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Strategic Foresight and Innovation (MDes)

Creating a new kind of designer: A strategist who sees the world from a human perspective and re-thinks what is possible; An innovator who can imagine, plan and develop a better world.

Work in progress for mapping project on affordable housing. Photo by Greg Van Alstyne.

Strategic Foresight and Innovation (MDes)

The Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation is creating a new kind of designer: A strategist who sees the world from a human perspective and re-thinks what is possible; An innovator who can imagine, plan and develop a better world.

Recognizing the increasing importance and need for new thinking skills to positively impact society, enhance business success and manage organizational change, this innovative program was launched in 2009 to address these issues and opportunities. Emphasis is placed on teaching complex problem finding, framing and solving, to envision and develop sustainable futures.

With an interdisciplinary, co-creative approach only possible at an art and design university, the entrepreneur, social scientist, artist, designer, and engineer will develop together the skills required for leading innovation. Our program prepares graduates to think holistically - exploring, challenging and finding meaning in order to reframe and guide both present and future actions.

Small class sizes and access to outstanding faculty and experts foster new learning opportunities: students practise foresight to envision possible futures; study systems to see the bigger picture; and explore human factors for a broader understanding of motivation and behaviour. This allows students to lead innovation, generating insight-driven ideas that will result in new possibilities, new outcomes and new opportunities for the world.

Program options

The MDes in Strategic Foresight and Innovation is offered as:

  • a part-time two-year (seven-semester) program
  • a full-time 16-month (four-semester) program (as of September 2013)

Both programs consist of 45 credits.

Objectives

Students will develop design-thinking skills that include analysis, synthesis and strategic and creative thinking, which are critical for professionals in the public, private and voluntary sectors. The program will develop students’ expertise in foresight, research and innovation methodologies and will enable them to acquire sufficient contextual knowledge to develop intelligent, innovative, visionary and future-enhancing solutions in their culminating projects.

Upon completion of the course, students will be ready to tackle the complexity of real-world issues as future-conscious developers of ideas and solutions, and entrepreneurial co-creators.

The program will enable students to:

  • explore and test innovative methods of organization, creation and production from a human perspective;
  • develop strategic, innovative and anticipatory solutions (strategic foresight) and implementation plans for design, business or policy innovations, or for organizational or infrastructural change;
  • navigate complex problems and find solutions that will lead to the development of new and sustainable futures.

Key features

  • Students will be engaged in a collaborative, co-creative studio environment in their core directed studio classes. Working in trans-disciplinary teams on many projects, students will benefit from the diverse backgrounds of their faculty and fellow students.
  • An advisory committee of faculty and—in the case of real world projects—public or private sector professionals will support and guide each student’s major project.
  • Guest lectures and critiques from professional strategists and foresight experts.
  • Part-time and full-time program options accommodate diverse scheduling needs of the students.