Safe Environments for Innovation - Developing a New Multidisciplinary Masters Programme

Year: 2010
Editor: Boks W; Ion, W; McMahon, C and Parkinson B
Author: Bailey, Mark; Smith,Neil
Page(s): 60-65


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.

Keywords: Multidisciplinary, innovation, design-thinking, collaboration, team-work


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