Twitter | Contact Details |

Home > Postgraduate Programme > Design


MSc International Innovation (Design)

35 industry-focussed 2 year MScs with £16,000 bursary and 6 months in China

Design shapes our world and creates meaningful relationships between people, products, places and services.

The increasing significance and influence of design and creative processes across multiple sectors and geographies has led to the development of new international career opportunities. Examples include creative consultancy, design for sustainability, design management, service design, and urban design. Expertise in innovation enhanced by design knowledge also creates bespoke career paths in and across management, science and technology.

This pathway explores design as a driver for innovation and helps you to understand how design interfaces with other disciplines in the product development process. It draws on the strengths of the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and the design-led research lab, ImaginationLancaster. You will gain an understanding of design thinking and design-driven innovation and their relationship to high-impact collaborative R&D and commercialisation projects through UK and Chinese businesses partnerships.

Year 1

Graduates

Michaelmas Term: October-December

After Welcome Week, all MSc International Innovation (Design) students take the following core modules::

Design-driven Innovation

This module introduces design-driven innovation as a mind-set that has the ability to close the innovation loop, from user-centred research to commercially viable innovations. It presents a variety of frameworks that help you to gain a comprehensive understanding of design thinking, methods and concepts and of how these can be applied to design-driven innovation. Theoretical material delivered in lectures and seminars is tested and evaluated through workshops. These will be aligned to appropriate external drivers, such as competition briefs or 'live' projects, allowing you to put theories and methods into practice in order to address a real-world design problem.

Design Management

This module familiarises you with the origins of design management, its past, present and emerging forms, its functions and purpose, and its relationship to policymaking. It provides the historical and practical context for design management in general and the role of the design manager in particular. It explores the meaning of designing versus managing and the many ways that design managers can contribute to organisations. It enables you to develop specific skills in managing projects, developing design strategies as well as giving you an awareness of branding, marketing, innovation, and the strategic design skills needed to be an effective design manager.

Introduction to Entrepreneurship

On this management module you are introduced to current theory in the fields of entrepreneurship. Topics include, for instance, the role and significance of SMEs for the economy, differences between SMEs and large companies, entrepreneurial behaviour and entrepreneurial learning.

MSc International Innovation (Design) students also choose one from the following two environmental science modules:

Environmental Management

This module will help you develop a critical understanding of key concepts, principles, tools and techniques for the management of natural resources and the environment. Particular attention is given to the challenges of dealing with complexity, change, uncertainty and conflict in the environment and to the different management approaches which can be deployed in ‘turbulent’ conditions.

Perspectives on Environment and Development

This module aims to provide a theoretical foundation for the study of development and the environment from a geographical perspective. You will focus on understanding the ways in which scholars have brought together development theory with the analysis of nature-society relations in the majority world. You will be provided with a critical understanding of the evolution of contemporary development discourses and new ways of thinking about the relationships between environment and development.

Lent Term: January-March

You take the following core modules:

Design and Business

This module considers the complex relationship between design and business and explores this relationship in its historical and contemporary contexts. It considers the manner in which design can contribute to sustainable and commercially viable propositions and the resultant relationship to organisational agendas. The role of design in business is moving towards more strategic positions increasingly working on complex systems and intangible objects. This module introduces design as a key area of intervention in business. It aims to develop creative professionals who are able to navigate complex issues, envision possible futures, mediate between creative, commercial and triple bottom-line imperatives, and connect organisations to stakeholder groups. Ultimately this module aims to develop your understanding of the scope, nature and role of design in business and the mechanisms by which it is employed.

Design Directions

This module explores future directions of design and develops your awareness of the complex interrelationships between design and others specialisms. It utilises design as the driver for such discourse but engages with many perspectives beyond those familiar to designers. The module engages with debates that are not bounded by traditional disciplinary concerns and seeks to develop an advanced level of critical and creative engagement with complex societal challenges. The curriculum supports applied and theoretical research into people, products, places and their interactions. This module develops an understanding of the scope, nature and role of design in business and mechanisms by which it is employed.

Imagination Lab

This project-based module offers learning in project management and practice at an advanced level. Projects will vary from year to year but will centre on contemporary issues in design, including emerging research directions and issues related to design and business. Projects may be based on academically significant topics which expose you to areas of contemporary design research. Alternatively, they may be linked to 'real world' issues and external clients, so developing your abilities in professional practice. Project activities in this module will directly relate to, and integrate with academic studies in other modules and will provide an important opportunity for project-based creative activities and synthesis.

Summer Term: April-July

During this term you apply your knowledge and skills to the first of your company projects:

UK Project

Students will work on behalf of an industry partner or partners in the UK. The projects are likely to take a variety of forms, but will involve collaborative R&D and commercialisation to support the development of new ventures, products, services or business processes. Working either individually or as part of a cross-disciplinary team, you will take in several projects, involving businesses in the UK.

Non-Chinese speakers will also take the following module:

Chinese Language and Culture for Business

This module is designed as a breakthrough into Mandarin Chinese in its standardised spoken form and in simplified characters as used in mainland China, particularly the language used in the business context, for beginners with no or little knowledge of Chinese. The intensive mode of learning on the module, in the short term, provides an immersive learning environment for preparing students linguistically and culturally for their half-year industrial project in China, while the long-term goal of the module is to raise students’ awareness of cultural diversity and Chinese-Western cultural differences and to develop their linguistic and intercultural competence of communicating with the Chinese appropriately and effectively in their future career.

Those already fluent in Chinese will take the following modules:

Chinese Culture for Business

Students will examine Chinese culture, particularly that of business, from a Western perspective. The long-term goal of the module is to raise students’ awareness of cultural diversity and Chinese-Western cultural differences

Business Ethics and Society I & II

The objective of this course is to attempt to develop moral sensibility and practical reasoning in the context of managerial everyday action in organisations. The course will be concerned with morality in action, as it happens, rather than a removed reflection on codes and principles of ethics. The course will aim to show that ethics in action is diffused and difficult. Nevertheless, managers and employees have a responsibility to ‘work it out’ for themselves. It is this ‘how to work it out’ that the course will keep as its focus. The course will use a number of case studies as a basis to develop this moral sensibility so that managers will be able to act in a morally appropriate manner as part of their ongoing organisational action.

Year 2

Michaelmas & Lent Terms: October-March

You will spend six months working in China on an in-depth project for an industry partner. It is anticipated that most of the projects will be based in or around the city of Guangzhou. This project work provides a great chance for you to put your skills to use in genuine business situations, learn first-hand practical lessons about the business world, and exchange ideas with entrepreneurs and business leaders. The projects are likely to take a variety of forms, but will involve collaborative R&D and commercialisation to support the development of new ventures, products, services or business processes. Working either individually or as part of a cross-disciplinary team, you will take in several projects, involving businesses in both the UK and China.

See company projects for more detail

Summer Term: April-July

During this term students return to Lancaster University to write up their company project assignment, reflect on their experiences in China and may attend career-focused seminars and workshops.

More information

To find out more about the department delivering this pathway please visit: