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School for Cross-faculty Studies Design for Sustainable Innovation

Design for Sustainable Innovation

In the current global context, the only certain constant is change.

Accelerated social, economic and environmental change, has generated a new landscape for innovation, which calls for designers who are capable of embracing and navigating complexity, in an ethical and responsible manner to shape and build sustainable and regenerative futures. This new wave of designers is not only at the forefront of technological, business or strategic change, but also presents a new critical, innovative force, which is responding to social matters such as community life, human rights, accessibility, inclusion and belonging.

Considering the rapid emergence of artificial intelligence, automatisation and overall more radically digital lives, changes to systems as we know it are inevitable. It is unsurprising that this call for a new wave of designers has emerged out of a necessity for a different approach to sustainability, innovation and leadership. Designers can no longer perpetuate the same processes which created the mismatched products, services and systems we already recognise are no longer fit for purpose - it is now time to embrace a pluralist approach to design which is life-centred, and underpinned by local to global sustainable development.

Design for Sustainable Innovation transforms students into agents of change.

Through rigorous academic and applied development of design skillset and mindset, our students are being shaped into future leaders and visionaries who will be able to develop the necessary skills to innovate across all spheres of design. Regardless of artefact, product and service, strategy and governance or systems and systemic design - our students will have the opportunity to undertake an experiential learning journey into complexity, whilst defining their own specialism by testing of different paradigms of scholarship and practice.

What is this programme about?

Design for Sustainable Innovation [DSI] is an industry-responsive and future facing programme, developing the new generation of designers as holistic, strategic, and agile interdisciplinary practitioners.

Our programme prepares students for the increasingly complex and uncertain world challenges, through explorative, creative, academic, yet critical development of students Design Mindset and Design Skillset.
Our students will be undertaking an experiential learning journey by being immersed in real life contexts, co-designing with regional communities, and working amongst well established and emerging employers.
Our ethos is underpinned by Global Sustainability Goals and our students will be the next generation of responsible and ethical designers propagating change on a local, and global level.

From human rights, environmental impact, technological and digital advancement to social innovation, our programme enables students to become critical and creative leaders of change. As systems thinkers who can embrace and navigate complexity, our students will learn to be at the forefront of networked sustainable leadership, ethical design practices and time-based craftsmanship.

From Service Design to Social Design, Material and Digital Technology to Al solutions, Design Anthropology to Product and UX Research and Practice, our students will develop sought after and applicable skillsets for employment in the private and public sectors.

What characterises our students?

Traditionally, Design was taught bottom-up, meaning that students had to decide on a specialism upon enrolment, whether that be Graphics, Product or UX, Interaction Design, Architecture or Service Design. This meant that students often are constrained to responding to live briefs, in a particular set of mediums or tools found in that corresponding discipline, not allowing students to explore interdisciplinary methods, renditions or deliverables outside of their set programme. This is not reflective of industry or it's evolution. Industry clearly demonstrates diverse teams working collaboratively on complex problems, regardless of public or private sector.

Our course is responding to the need of versatile yet versed designers who know how to navigate, communicate, and deliver across a broad field of disciplines by embracing complexity, experimentation and holistic strategy and leadership, whilst driving approaches, behaviours, and attitudes in current practices towards sustainable and regenerative models .

Our students therefore are, systems thinkers who can navigate uncertainty and ambiguity, creatively and compassionately, towards ethical and progressive solutions. Through co-design and innovation on the cutting edge of digital technology, social and commercial enterprise and environmental and climate conscious solutions, our students will be at the forefront of systems change. Our cohorts are given the opportunity to engage in design in a holistic manner, introducing them to contemporary and precedent design scenarios, in which they can engage to develop their personal practice and methodologies, building their own specialism throughout the course. This takes the pressure from our students to forcibly specialise in something before understanding the breadth and pluralistic nature of design and what their future paths beyond this degree might be.

The DSI programme is a finely balanced learning journey into theory, practice and industry placement.

The Joint Honours Degree.

Design for Sustainable Innovation
is a 180 CATS (credits) joint degree, which is carefully written and designed to be weaved into a full honours degree with an additional specialism in order to enable students to develop solid interdisciplinary capabilities in applied practice, and scholarship.

Modules available to students are classified as Core, Core/Optional, and Optional, which means that students can form their own learning journey and formulate one or several specialism throughout the course of their three years of study. Within DSI students can explore contexts and methodologies of the following areas:

DSI Modules.

The DSI programme equates to a 180 CATS, which as spread over core and core optional modules with the opportunity to take additional optional modules from a field of interest to the students. The overview of the modules over the course of the three years of study are spread out as follows: