The Why and How of Design-led Multidisciplinary Innovation Education

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Abstract

This study charts the design and development of a pioneering design-led multidisciplinary innovation Master’s degree; a degree in Design Thinking. It reviews a decade of delivery of the programme and considers the contextual factors that influenced its original design and subsequent iterations. The study uses a critical participatory action research methodology and draws on previous research conducted on and through the programme in question, together with stakeholder surveys and interviews. The programme in question has evolved from its original manifestation as a teaching programme to an entity that acts as a locus for education, research, and practice in design-led innovation. As such, the study identifies four essential stakeholders—students, partner organisations, society, and academia—whose priorities have formed the contextual elements that have driven the programme’s introduction and development. It considers their influence on the programme design and the values derived by each from the programme. Furthermore, the study reveals the underlying pedagogic principles and aspects of delivery that have ensured that these values are delivered.