. We have completed successful projects in product and service innovation with many of the world’s leading brands in the United States, United Kingdom, India, Spain, Argentina & Southeast Asia.”

Round Feather is looking to recruit a handful of highly qualified, motivated and passionate individuals to participate in the third edition of the RFA. This program is one of a kind and will provide a unique opportunity to gain exposure to emotion driven design, innovation and research. Depending on performance, graduates of the program will be provided an opportunity to join Round Feather on one or more international projects.

Recruits Criteria
For this third edition of the Round Feather Academy, we are looking for recent graduates that meet the following criteria:

(A) Criteria
• Full-time availability on 26 May – 8 June, 2019 (the course dates).
• Availability to join Round Feather projects, starting June 2019.
• College graduate; Master’s degree preferred.
• Background in design & research.
• Bonus points: Able to work in the USA: Either a US-citizen, in possession of a valid Visa to work in the US, or citizen of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program, see:

(B) Skills
• Familiar with design research techniques and tools.
• Intermediate understanding of PowerPoint and Office.
• Comfortable generating high-quality visuals with Adobe Illustrator
• Skilled in video editing using Adobe Premiere Pro / After Effects.
• Bonus points: Skills in interaction design methods such as wireframes, concept models, scenarios and user flows.

(C) Performance & attitude
• Demonstrated strong academic performance
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.
• Passion for learning about people as well as a passion for working within the design field.
• A ‘here to help’ attitude that believes that we’re better together.
• Creative thinker, and a quick learner who is able to take direction while also being a proactive team member.

Post-course offer
For those who successfully complete the course, there may be an opportunity to join the Round Feather team or participate in one or more international projects. In these projects, you will be able to put into practice everything you have learned during the course. It is initially not necessary to move to the USA for these projects. The offer will be based on performance and effort during the course.

Please send an email to Hayagreev Narayan (,

before 26 April 17:00, including:
1) a short motivation
2) a statement that you meet the criteria of category A.
3) a portfolio with recent (design and design research) work.

After application, we will conduct an interview with you between 30 April – 2 May. Then, you will receive the decision of participation on 3 May.

Information meeting
We will organize an informal information meet-up on Tuesday 16 April from 18.00-19:00 at the office of Round Feather Netherlands, which is located in the Groothandelsgebouw in Rotterdam (next to Rotterdam Central Station), in which a person from Round Feather will give a short presentation about the firm, and the course coordinators will be present to answer questions. If you would like to join this meet-up, please let us know by email (

Important dates
16 April: Information meeting (at 18:00)
26 April: Application deadline (before 17:00)
30 April - 2 May: Interviews
3 May: Confirmation of participation
26 May: Start of academy

More information:
RF Academy preview
RF Academy 2018 Blog post