Strategic Design Program

How can the methods and mindsets of a strategic design process result in the realization of untapped value?

In this full-time, four week course, participants acquire working literacy with tools of strategic design, culminating in a project that redefines conventional understandings of a systemically complex challenge. Participants are guided through a week-long foundational sprint, then introduced to a design brief to which they respond through a series of iterative cycles of observation, interpretation, design speculation, prototyping, and critique. These week-long engagements include field research and information analysis that advance to greater levels of complexity – from objects, to contexts, to invisible dynamic forces. In multidisciplinary teams, students expand their ability to rapidly design and deliver formal presentations of their insights. Facilitated by experts from across a spectrum of design practices, students develop their own practice for generating and realizing strategic insight that expands value and opportunity with actionable clarity and precision.

The Studio Experience

  • Break boundaries
  • Insist on a heterogeneous cohort of participants
  • Immerse ourselves in the real world (site visits)
  • Bring in a diversity of perspectives (guest speakers)
  • Support an environment of making
  • Foster a strong culture of constructive critique
  • Focus on systems thinking, collaboration, and strategic communications

Learning Objectives 

  • Develop strong logics from imperfect information
  • Effectively work with ambiguous goals and knowledge
  • Navigate the “double task” of acting and reflecting simultaneously
  • Understand and work with both the agents and structures that produce outcomes
  • Proficiently communicate complexity
  • Work in dynamic, permeable teams
  • Make sense of complex conditions with clarity and flexibility
  • Bring coherence to a multiplicity of perspectives and inputs