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Sustainable Design MA: Stand-alone module: Design for Social Innovation

Design for Social Innovation

Design for social innovation is an emerging mode of design practice gaining popularity and interest within the design professions and more widely, for example in the public sector. Local authorities are increasingly looking to employ designers to redesign public services and to deliver their programmes more effectively.

There is therefore demand for training in design for social innovation. This is a distinguishing feature of the Sustainable Design MA, but there are designers and other practitioners who do not yet wish to embark on a full MA course. This module is for them.

The module will be based around a 'live' project brief, and include sessions with leading practitioners in the field.

"This module will be useful to designers and those who come from the world of frontline social impact services, who want to learn more about innovation and design – and to gain practical experience with which to develop."
Mat Hunter (Chief design officer, Design Council)

About the stand-alone module

This is currently a course-specific module within the Sustainable Design MA. It is also available as a credit-bearing stand-alone module, whereby it can be taken without enrolling on the Sustainable Design MA (although the credits could be used subsequently for entry to the course). Students enrolled on the MA and stand-alone modules are part of the same module cohort, participate equally, and have the same module experience.


Please note that this is an indicative list of sessions and is not intended as a definitive list.

  • Introduction to design for social innovation
  • Design process models (including the double diamond process)
  • Design research methods (such as personas, journey mapping, role playing, user diaries)
  • Getting questionnaires right
  • Research ethics
  • Designing the design brief
  • Innovation safaris


This is an 11-week module, delivered on Thursdays from 29 September to 15 December 2016.

  • Eight full teaching days (10.30am–1.00pm, 2.00pm–4.30pm)
  • One self-directed project day
  • One individual tutorial to support development of work for submission for assessment
  • Project hand-in date: 15 December 2016


  • Stand-alone module £1,200


To apply for this module, please complete the application form (PDF) and create an electronic portfolio showing three completed projects you have been involved in which are relevant to the module (maximum 10 slides, PDF format, maximum file size 10MB).

Submit these directly to the course director Paul Micklethwaite at Please also email Paul with any enquiries about this stand-alone module.

What our students say

Anna Bateman (stand-alone module student)

"The double diamond process for design has not only thrown out a service which could be developed into a sustainable social franchise, but has taught me an awful lot about how to solve 'wicked' social problems and how to innovate within a structure.

I have no formal design experience and in the beginning had no context in which to sit this process on. It has felt like a steep learning curve, but one which cannot be undone. When talking to clients (schools), I now visualise the process and the stakeholder journey – ensuring the person really is at the heart of solving the problem, rather than just throwing out another idea because we 'think' it is right and it might stick."

Cindy van Rees (MA student)

"Something else that I highly valued, was the presence of the 'stand-alone-module-students'. They brought in a completely new perspective as they were working in the professional field. I was not familiar with this context, and would therefore not have been able to see things from this angle without them. I hope the insight this gave me allows me to see things from this angle in the future too."

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This course is taught at Knights Park

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Contact us

Admissions team


This course is taught at Knights Park

View Knights Park on our Google Maps
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