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 Core classes will be held during week day evenings

Design Innovation, including the topical areas of Design Thinking, Business Design, Organizational Design, Design Engineering and Systems Thinking, focuses on the development of key mindsets and skillsets for professionals interested in the Innovation Economy, society, and community.

Design may be the single most important factor that will distinguish those that can be replaced by machines from those that are fundamental to a healthy, developed and fair society.

The IbD programme uses design to span across the disciplines of engineering, innovation, business, entrepreneurship, management, and industrial design, and will contribute to foster expedited communication across fields, building leaders of global product-service-systems that can work effectively and efficiently across the full value chain.

The programme is imbued with SUTD’s unique pedagogy and a vibrant design and hands-on culture within and outside the classroom, supported by the 4-Dimensional Big-Design (4D Big-D) framework. It also brings its future graduates to a level in which they can collaborate effectively with graduates and professionals from other international programmes with similar visions, like the Industrial Design and Management (IDM) programme from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The IbD assumes a designation that is novel, even internationally. It is a horizontal programme, attracting students to a paradigm in which products, systems and services are developed concurrently with a design-centric mindset and across every discipline, domain and sector. Although the programme is directed at technology intensive product-service-systems, the entire value chain of products, services, and systems must be taken into account from the early stages of development, in the true nature of a design thinking mindset.

There is currently no graduate programme in Singapore that aims to promote and advance design innovation and design thinking in an integrated multi-disciplinary and holistic design education approach across several fields of knowledge. This programme will bridge the gap across multiple engineering programmes, architecture, social sciences, and many other disciplines, giving students tools, skills, and mindsets to work effectively and efficiently together under the umbrella of design.
The programme has immersion in its core, where prospective students will be exposed to three one-to-two week, off-class experiences – a design accelerator at the beginning of the programme, a supply chain reality check trip to Shenzhen (or emerging entrepreneur intensive location), and an entrepreneurship accelerator experience at the end of year 1. These experiences will foster a student’s capacity to innovate, based on well-rounded and grounded design innovation and design thinking mindsets. The consistent active-learning and hands-on approach coupled with the discover-define-develop-deliver design cycle and access to in-house prototyping and manufacturing facilities will enable a culture of design teams in a project-based multidisciplinary learning environment.
All that is offered currently in the Singapore higher education landscape in design is scattered through short courses on design thinking or other related topics, with no graduate-degree-granting programmes on Design Innovation, and insufficient depth grounded on cutting edge design science and research. The IbD is the stepping stone that is currently missing from the Singapore higher education landscape in that it provides an entry point to both research and professional advancement in the field of design for graduates that may or may not have a design background.
In a higher education landscape such as Singapore’s, where education in design innovation and design thinking is not pervasive, a combination of coursework and hands-on experience with innovation projects and research is the most efficient way of imparting knowledge that lasts. Candidates will take a research-based programme with the deep knowledge in design innovation and design thinking that SUTD can transmit via coursework, complemented with the hands-on and active-learning approach that is central to SUTD’s DNA. A recent survey completed specifically on this topic has shown that companies value a programme that features a combination of course intensive education in design innovation and design thinking, and research at the Masters’ level.
The research carried out within the IbD will be industry-ready, and will in most situations (if not all) derive its need from industry and social needs. Numerous examples exist from the SUTD-MIT International Design Centre (IDC, idc.sutd.edu.sg) where industry sponsored projects have led to scientific publications in leading journals and conferences within the span of months, and with outcomes that have led to translation to industry, markets, and start-up companies. IbD research will be tailored to individuals and teams of students, can be directly connected to sponsoring industry and social enterprises, and will be based on innovation projects completed by the students. All students will likewise have the ability to live and immerse themselves in the various SUTD research centres and labs as they embark on their research thrusts.