Safe environments for innovation: developing a new multidisciplinary masters programme


This paper outlines the research and resulting curriculum design activities conducted as a collaborative venture between Northumbria University’s School of Design, School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences and Newcastle Business School undertaken in the creation of a new postgraduate programme in Multidisciplinary Design Innovation. With the area of multidisciplinary innovation education practice being comparatively new, the research conducted in support of the programme development was undertaken through a series of industry-linked pilot-study projects conducted with Philips, Hasbro, Lego and Unilever. The key finding from this research was an understanding of the importance of freeing students from different disciplines of the inhibitions that limit creativity in collaborative settings. This paper gives an account of the pilot studies and the associated learning derived from them, the collaborative development of the programme and approaches in curriculum and assessment design adopted in order to create what we call ‘safe environments for innovation’; environments designed to free students of these evident inhibitions

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