We place the designer at the center of creative transformation.
From healthcare to retail, technology to transportation, social issues to issues of economy — any complex thing is bound to be, well, complicated. That’s where our MDes in Innovation Design Strategies comes in.
We believe that no matter what industry or inequity a problem stems from, design gives us a place to start uncovering answers. We know that thinking, creating, and communicating like a designer creatively frames and solves problems, and that it is the key to dismantling and decoding them.
Our MDes in Innovation Design Strategies blends many new ways of thinking — design thinking, systems thinking, future thinking, to name a few — with new ways of designing — experience design, strategic design, service design, business design — while keeping holistic, human values front and center.
The MDes in Innovation Design Strategies offers a competitive advantage in many fields, including business, engineering, healthcare, and education. Real world problems require real world solutions, and that’s why our curriculum is grounded in projects partnered with clients who bring key challenges that demand design-led strategic approaches to address.
Together, our MDes candidates collaborate to to grapple with those client-focused challenges. But more importantly, with our training and mentorship, students in these projects redefine how challenge is approached, identify opportunities for action, and help deliver more complete and resilient solutions.
Throughout our curriculum, we emphasize leadership opportunities so students have the experience and confidence to take the skills in design-led strategy and innovation they develop and transform their careers with them. Not only do we require courses--like Leadership and Complexity--where students develop their leadership styles, we also invite students to manage a design team, facilitate a strategic design workshop, participate in speaking opportunities, or spearhead a brainstorming session with other organizations.
Students who thrive in this 60-credit, two-year program are seasoned design and business professionals ready for a transformation in their career path or recent graduates who want to deepen their leadership toolkit.
We know, however, that many of our prospective students would like to balance this program with their current work life. For that reason, we also offer a three-year half-time enrollment option. While the workload is still steep and rigorous, our three-year option allows students to stay on track and share all classes with those enrolled in the accelerated full-time version.
The MDes program structure: a scaffolded approach
Our hands-on, experiential learning approach sees coursework gradually build outward, widening students’ circle of knowledge with increased complexity in our Innovation Design Strategies approach. Some key benchmark points include:
Self: solve a difficult problem in a saturated market
In this phase, you will explore how your individual background can contribute to driving innovation and what needs your field has that could be solved by design-led approaches. You will learn about the theories of design thinking and its potential to drive change, and you will apply what you’ve learned to a real business problem brought on by a saturated market.
Ecosystems: solve a technology-driven, complex problem
In this phase, you will study, perform, and devise best practices of strategic research, the framework for deeply understanding any ecosystem in which you’ll work. You will learn how to effectively uncover a market’s nuances, and how to articulate and balance the needs of clients, users, and stakeholders. You will apply this knowledge to generate a systemic vision from which businesses and organizations can foresee their opportunities and scenarios of value -- and from which you can create a new solution.
Complexity: solve a human-centered, complex problem
Whether you want to design a new product-service experience or architect an organizational change, learn how to apply creativity to break down complex business and societal problems; scale integration of that solution for local, global, or universal reach; and manage risk and uncertainty as you prepare to bring a solution to life.
Learn how to lead the process of implementing a solution so that it is viable, reliable, and desirable; learn how to provide the strategic and business tools to spot and implement future scenarios of value; and learn and create tools to measure your solution’s impact.
The final thesis project is a capstone course during which you’ll be responsible for all phases of the design process, from initial development to final solution. You will be supported as you seek out and develop your own project for a real client from the for-profit or non-profit space. You will consult with clients, organize teams, and oversee process, deliverables, and final solutions.
MDes program outcomes
Transformation is key -- for the organizations we help and the MDes candidates themselves.
Not only do CCAD Master of Design in Innovation Design Strategies graduates have the skills and confidence to stand out in their desired professions, they know how to apply the human-centered, strategic approach we teach across industries, across communities, across the world.
Our graduates are able to effectively tackle challenges, galvanize their teams, and make a meaningful impact using this unique strategic process and the intangible creative skillset that comes with it. They’re the organizational leaders, cultural catalysts, and innovators of tomorrow.
More information is available for your consideration in our Grad Studies Guidebook, or join us on campus for an information session to learn more. Or, check out Graduate Studies on Twitter.
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