Distributing the Power of Design and Innovation

MDDI - an online program reshaping the frontiers of design education

  • Dec 7, 2023

The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) in partnership with Fab City has launched an innovative online program that is reshaping the frontiers of design education – the Master in Design for Distributed Innovation. This groundbreaking program seeks to distribute the power of design and innovation across various echelons of society, catalyzing and promoting a participatory culture in problem-solving and creative thinking.

The Master in Design for Distributed Innovation fosters a new generation of designers – ones who are not confined within the established disciplines but are rather skilled in multidisciplinary design thinking. These designers are prepared to innovate within a distributed network of creativity and production, leveraging a blend of digital and physical processes. Graduates will go on to be leaders, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who accelerate the transition towards a productive and sustainable model of production and consumption in their communities. MDDI is a pioneering education pathway, one that promises to democratize design and innovation. It propels participants to the frontier of design thinking, equipping them with the tools and the mindset to shape their environments actively, collaboratively, and sustainably.

Rooted in the principles of decentralized design, the program leverages the digital and physical interface of the modern world, engaging participants to implement a wide array of techniques from rapid prototyping to digital fabrication, bio-design, synthetic biology, blockchain, AI, and design innovation. This gives individuals and their communities the ability to ideate, design, and prototype solutions to problems in their immediate environment, thereby empowering them to innovate in an autonomous yet interconnected manner with a global network of makers. At the core of this ecosystem is Distributed Design, a European project in which Fab Lab Barcelona at IAAC has established itself as a leader for more than 5 years now. The Distributed Design platform, funded by the European Union and led by Fab Lab Barcelona, propagates the philosophy of design knowledge being globally shared, while products are locally produced. It gathers 15 member organizations from across Europe, who work to intertwine the concepts of the democratisation of production with the realities of digital connectivity, enabling design solutions to be responsive to local contexts while also benefiting from global knowledge networks.

The Master in Design for Distributed Innovation builds upon the legacy and the learnings from a range of associated projects and programs. The Fab Academy, initiated in 2009, set the stage with a transformative learning experience based on the principles of digital fabrication. The Fabricademy, though launched at a later date, has further expanded on these themes, blending textiles with technology, biology, and sustainability to provide another innovative layer to distributed design education. The Master in Design for Emergent Futures brings students to Barcelona to intensively work on their purpose as designers, and to develop projects in forms of interventions with local communities. The MDDI program is one of several led by Fab Lab Barcelona within the broader IAAC environment and is designed in partnership with other institutions, it builds from the experience and leadership to provide an accessible and global program in design and innovation, understanding the planet as a distributed Design School.  

The collaboration between IAAC and Fab City Foundation in the Master in Design for Distributed Innovation program not only aims to transform design education but also envisions a broader societal impact. By embracing the principles of distributed innovation, the program encourages designers to become active contributors in shaping the future of their communities. Through interdisciplinary collaboration and the integration of digital and physical processes, participants are equipped with the necessary skills to address complex challenges and create meaningful solutions. This program serves as a catalyst for a cultural shift towards participatory design, empowering individuals to engage in co-creation and fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility in building sustainable and resilient societies. By democratizing access to design and innovation, the Master in Design for Distributed Innovation is at the forefront of a transformative movement that advocates for inclusive and collaborative approaches to shape a better world for all.

Read about the Master in Design for Distributed Innovation here!

Dec 7, 2023