When you launch a new master’s degree track at a place like MIT, you get asked a lot of questions. The most common ones I get are: what do you want students to get out of the Integrated Design & Management (IDM) program? How did it get started? How does it work? And what kinds of students are you looking for?
I want to give designers a voice. Traditionally, designers are not well versed in the languages of engineering and business. They're great at inventing and creating, but they're generally not good at explaining how those creations could be profitable or feasible. As a result, business and engineering decisions get made without the benefit of design sensibilities and insights.
I want to empower designers to speak up and provide them with the management tools to more effectively communicate their vision. My hope is that this program helps designers demonstrate that great design can be a competitive advantage.
More than that, though, I hope it promotes understanding, mutual respect, and even a resonance among all three disciplines. This has been a lifelong mission for me.
RISD initially had a partnership with Harvard Business School to integrate business and design students in a case method-based class.
The goal was to immerse students in the product design and development process while learning to work together on interdisciplinary teams. We also saw a high percentage of our alums launch successful start-ups – including Airbnb, Lit Motors and Avatec.
In the spirit of our original PDD course, we are introducing the new IDM track.
Students will learn a core curriculum, which includes prototyping – students will learn things like how a robotic arm works, how to do 3D printing, and how to make rubber moulds and urethane castings.
There is also studio work. Topics range from designing and manufacturing products to designing and implementing systems that improve problems in inner cities, to creating pleasurable and intuitive user experiences.
Throughout the two-year program, students will also intern with top innovation companies, work on design-related consulting projects, and have opportunities to solve real-world societal problems.
We want people who are driven, disruptive and entrepreneurial. We want people who are risk takers and independent thinkers. We want people who aren’t afraid to question authority.
We are currently accepting applications for an inaugural cohort of 15 to 20 students for a new way of teaching at MIT that I believe will produce visionary business, design and societal leaders.
Matthew Kressy is the director of the Integrated Design and Management master’s degree track at MIT. To learn more, visit: idm.mit.edu