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Design for Social Innovation is an emerging discipline that works at a systems level, shifting cultures, igniting collective creativity, and realizing the kind of transformational opportunities for business and society that we need most right now. MFA Design for Social Innovation at SVA NYC is the first program dedicated to teaching design at scale to produce this discipline’s next leaders.

  • We offer a uniquely holistic approach – at the intersection of design, social innovation and enterprise. We teach design as a tool for social and environmental impact, not an end in itself.
  • The DSI curriculum encompasses a broad range of issues including conservation, health, food and agriculture, poverty, women’s rights, social justice, fair trade, education and community revitalization.
  • DSI students work with real clients throughout the program, gaining hands-on experience with multinational corporations, non-profits and social entrepreneurs around the globe.
  • Graduates are prepared to work in business, government, creative services, philanthropy, non-profits and as entrepreneurs.

The traditional designer is an individual creator – with a singular vision and expertise. But we have reached the point where it is unrealistic to believe that individuals, regardless of how brilliant, have the power to solve the complex problems we face. To make cities vibrant places for all citizens, to help multi-national corporations become a force for good, to create new enterprises built on products and services for a sustainable future requires adapting the traditional skills of experts to the transformation of complex systems at great scale. 

DSI was founded to identify and prepare the designers and those interested in the design process who will lead this evolution. 

Students immerse themselves in the complex systems that connect every major issue today, expanding the methodologies of design to large engagements--from the invisible systems of beliefs and mental models that drive behavior to the forms of visual design that engage and inspire participation. They learn to scale the impact of research, mapping, game theory, informal systems and economies, metrics and data visualization. 

Our faculty, curriculum, networks, and partnerships keep us connected with the best thinking and practice in the world. Faculty members are leaders in sustainability, healthcare, social technology, living systems, communication, product, movement, and game design, big data, cognitive science, and emergent business models. DSI students work with real clients throughout the program, gaining hands-on experience with multinational corporations, non-profits and social entrepreneurs around the globe. 

Students are designers seeking relevance in the future of design, not the past, and looking for professional work that matters. They are graduates in other disciplines who want to learn to harness the power of design to create positive impact. They are social entrepreneurs who want the skills and knowledge to achieve their mission more quickly and fully, and professionals who have been working in business and want to play a more central, strategic role in your industry. 

Graduates are prepared to work in business, government, creative services, philanthropy, non-profits and as entrepreneurs. 

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  • Tuesday, February 25, 2014

    Four SVA Faculty Members Named 2014 AIGA Medalists

    Four SVA Faculty Members Named 2014 AIGA Medalists

    In celebration of its centennial, the prestigious design association AIGA is awarding a select group of design leaders with the AIGA Medal, the highest honor in the design field. Among those being...

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