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Master of Design: Design Innovation(MDes)

The program integrates deep expertise in design practice with business discipline in a broad-based curriculum that uses market challenges and social initiatives as the context for learning.

The MDes program is designed to teach students how to effectively define and solve a problem, and to impart critical leadership skills for mobilizing and motivating teams toward successful outcomes. Graduates of the program will be poised to lead the design and planning of new products, services, environments, system and organizations.

The curriculum is constructed so that each semester leads students through a structured path that sequentially emphasizes four key skills areas: empathy, analysis, contextual understanding and communication. It applies a human-centric, holistic, and iterative approach to blending design and business thinking.

Classes are co-taught by design and business professors in a fully integrated, collaborative teaching model.

Learning Outcomes

  • Design and develop experience design, service design and cross-disciplinary design projects
  • Develop empathy and understanding relating to client/constituency needs and to the creation of solutions that resonate with them
  • Ability to systematically deconstruct and analyze problems, synthesize findings, and come to creative solutions applicable to business and design
  • Understand the role of design in culture and commerce
  • Develop the contextural language of business and design, and gain business skills relative to the creative economy
  • Gain communication skills relative to leadership, business, and multiple audiences
  • Develop awareness and understanding of the diverse cultural, historical, and experiential issues expressed and inherent in one’s design practice and in the discipline of design
  • Develop the aesthetic sensitivity, technical competence, awareness and analytical thought necessary to design solutions for social, economic, environmental and global challenges
  • Team leadership and understanding of how to motivate interdisciplinary teams, and collaboration skills
  • Ability to verbally and visually present work in a professional manner
  • Hands-on graphic visualization, technical drawing, model making and prototype development

Unique to MassArt

The direct placement of the MDes in Design Innovation program in a college of art and design and then bringing quantitative business metrics to the designers’ qualitative problem solving processes.

Our approach uses the context of the art and design culture that is present at MassArt, where students make things with their hands while engaging the mind. This embodied cognition fosters a deep empathy for others and for the human condition.

Leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs graduating from this program will bring these design based practices and understandings to businesses and other related contexts, offering a distinctly different kind of leadership to the marketplace.

FAQs

The most important attribute for applicants to the Master of Design: Design Innovation program is that they possess a strong desire to innovate.
- James M. Read, Program Director

Who should apply?
Prospective students are individuals who want to lead the design and planning of new products, services, and environments. Those who want to lead in organizational and social transformation should apply for the Master of Design: Design Innovation (MDes) program. This hybrid program is for individuals with either design backgrounds or business backgrounds, and the curriculum is structured to provide supplemental training for individuals who may be lacking a particular skill set. The most important attribute for applicants to the MDes program is that they possess a strong desire to innovate.

How long will it take me to complete the program? Can I enroll part-time?
The MDes curriculum is 60 credit hours, meant to be completed full-time over two years. Part-time participation is not an option at this time.

What kinds of positions will I be qualified for after graduation?
Graduates of the program will be qualified for employment as design strategists and innovation leaders within many domains such as design consulting firms, corporations, nonprofits, educational institutions, or entrepreneurial ventures.

How does this program differ from other MDes programs?
The MDes curriculum applies a human-centric, holistic, and iterative approach to blending design and business thinking. Classes are co-taught by design and business professors in a fully integrated, collaborative teaching model. The program is one of the only hybrid design and business programs offered by an art and design college. The MDes curriculum at MassArt consists of approximately 60% design and 40% business course work.

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