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course descriptions

Design for Social Value

The way we think about and understand value creation has largely been driven by financial measures of success. But what if value was also measured in terms of social and ecological outputs? Today, social and ecological concerns have largely been ceded to governments and non-profits while business focuses on financial outputs. This course proposes a new model: one in which companies, governments, and non-profits all need to create news kinds of value in order to thrive in a changing economy. Products of Social Value will challenge our concepts of business success, social innovation, and the role of the designer. Students will work directly with institutional and business partners to identify, design, and evaluate new types of value.



Forecasting & Realization (FOREAL)

In this eight week studio class emphasis is on an understanding of short and long-term forecasting approaches that impact design conclusions. Students engage in research focused on identifying a market opportunity through a deep understanding of the audience/consumer, changing demographics, changes in industry and markets, and the broader shifts in economics, politics, and culture that drive them. Students test and prototype their designs, create a market entry strategy, and employ tools for analyzing their assumptions such as SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and the Lean method.

During the eight-week period, students will experience the full product cycle from with an emphasis on iterative and creative problem solving. Teams of students will work together in developing a product or service that addresses the challenge presented in class and includes audience and market research, product or service design, and a sustainable business strategy. The final presentations will be in the form of a ‘Demo Day’ where students pitch their proposed product or service.


Design for Change

Through an intense, collaborative, process-based approach, this class explores the principles, best practices, and methodologies for working with and in communities. Students will then extend their learning into the community through the design and implementation of public projects. A series of guest lectures and hands-on workshops will provide students with further opportunities to learn from and work directly with thought leaders in the space.