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Design Innovation

At Segal, we couple design with innovation because we are looking to create the new.

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It all starts with
PEOPLE.

We teach design innovators to apply a human-centered approach to problem-solving and expand the research frontiers of design. Discover our range of programs featuring hands-on, interdisciplinary projects that solve real problems for real people.

Design Innovation is about
mindset, process, and tools.

Mindset

Mindset: Design innovation is serious play. Adopt a designer's mindset: let go of fear of failure and have a solution-focused attitude. You'll be better able to take risks and design what's next.

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Mindset
Process

Process: The design innovation process involves some version of these steps: identify, ideate, and iterate. The goal: allowing you to design with the end user always first in your mind.

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Process
Tools

Tools: There’s no big prize for correctly solving the wrong problem. Tools like user observation help you understand the people you’re designing for and build empathy for their situation.

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Tools

Human-Centered Design Projects

At both the graduate and undergraduate level, our students work on projects that produce tangible results and improve the lives of people around the world. Our team-based approach to education encourages students to use design thinking together to solve complex, authentic problems in product, interaction, service, and business design.

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Float product

Float

Float allows for all of your favorite utensils to be stored above the work surface, freeing up valuable counter space and helping you find what you need quickly and easily.

What if kitchen utensils could be easily elevated above precious counter space?

An EDI student designed Float as their thesis project. Float allows for all of your favorite utensils to be stored above the work surface. It is currently being licensed and produced by Umbra.

view project

prototypes of NU PICC Simulator

NU PICC Simulator

A medical training device to help nurses place PICC lines in neonates.

A team of students developed a life-like doll with realistic tissue properties and vasculature geometry as well as pressurized veins.

Users can prick the doll’s arms or legs, witness “flashback” and then thread a PICC line into the body.

view project

Photo of the Spotlight logo.

Spotlight

An online resource featuring strategies that college campuses can implement to raise awareness of life threatening food allergies.

There's hope for food-allergic students transitioning to college.

A team of EDI students collaborated with food allergy experts to develop a toolkit to help colleges better prepare for and support food-allergic students.

view project

Who we work with

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Wendy Roldan
Wendy Roldan

Wendy Roldan

Current Segal Design Certificate student

"With the mentorship I received at Segal Design Institute and Delta Lab, I have discovered my passion for research at the intersection of design thinking, manufacturing, and engineering."
See Wendy Roldan's project

Rene Peters
Rene Peters

Rene Peters

Current MMM student

"In my previous role at Proctor & Gamble, I was working on a product from a manufacturing and engineering perspective, but I always wanted to get closer to the decisions that change the product itself. MMM is giving me the chance to gain more experience."

Israel Oluwasakin
Israel Oluwasakin

Israel Oluwasakin

Current undergraduate student

While enrolled in a course called Design Thinking & Communication, Israel collaborated with three other Northwestern students to design a specialized cup for patients at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago who have dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing.
See Israel Oluwasakin's project

Andrew SaLoutos
Andrew SaLoutos

Andrew SaLoutos

Current undergraduate student

"Ever since I was little, I've loved making things. Now that I am here at Northwestern, the spaces provided by Segal can help me make almost anything I want, from personal robotics projects to my capstone design project."
See Andrew SaLoutos' project

What we teach

The interdisciplinary academic programs at the Segal Design Institute provide undergraduate and graduate students with collaborative training at the forefront of innovation and human-centered design.

Explore our opportunities to find a program that best fits your goals.

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Undergraduate Study

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Whether you're looking to take a single design course or earn your bachelor's degree or certificate in design, Segal provides a wide range of exciting opportunities for undergraduates.

Master's Graduate Study

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Discover the right program to position yourself for the next step in your career in industry, research, or academia.

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PhD Graduate Study

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PhD students at Segal work in the Design Cluster, an interdisciplinary doctoral cluster program jointly sponsored by Segal, the McCormick School of Engineering, and The Graduate School at Northwestern.

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Executive Education

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The Segal Design Institute has partnered with the Kellogg School of Management to offer two dynamic programs for mid- to senior-level executives‚ created to catalyze innovation through design thinking.

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WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF

Design Innovation

Design innovation creates value using design-centric tools and frameworks such as empathy, visualization, prototyping, and iteration. By acquiring design innovation skills, we are prepared to find and frame problems, identify opportunities, and innovate across a variety of spaces. We are ready to bring our ideas to life.
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