Why Choose Multidisciplinary Design Innovation From a Design Perspective...
Mark Bailey BA(Hons) FRSA FHEA, answers some of the key questions Design Graduates might ask themselves when considering this degree.
Why did you develop Multidisciplinary Design Innovation (MA/MSc)?
Leading industry commentators and our own industry partners were repeatedly telling us that, in today’s global economy, innovation was fast becoming a critical competitive advantage for companies battling it out to secure and increase market share. As designers, we know a thing or two about innovation. At the core of every designer lies an insatiable curiosity. They constantly ask questions; examine new perspectives and experiment to find new ways of doing and thinking. So good designers become a catalyst for change and innovation, but change cannot be achieved in isolation. Designers need to work with other disciplines in order to find the right solutions to the questions they ask.
Unfortunately, as George Cox identified in his report detailing how UK companies could become more competitive, the inability of different functions to communicate or work together effectively has become a serious barrier to delivering innovative new products and services.
Multidisciplinary Design Innovation tackles this issue by embracing and developing your design-led thinking, while giving you an insight into how other disciplines think and work. Through project-led learning you will work with students from business and engineering or technology backgrounds to respond to ‘live’ briefs from our collaborative partners. By working together within a framework of shared understanding, we find that each discipline enriches the other, enabling students to find new ways of working together to deliver innovative solutions to the brief.
In this way, you will not only learn how to communicate and work with other functions, but you will also gain a greater understanding about integrated team dynamics and how and where you add most value.
What benefits does Multidisciplinary Design Innovation MA/MSc over a traditional Design Postgraduate degree?
the key thing about MDI is the fact that it represents what I call an 'authentic learning experience'; students work in an environment that replicates a creative consultancy and they learn through using models of practice that replicate (and sometimes lead) the ways in which global organisations work. As a design graduate you will certainly have developed a level of expertise in a specific design discipline. So, if you know that you want to work within a specific sector or discipline within the design world, then a MA in Design could be the route for you.
If, however, you aspire to a more strategic role within a corporation or see your future with companies like Apple or Philips where design thinking and the ability to work across different disciplines is core to their corporate infrastructure – then Multidisciplinary Design Innovation is definitely the course for you.
What about an MA Design Management, doesn’t that provide the same skill-set?
MA Design Management does focus on design-led thinking and will provide an insight into business and commercial issues. It also provides hands-on experience through projects. Where the two courses differ however, is that Multidisciplinary Design Innovation has been specifically designed to address the issues involved in innovation through integration.
Does it matter if I don’t have any experience in business or engineering?
Not at all, the whole purpose of this course is to increase your understanding of these two fields. Which is why, in the first two semesters, you will undertake two modules entitled; ‘Understanding the business context’ and ‘Understanding the technology context’.
Will working with other disciplines dilute my development as a designer?
Definitely not, through out this course you will build and refine your skills as a designer. Our aim is not to turn you into a business person or engineer; our aim to transform you into a ‘T-shaped’ worker. By this we mean, someone who has an incredible depth of knowledge in their core discipline, but with a breadth of understanding re the other disciplines and how to work with them. Rest assured, within these project teams – designers design, business people do business and engineers engineer!
How does the course work?
As I mentioned before, the course has two key focuses, integration and innovation. The course has been designed to help you understand how to deliver on both. We do this through a combination of taught, experiential and reflective learning. Modules such as the ‘understanding business context’ module and ‘developing the interdisciplinary self’ provide students with a framework for integrated working. A variety of projects that run throughout your degree, allow you to experiment with different ways of working and thinking in order to create truly innovative but relevant solutions. Finally, the development of a portfolio of practice allows you to reflect on how and where you can add most value within a team.
What sort of job am I likely to get?
We believe this degree will open doors to you for a variety roles across a number of sectors. From People Managers to Design Managers to Project Managers or Consultants, we see this degree as a passport to a number of careers.
In fact, an article in Business Week stated that ‘…because innovation often happens not in the centre of a discipline but in the space between disciplines,…right now a lot of new value is being found at the intersection of design and business. Professionals who can understand and respect both sides are at an advantage in our increasingly competitive economy.’ So, given we are providing you with the tools to mine the intersection of not only design and business but technology as well, we are confident that we are shaping the next generation of CEOs!
Why should I choose Northumbria University?
Aside from the fact that our university is based in Newcastle upon Tyne – a vibrant, friendly and exciting place to live - has been named the ‘best modern university’ four times by the Times Good University Guide and has an award winning campus, we believe that we have an important advantage over our competitors. We are one of the few courses of this type where all the expertise is housed in the same university. As a result we believe we can offer a more focused and energised approach. In addition, we have an extensive industry network which means we can attract collaborative projects from leading international companies such as Mars, Unilever, Berghaus and the BBC – to name but a few.
When does the Course Start and When is the Application Close Date?
The next intake will commence in September 2012. Applications for this intake must be submitted by July 2012 at the latest.