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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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3XD™ puck™

A cord management system for smart-devices that easily hides, identifies, and separates cords for storage or transport

As the number of devices increases, so does the number of cords that each consumer must manage.

The 3XD™ puck™ is a cord management system for smart-devices that easily hides, identifies, and separates cords for storage or transport.

view project

Image of a SharEd lesson plan

SharEd

Theme-based and open-source curriculum to help children in the world's poorest communities succeed

Bringing the sharing economy to preschools in poor communities.

Four MMM students collaborated to create a sustainable and scalable social enterprise that better connects people, goods, and services to solve an issue for people living in crowded urban spaces.

view project

Tide Spin laundry bag

Tide Spin

An app-based service that outsources laundry to Tide's own dry-cleaning facilities

Hate doing laundry? There’s an app for that.

When Procter & Gamble decided to re-imagine laundry, it looked no further than the EDI program to see what its students could design to make laundry a less tedious task.

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Who we work with

Get Involved

Anna Petersen, Class of 2017
Anna Petersen, Class of 2017

Anna Petersen, Class of 2017

Current Segal Design Certificate student

While pursuing a Segal Design Certificate, Anna is working with two other Northwestern students to improve rapid HIV testing for infants in collaboration with Center for Innovation in Global Health Technologies at Northwestern Engineering.
See Anna Petersen's project

Israel Oluwasakin, Class of 2020
Israel Oluwasakin, Class of 2020

Israel Oluwasakin, Class of 2020

Current undergraduate student (DTC)

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

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."

James Wilde ('15)
James Wilde ('15)

James Wilde ('15)

EDI alumnus, UX Researcher and Designer, DISH Network

"EDI empowered me to shift my focus from physical product design into a broader view of the entire user experience. As a result, I'm a more well-rounded experience designer and am able to have more positive impact on our users."

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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