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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.

  • The role for design in social innovation
  • Design process models (including the double diamond process)
  • User-centred design research methods (such as personas, journey mapping, role playing, user diaries)
  • Designing your design brief
  • Research ethics in social innovation
  • Design studio visit(s)


This is an 11-week module, delivered on Thursdays from 27 September to 13 December 2018.

  • 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: 13 December 2018


  • 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

Rachel Liu (stand-alone module student)

"Prior to the course, I felt like I was not qualified to solve social challenges or had the skills in doing so. However, due to the fact that all the peers are from different backgrounds in terms of culture and industry it made the learning richer. This has resulted in developing my inner confidence where I feel I could use my skills to help drive social change after studying this course. The course format complements the way I learn particularly with the peer-learning and tutor facilitating with workshops and to get you to think of topics in different angles."

Madeleine Rogers (stand-alone module student)

"A big thank you for delivering such an interesting and thought-provoking module. I am keen to study this area further in some way and so will be investigating various routes.  It was also such pleasure to be among such a diverse cohort and I really look forward to seeing the other MA students' presentations later in the year."

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."

Contact us

Admissions team

*5p per minute from a BT landline. Call charges from other providers may vary.


This course is taught at Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

View Kingston School of Art, Knights Park on our Google Maps

Contact us

Admissions team

*5p per minute from a BT landline. Call charges from other providers may vary.


This course is taught at Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

View Kingston School of Art, Knights Park on our Google Maps
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