Beginning in Fall 2015, SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering will offer a new master’s degree designed to spark creativity in problem solving across multiple disciplines.
The Master of Arts in Design and Innovation (MADI), grounded in an approach known as “design thinking,” will provide a toolkit for people working outside the typical design environment. Coursework and project-based learning experiences will teach participants to combine what people need with the possibilities created by technology and the economic requirements for business success through design research, idea generation, and rapid prototyping.
“Some of the most successful CEOs in the world are crediting the concept of ‘design thinking’ as a breakthrough approach for solving systemic problems,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “Our undergraduates have been thriving on a no-barriers approach to problem-solving through competitions and projects organized in our Deason Innovation Gym. Expanding on our undergraduate success, the Master of Arts in Design and Innovation is a great way to introduce our students to a framework and methodology for innovating and designing, which will have impact wherever their career takes them.”
Kate Canales, director of Design and Innovation Programs in the Lyle School, will lead the program. A Stanford University mechanical engineer, Canales spent her early professional years with global design and innovation firm IDEO, where she helped pioneer the use of design thinking as a means of building the capacity for innovation within companies. She arrived at the Lyle School in 2012 after working as a consultant and as creative director at frog design.
“The process and the skills these students learn will make them much different job applicants,” Canales said. “It’s about confidence and approaching problems in ways that are not typical. And while many engineering students will see this as a natural progression in their studies – it’s not a degree just for engineers. It’s a great fit for people pursuing careers in fields as different as business, the arts, advertising and the social sciences.”
MADI students will be able to take advantage of an unprecedented multidisciplinary approach that opens up relevant electives across SMU departments and schools on campus for the first time. The curriculum pulls from the Lyle School’s Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science and Engineering departments, as well as advertising through SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute, entrepreneurship through the Cox School of Business, anthropology through Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and arts entrepreneurship and creative computing through the Meadows School of the Arts.
Find out more about the MADI program at smu.edu/madi, or contact the SMU Lyle graduate recruiting office at 214-768-2002.
Written by Kimberly Cobb