HAVE A STRATEGIC VISION.
MASTER IN STRATEGIC DESIGN.
VI EDITION 2004 / 2005.
MASTER IN STRATEGIC DESIGN.
INNOVATION AND DESIGN OF THE PRODUCT SYSTEM
Strategic Design is a design activity concerning the product-system; the integrated body of products,
services and communication strategies that either an actor or networks of actors (be they companies,
institutions, Non-profit organizations etc.) conceive and develop so as to obtain a set of specific
It is often claimed that technological innovation, cultural and economic globalization, and the transition
to environmental sustainability generate problems and opportunities. It is also stated repeatedly that the
possibility to avoid the former and exploit the latter necessitates the development of three core skills on
behalf of not only companies, but also different types of institutions and/or social actors: vision,
sensitivity to signs of innovation and the ability to formulate solutions. In other words, the ability to
design products and services, the success of which is the anticipation of what will be, or should be, the
The social demand for a new generation of products and services, coherent with current socio cultural
transformations and their sustainable development, becomes an opportunity for companies that are able
to operate in context of this new design mentality, this unique meeting of design and company strategy:
The Master in Strategic Design is aimed at young graduates who wish to initiate or re-direct their
professional careers on the frontier between design and management.
More specifically, it targets young designers who have the propensity to work on the problems of
management of innovation and business administration, as well as young technicians and managers
interested in understanding the culture and work practices of design.
In both cases, the ideal course participants are open-minded and curious, creative and cosmopolitan,
have a competence in languages and are interested in new communication technologies.
THE MASTER IN STRATEGIC DESIGN'S DIDACTIC SPIRIT
The program aims to generate within its students the competencies and abilities that will
allow them to identify, interpret and propose the integration of a company’s values and
product offering according to new models of innovation. It also aims to generate the
managerial skills necessary for the development of product systems that will support
these companies in developing sustainable competitive advantages that will make the
difference in tomorrow’s market place.
Through its innovative didactic mix of theory, design and application, the program is able
to generate the conditions that allow its students to look at the current business landscape
from a systemic and 360° viewpoint that is necessary for the development of radical
innovations in product, services and communication strategies.
This approach to product-system development is articulated and embedded within the
masters program through four key concepts that lie at the heart of strategic design.
These key concepts constitute the key elements that must be mastered to be able to
design, develop and manage a successful product-system innovation:
>> System, the program offers methods and tools that foster the capabilities to identify,
decipher, and re-interpret the factors that determine the structure of business models and
their underlying value constellation so as to be able to offer companies innovative and
systemic solutions with respect to product-system innovation.
>> Society, the individual or collective assessment of quality of life can only be achieved
through a systemic offering that not only pays attention to the needs and expectations of
the end-user, but also the needs of the socio-economic context in which individuals live.
The masters program offers a set of methods and tools based on a user-centered and
context-based approach to product-system innovation.
>> Sustainability, the program’s vision is that no form of innovation is truly strategic unless
it takes into account the sustainable dimension. As such, through appropriate methods
and tools, the masters program offers its expertise in developing sustainable solutions.
>> Seduction, the ability to seduce through communication, distribution and sales is a
fundamental component in the successful launch and management of a product system.
The masters offers the necessary tools and methods to work on the aesthetic and
experiential nature and appeal of the product-system offering so as to develop innovative
and captivating communication strategies that can express the tacit and explicit values of
the product system.
FIELDS OF INVESTIGATION
With these methods, tools and approaches presented and embedded within the 4S’s of
strategic design, the masters program offers a post-graduate degree that will see their
application in three fields of investigation:
>> Experience development through Strategic Design: projects oriented towards
elaborating, innovating and optimizing the quality of the functional, symbolic, aesthetic,
experiential and use characteristics of the product system.
>> Sustainable innovations through Strategic Design: projects oriented on the generation
and development of product systems able to generate satisfying and desirable results for
its various stakeholders (the user, the firm, the environment and the society)
>> Local development through Strategic Design: Projects oriented on creating and
developing the local context in order to take advantage of, and enhance the existing
socio-economic and cultural conditions of the context.
The training objectives of the course aim to provide participants with the necessary
expertise in strategic design as well as in the innovation and design of the product-system.
It prepares professionals who able to carry out a design and/or managerial role within the
innovation process of the product system with a clear sense of integration between the
products, services and communication components.
The strategic objective is to develop in its participants those individual skills (design
mentality, self-entrepreneurship, vision and management of complexity) which can direct
and accelerate their career paths towards the leadership in the development of a
company’s strategic products.
Being part of the master program assures participants the following training objectives:
>> Develop strategic planning skills: the ability in problem-setting and problem-solving
terms: The ability to draft and generate ideas, and to produce and communicate images.
>> Develop personal entrepreneurship: the ability to integrate the resources and partners
needed to reach a given strategic objective.
>> Develop the necessary attitude to manage complexity: the ability to integrate
resources and actors in an innovative design process and, in turn, to motivate and work
>> Develop the competencies to generate corporate vision: the ability to select informa-
tion, to identify trends, to set up a personal point of view and produce scenarios of the
future and integrate them into the product system innovation process.
>> Acquire the skills to understand complexity: the ability to recognize the “range of
possibilities” within which to work and the relevant innovative factors for the development
of innovative product-systems
>> Acquire the skills to manage strategic design projects of means of working: the ability
to design, integrate and manage strategic design innovation in the various components of
the product system.
>> Acquire the tools necessary to communicate strategic design projects: the ability to
present individual ideas and projects through various techniques using various types of
The program is structured on a tried, tested and consolidated methodology articulated in
design activities and didactic modules that alternate throughout the entire duration of the
It ends with a 3 month project activity during which each student, according to the
judgment of the managing board of the Master, will be oriented towards the development
of a strategic design project within a specific company as an MDS Project Work, or
alternatively within the Poli.design consortium as part of a MDS RoadShow™ that focuses
on presenting and selling the projects to a panel of companies and/or social actors.
The design activities are the characteristic pillars of the master. During the course of the
year, the students will be fully immersed in three thematic workshops and a product-- t
system development laboratory.
>> the Workshops are formal and distinctive design activities oriented towards the
development of innovative product-system concepts based on design briefs.
>> the Product-system development laboratory (LSP) is the design activity that takes
theworkshop concept one step further. Its focuses on applying management principles
through the development of business plans that support the product-system concepts
developed during the concept development phase of the LSP.
Each design activity is conducted in collaboration with design-oriented companies that
provide real world business problems that must be solve through the strategic design
approach. Past design-oriented companies that have actively participated in the Master is
Strategic Design are: 3M, Alessi, Artemide, Autogrill, Benetton, Bticino, Domino -
Albatross, DUNI, Gemeaz-Ticket Restaurant, Gewiss, Gruppo Fantoni, Hantarex, L’Oréal -
Kerastase, Illy Caffè, Italtel, Logotel, Luceplan, Motorola, MR&D Institute, Philips,
Piaggio, Pirelli, Rheavendors, Trend, Vibram.
The didactic modules consist of lectures, seminars and exercises focusing on the areas of
design, management, technology and empowerment, and are supplemented and
integrated with a series of conferences discussing a multitude of relative themes. The
didactic structure is also designed to foresee the need or possibility to develop ad hoc
elective paths for each participant, which can take form through independent study and
research on issues of interest to each student.
>> Ex-cathedra lectures are divided into fundamentals and advanced theory lectures, with
the objective of developing the competencies and knowledge to confront and resolve
design and business issues. They are typically held in loco and organized based on the
needs of the design activities.
>> Seminars, testimonials and industry specials are design to students to experience and
argue the most state of the art design and management issues.
>> Exercises focused on applying the various tools and methods taught during the
Product Development laboratory
PROFESSIONAL CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Placement in past editions of the Master in Strategic Design have identified two macro-
profiles of its alumni: Specialists of design and Innovation, which find roles as Marketing
Directors, R&D Managers, Industrial Designers, Product/Service and Brand Developers).
Managers of Innovation (Design Managers, Design Directors, Project Managers, Product
Managers, Retail Managers, Brand Managers and Product-System Innovation consul-
Master graduates, with opportunities to work as integrators of innovative and design
processes, possess the usual managerial skills associated with a marked ability to
understand the problems of design and technology and, above all, to adopt a design-based
approach to such problems. They have a marked leaning towards integration (with other
team memebers, client and supplier) and a clear overall vision (of the company, its
operational context and its strategies). This will allow individuals to dialogue profitably
with specialist and highlight new possibilities, so ensuring a significant role in the
promotion of innovation and the definition of company strategy.
Society & Market
Design Design Management
The MDS experience was a very precious opportunity that allowed me to grow at 360° both personally and professionally.
[Nydia Urdaneta / MDS >> V]
It was a difficult and highly selective cathartic experience.
Very intense creative experimentation that is applied transversally through the new product-system development process.
[Maurizio Serena / MDS >> V]
An experience that allowed me to enter into contact with an important dimension that was foreign to me: the businesscontext.
[Manuel Cimarosti / MDS >> V]
Shake your brain and know the future.
[Luca Petruzzelli / MDS >> V]
Now that I am aware of a strategic design lens through which to view the world, everything is more clear. Thank you.
[Fiona Bennie / MDS >> V]
Every life is an encyclopedia, a library, an archive of objects and a sampling of styles where everything can be mixed,
remixed and reorganized in a vast array of ways (taken from “lezioni americane di Italo Calvino).
[Anna Chiarandini / MDS >> V]
MDS Director Guido Arrigoni - Contract professor – Politecnico di Milano
Francesco Zurlo Karim Azzabi - Designer
Raffaello Balocco - Researcher - Management Engineering – Politecnico di Milano
MDS Project Managers Laura Bartolini - Company consultant
Francesco Bergonzi Paola Bertola - Contract professor - Design Faculty - Politecnico di Milano
Alessio Marchesi Andrea Branzi - Associate professor - Design Faculty - Politecnico di Milano
Anna Meroni Virginio Briatore - Company consultant
Massimiliano Cardani - Company consultant
MDS Coordinator Mariano Corso - Associate professor - Management Engineering - Politecnico di Milano
Maria Rosaria Scelsi Alessandro Deserti - Associate professor - Design Faculty - Politecnico di Milano
Marco Ferreri - Designer
MDS Account Manager Marisa Galbiati - Associate professor - Design Faculty - Politecnico di Milano
Cabirio Cautela Federico Giua- MR&D Institute - Marketing research and development consultant
Makio Hasuike - Designer
Francois Jégou - Designer
Paolo Maccarrone - Associate professor - Management Engineering - Politecnico di Milano
Stefano Maffei - Research professor - Design Faculty - Politecnico di Milano
Iveta Merlinova - Company consultant
MDS Scientific Directors Giuliano Noci - Full professor - Management Engineering – Politecnico di Milano
Ezio Manzini Roberto Palomba - Designer
Giuliano Simonelli Raffaella Pederneschi - Company consultant
Roberto Verganti Clara Pepe - Company consultant - Design Faculty - Politecnico di Milano
Chicca Profumo - Company consultant
Marco Raimondi - Company consultant - Contract professor - Politecnico di Milano
Patrick Reinmoller - Assistant professor - Erasmus University Rotterdam - Rotterdam School of Management
Francesco Schianchi - Euros Consulting - Contract professor - Politecnico di Milano
Giorgio Tartaro - Director of BOX review
Ursula Tischner - Econcept Agency for Sustainable Design, Design Academy Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
Giovanni Toletti - Researcher - Management Engineering - Politecnico di Milano
Tullio Tolio - Full Professor - Mechanical Technology - Politecnico di Milano
Arnold Tukker - Program manager Sustainable Innovation - TNO Strategy -Technology and Policy - Delft
Francesco Trabucco - Full professor - Design Faculty - Politecnico di Milano
Clino Trini Castelli - Designer
Carlo Vezzoli - Research professor - Politecnico di Milano
Paolo Villa - Designer
SOME COMPANIES THAT HAVE COLLABORATED WITH US
FEED YOUR STRATEGIC BRAIN.
Master Design Strategico
Via Durando 38/A
20158 Milano / Italy
t. [+39] 02 23 99 7206
f. [+39] 02 23 99 5970