We Are Design for Social Impact

Over the last few years, the MID program has struggled with a minor identity crisis in that the degree offered and program name — Master of Industrial Design — do not authentically reflect the content of the program, its educational goals, and the pathways our students embark on upon graduation. This hasn’t mattered so much to us in terms of actually doing the design work we do: using design process, methods, and tools to create meaningful impact with our many partners in the business, nonprofit, and civic sectors. But, this disconnect between our curriculum and our name has posed real challenges in terms of recruiting the kinds of amazing students we do have and intend to have entering into the program. Being “not really an Industrial Design program” has not served us in being able to clearly articulate our story and the value we create to the outside world.

The MID program is now transitioning to become Design for Social Impact.* Through our partnership projects and our students’ many thesis projects, we’ve built an impressive track record in demonstrating the power of design to create meaningful change in the world, and now we continue that work under a more authentic brand. Building on that track record, Design for Social Impact prepares students to become leading agents of social change, instrumental in fostering strategic creativity, organizational learning, and community engagement. The program promotes a social design process that facilitates collaborative projects across disciplines, and that produces actionable models and scenarios to create sustainable change. Our process is hands-on, action-oriented, and highly visual, and the needs and desires of people and organizations exist at the center of our work. We recognize the need to balance ecological, social, and economic values in the development of innovative solutions. We offer design input when it matters most: at the earliest stages of the development cycle and in particular during the initial project definition. Our models and prototypes manifest collective learning and capture emergent assumptions and insights. Project outcomes range from new service models, design for user experience, strategies and tools for community engagement, and the development of social entities, organizations, new businesses and initiatives.

Design for Social Impact. This is who we are.

To learn more about the Design for Social Impact program, please visit We are now accepting applications for the Fall 2014 semester.

* Pending final University approval in Spring 2014.

We Are Design for Social Impact
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 at 4:33 pm by azahn123.