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Innovation and Creativity in Industry MTech/MDes/PgDip/PgCert


Innovation and Creativity in Industry Masthead

In today’s highly competitive world, business success depends increasingly on the ability to innovate. Business leaders are already recognising the importance of design thinking in shaping business strategy. Forward thinking professionals with the ability to integrate creativity and design thinking in the business functions of engineering, management, communication and commerce, will be sought after by employers across multiple sectors.

The course has been developed in collaboration with employers to address the demand from government and industry for modern business leaders able to exploit creativity in business. The course develops creative design literate engineers, scientists and management postgraduates. It is suitable for graduates from a variety of disciplines who recognise the importance of how creative practice and process can improve product and service development.

  • Course overview

    The course comprises eight one-week assessed modules a group design project, which includes individual concept development through collaboration, and an individual design project resulting in a public exhibition.

  • Group project

    The group project is an important element of the MDes Innovation and Creativity in Industry programme. The objective of the group project is to provide the students with experience of working as part of a team, organising the various elements of the project within a group, managing resources and developing their reporting and presentation skills. The project is carried out with students from the University of the Arts London.

    Industrially orientated, our team projects have support from external organisations. These include: 3M Health Care, ABSL Space Products, APROSYS, Airbus, Aston Martin, BAE Systems, BT, Chubb Security, Cranfield Impact Centre, DSGi, Ford Motor Company, GEC, GlaxoSmithKline, Hallmark Cards UK, IBM, Jaguar, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey & Company, Motorola, Pfizer, Philips, Rolls-Royce and Unilever. As a result of external engagement Cranfield students enjoy a higher degree of success when it comes to securing employment. Prospective employers value the student experience where team working to find solutions to industrially based problems are concerned.

    See our Manufacturing Group Projects from 2012/2013

    See our Manufacturing Group Projects from 2013/2014

    Watch video: Paul Ewers, Visteon Engineering Services, talks about his involvement in the Manufacturing Group Project at Cranfield University.

    Watch video: Manufacturing MSc students talk about their experience of the Manufacturing Group Projects at Cranfield University. 

  • Individual project

    The individual design project provides you with the opportunity to enhance your independent learning ability and knowledge by developing solutions to real problems in an industrially relevant area.

    The subject of the project is agreed between the student and the supervisor and will normally be based around part of the taught material and/or a company problem.

  • Modules

    The course comprises eight one-week assessed modules a group design project, which includes individual concept development through collaboration, and an individual design project resulting in a public exhibition.


    • Technology and Prototyping
      Module LeaderDr Leon Williams - Senior Lecturer in Product & Services

      To introduce requirement capture and management and concept creation fundamentals, techniques and practices consistent with early stages of new product development processes.

      • Benefits of ‘good’ requirements engineering
      • Requirements engineering process
      • Types of requirements
      • How to write a ‘good’ requirement
      • Industrial practice in requirements engineering and management
      • Hands on practice with professional software
      • Roles of consumer research
      • Benchmarking and management in successful new product development
      • The impact of creativity and innovation methods on new product development
      • User Centric Design
      • Hands on practice using a market leading software
      • Concept development manifested in a design proposition.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of the module the student will be able to:

      • Appreciate the importance of  ‘good’ practice in requirements engineering at the early stages of new product development
      • Consider and write requirements considering structured formats
      • Appreciate industrial challenges in requirements management for a complex new product development
      • Appreciate the role of consumer research, ideation practices, benchmarking and management in successful new product development
      • Have an awareness of how creativity and innovation impact new product development
      • Have an awareness of industry best practice in requirements management and decision making (eg. SixSigma, QFD)
      • Appreciate benefits of ‘good’ requirements capture and management
      • Identify different types of requirements
      • Write requirements in a structured manner, considering industry ‘best’ practice
      • Appreciate issues related to industrial practice and use of commercial software for Requirements capture and Management
      • Link requirements to idea and concept development practices
      • Appreciate the role of users in the design process
      • Appreciate the significance of creative design in the early stages of NPD processes
      • Develop concepts and design proposition development.
    • Consumer Trends for Innovation and Creativity in Industry
      Module LeaderDr Leon Williams - Senior Lecturer in Product & Services

      This module introduces the student to new methods for observing and analysing tangible and intangible elements of behaviours, expectations, and associations of customer groups. It intends to provide an insight into how developing a deep understanding of user attitudes and behaviour enables organisations to connect to what is ultimately important to consumers and importantly can help them to design and solutions that are appropriate for consumer use.

      • Market research methods; market sensing; trend analysis; empathic design
      • Lifestyle Analysis; personal cultures; group lifestyle cultures; lifestyles factor abstraction; observation techniques
      • Co-design
      • Data Gathering and Analysis Techniques; life observation; activity simulation methods; developing prototypes; applying questionnaires
      • Setting up and carrying out a Customer Lifestyle Observation Exercise.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

      • Develop a knowledge and understanding of new and established deep insight methods in studying user
      • Develop the ability to select and apply appropriate research methods to explore customer needs and desires
      • Understand and interpret data obtained and identify innovation drivers for end-consumers
      • Foster and understanding and knowledge of how to apply research information to applications within the
        commercial environment
      • Demonstrate a knowledge of new and established deep methods in studying user behaviour
      • Determine appropriate research methods to explore customer needs and desires
      • Interpret data obtained and identify innovation drivers
      • Apply research information to applications within the commercial environment.
    • Design and Brand Management

      The aim of this module is to introduce the student to the concepts and techniques involved in communication and branding as a strategic part of company planning and activity. To introduce some psychologies associated with perception. To make the student aware of the methods by which a company identifies itself outwardly, consideration of audiences, the techniques employed in communication, and the methods adopted within companies to achieve agreed goals in these areas.

      • Visual communication interpretation
      • Cultures of imagery
      • Graphic production methods
      • Theoretical and practical models of visual research 
      • Research methodologies in Graphic Design
      • Thematic approaches to problem solving
      • Relationships between audience and message 
      • Principles of branding and association
      • Corporate identity
      • Brand stakeholders
      • Brand communication methods
      • External communication within corporate structures
      • Stakeholders 
      • Measurement of success.

      This module will involve teaching input from University of the Arts London staff.

      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

      • Effectively apply visual messages to meet commercial objectives
      • Determine and communicate value systems relevant to corporate communication
      • Make judgements within expressions of contemporary communication media
      • Organise creation of visual communications towards branding objectives.
    • Creative Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
      Module LeadersProfessor Andrew Burke - Professor of Entrepreuneurship, Dr Stephanie Hussels - Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship

      The aim of this course is to promote productive and self-sustaining entrepreneurship. It provides students with a rigorous grounding in business analysis of entrepreneurship in order to prepare them for the risky, uncertain and challenging environment for new business ventures. It also requires students to immerse themselves in the real-life experience of launching new ventures. Therefore, students are required to either start their own business or contribute to the development of another venture while on the course.  

      • Entrepreneurial risk, performance and environment
      • Business planning techniques and their application in entrepreneurial ventures
      • Venture strategy in dynamic markets
      • Start-up and resources to exploit a profit opportunity
      • The evolution of the venture and managing growth
      • Protecting and securing intellectual capital: IPR and antitrust law
      • Financial management for new ventures: financing a start-up
      • The entrepreneurial financing process: buying and selling a venture.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of the module the student will be able to:

      • Understand the key stages and challenges involved in identifying opportunities and strategies for business start-ups
      • Manage and finance the early stages of new venture development and growth
      • Evaluate, research, write, and present business plans using their knowledge of the entrepreneurial process.
    • Managing Innovation and New Product Development
      Module LeadersProfessor Keith Goffin - Professor of Innovation and New Product Development, Dr David Baxter - Lecturer in Innovation

      Managing innovation is a complex challenge: this course will provide a framework to help managers perceive the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation and choose the appropriate means of improving performance.

      • Introduction: elective content, style of teaching and learning; expectations of students and faculty; project teams; course assessment; reading; etc
      • Understanding Innovation: the need for innovation in the service, manufacturing, public and other sectors
      • Creating Customer-focused Ideas: understanding customers’ hidden needs through enhanced methods for market research
      • ‘Auditing Innovation Performance’: determining how innovative an organization is, in terms of not only its output of new products and services but also its internal processes
      • Prioritisation: Methods for assessing the technical, market and financial risks of innovation projects
      • Implementation and new product development: how to define and quickly implement concepts for new products, services and processes
      • People and Organisation: building a culture of innovation
      • Developing an Innovation Strategy
      • Boosting Innovation Performance.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

      • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the nature of innovation – identified by Michael Porter as one of the two most important business processes (with marketing) – and be able to identify the relevance and potential for innovation within an organisation and/or network
      • Critically evaluate appropriate (quantitative and qualitative) data on the performance of an organisation and generate ideas for boosting innovation performance
      • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the key tools and techniques for managing innovation, know where to find information on leading edge approaches, and have the ability to critically evaluate, select and systematically apply these in actual business situations
      • Demonstrate fundamental understanding of the people issues when applying and managing innovation, including where there can be political, cognitive and other barriers to overcome.
    • Whole System Design
      Module LeaderDr Fiona Charnley - Lecturer in Sust Product & Service Desig

      This module aims to introduce students to strategies and tools that enable integrated sustainable product development to take place. In particular to gain experience of the tools and techniques used to guide designers responding to the requirements for more sustainable development of products, organisational processes and urban environments. Delivering environmental improvements in products requires organisations to take a longer term integrated view of their product and service policies.

      • A framework of ecodesign: history and definitions
      • Strategies and drivers for the integration of environmental considerations in product and process development
      • Lifecycle (systems) thinking; tools and techniques for environmental improvement; integrated product and service perspectives toward sustainability;
      • Frameworks for eco-innovation; resource productivity and factor 10
      • Product - service - systems (PSS); design, society and ethics; practical examples of PSS design activity
      • Principles and practice of eco-design: material selection, energy consumption, design for disassembly, material recovery, reuse, repair and recyclability
      • Case studies demonstrating the adoption of a holistic approach to more innovative and sustainable solutions.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

      • Identify the design trade-offs and demonstrate a knowledge of methods to address the more sustainable development of new products
      • Critically evaluate the definitions and scope of design for sustainability from different technical, environmental and social perspectives
      • Explain the methods used, trade-offs considered and significance of using life-cycle techniques for the appraisal of product and process development options
      • Explore and synthesise concepts of design responsibility and the ethical agenda of designing for society
      • Develop a systemic understanding of the link between design activity, environment and society and the concept of  ‘product service systems’ as a framework for organisational activity
      • Demonstrate an understanding of case studies from across design disciplines that have adopted a holistic approach to the design of more innovative and sustainable solutions.
    • Smart Materials and Processes
      Module LeaderDr Jorn Mehnen - Reader in Computational Manufacturing

      This module aims to support the professional and personal development of students with a design and engineering background at an MSc level. This module provides insight into the latest cutting-edge design and manufacturing technologies and improves knowledge skills necessary for developing products that will create an impact in the global market. This module is shared by the two courses MSc in Global Product Development and MDes Innovation and Creativity in Industry.

      • Learn about Nano- and Micro-Materials Technology
      • Biomimetics
      • Applied design using smart materials and processes
      • Wikinomics
      • Applied global product patenting and product legislation
      • Creating a global product development capability
      • Professional presentation skills training
      • Research task: solving design challenges using SM&P technology.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On completion of this module the student will be able to:

      • Demonstrate knowledge of advanced modern manufacturing technology
      • Research appropriately into applied design and global product development
      • Enhance knowledge and understanding of a range of materials within the context of contemporary design
      • Demonstrate new skills on global product legislation
      • Improve presentation skills
      • Develop management skills around the application of global product development and innovative design using various technologies.
    • Programme and Project Management

      To introduce concepts and methodologies of project and programme management in the implementation of enterprise systems.

      • Project and Programme Management
      • PM Tools and Techniques
      • IT Project Management
      • An introduction to Prince 2
      • An introduction to Managing Successful Programmes
      • Project Complexity and Risk
      • Project Management simulation
      • IT Project Readiness
      • Organisation and People issues.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

      • Understand the nature of project and programme management
      • Appreciate the recognised approaches to project and programme management
      • Understand project complexity and risk
      • Understand characteristics of IT projects
      • Appreciate the dynamics of project execution. Understand the basic concepts of project and programme management
      • Understand the tools and techniques required to manage a successful project implementation
      • Understand common approaches to project and programme management
      • Understand the characteristics of IT projects
      • Explain the issues surrounding the management of risk
      • Appreciate the complexity in project execution.
  • Assessment

    Taught modules 40% Group projects* 20% Individual research project 40%

  • Start date, duration and location

    Start date: Full-time: October, part-time: throughout the year

    Duration: Full-time: one year, part-time: two to five years

    Teaching location: Cranfield

  • Overview

    The aim of this Master of Design (MDes) programme in Innovation and Creativity in Industry is to equip candidates with skills and capabilities in, and knowledge of, fact-based creative design approaches to improve organisation effectiveness. The programme has been developed in conjunction with the University of Arts London (UAL) through the Centre for Competitive Creative Design, which aims to inspire organisations to apply creative design capability and enhance competitiveness.

    There is a strong emphasis on applying knowledge in the industrial or business environment and the programme is taught in the context of practical application. Students will develop a working knowledge of the use of a comprehensive range of industry standard ICT tools and practices to formally capture and re-use knowledge, information and data. Students will also benefit from practical experience in creative design practices through the group project (dissertation for part-time students). In addition, the extensive individual thesis project provides industry-led education in creative design applications.

    The primary focus of the Centre for Competitive Creative Design is embedding state-of-the-art design-led innovation practice, developed through research and industry collaboration, within business and education to improve commercial performance and develop future innovation leaders

  • Informed by industry

    Our courses are designed to meet the training needs of industry and have a strong input from experts in their sector. These include:

    • BRE
    • Viadynamics
    • Aspire Measurements Ltd
    • Welding Alloys Ltd
    • Creative Industries KTN
    • The Partners
    • LA Design
    • Transport for London
    • SAB Miller
    • Nokia
    • IBM
    • BSKYB

    Students who have excelled have their performances recognised through course awards. The awards are provided by high profile organisations and individuals, and are often sponsored by our industrial partners. Awards are presented on Graduation Day. View the 2014 Prize Winners booklet.

  • Your teaching team

    You will be taught by a wide-range of subject specialists from Cranfield with support from industrial professionals, who draw on their expertise and industrial experience to provide stimulating and relevant input to the learning experience of the course.

  • Facilities and resources

    You will be working within the Centre for Competitive Creative Design (C4D), voted one of the world’s top 30 design schools by Businessweek. The Centre is part of the Product and Service Innovation Centre within Manufacturing at Cranfield. It aims to inspire organisations to apply creative design capability and enhance competitiveness. The Centre works closely with organisations across a range of sectors, from government bodies such as the Department of Health to large internationals such as Ford, Xerox and Proctor and Gamble, offering students excellent networking opportunities.

  • Entry Requirements

    Candidates must possess, or be expected to achieve, a First or Second class UK Honours degree in a relevant science, engineering or related discipline, or the international equivalent of these UK qualifications. Other relevant qualifications, together with significant experience, may be considered.

    English language

    If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification.  The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

    IELTS - 6.5

    TOEFL - 92 (Important: this test is not currently accepted by the UK Home Office for Tier 4 (General) visa applications)

    TOEIC - 800 (Important: this test is not currently accepted by the UK Home Office for Tier 4 (General) visa applications)

    Pearson PTE Academic - 65

    Cambridge English: Advanced - C

    Cambridge English: Proficiency - C

    In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test.  We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score if too low.

    We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

    Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa will also need to meet the UKBA Tier 4 General Visa English language requirements.  The UK Home Office are not currently accepting TOEFL or TOEIC tests for Tier 4 (General) visa applications. Other restrictions from the UK Home Office may apply from time to time and we will advise applicants of these restrictions where appropriate.

  • Fees

    Home/EU student

    MDes Full-time - £4,950


    The annual registration fee is quoted above. An additional fee of £1,080 per module is also payable.

    MDes Part-time - £1,280 *

    PgDip Full-time - £5,000

    PgDip Part-time - £1,070 *

    PgCert Full-time - £2,500

    PgCert Part-time - £1,070 *

    Overseas student

    MDes Full-time - £16,250

    MDes Part-time - £8,500

    PgDip Full-time - £12,000

    PgDip Part-time - £6,250

    PgCert Full-time - £6,000

    PgCert Part-time - £4,500

    Fee notes:

    • Fees are payable annually for each year of study unless otherwise indicated.
    • The fees outlined here apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2014 and 31 July 2015 and the University reserves the right to amend fees without notice.
    • All students pay the annual tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
    • Additional fees for extensions to registration may be charged.
    • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) pay international fees.
  • Funding

    Funding opportunities exist, including industrial sponsorship, School bursaries and a number of general external schemes.  For the majority of part-time students sponsorship is organised by their employers. We recommend you discuss this with your company in the first instance.

  • Application process

    Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at that time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.

  • Career opportunities

    Cranfield has an international reputation and track record in industrial research for applied sciences, engineering and management. Cranfield University is recognised internationally as the leading UK educational institution in art and design, named in Business Week as one of the worlds best design schools.

    There is a recognised skills shortage in competitive creative design. Graduates of this course are therefore sought after by employers and will be able to secure positions within a range of sectors. Roles are varied, ranging from managers of people to design managers in creative industries. Graduates will possess a combination of science-based skills with creative insight which is increasingly desirable for employers looking to enhance productivity performance in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

  • Dale Walker

    Dale Walker provides a testimonial for the MDes in Innovation and Creativity in Industry, mentioning his excitement of its integration of creativity, design thinking and business skills.