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Design-Led Innovation


"Have a dream that goes beyond what exists, rather than fixing what exists.” - David Kelly, Ideo

Participatory Mapping of Community healthcare systems and data infrastructures with Frontline health workers as part of the Healthy Crossroads in Pregnancy Care Project, in collaboration with University of Leicester, Loughborough University, and MAYA Health.


Our vision is to create innovators who will explore and apply the understanding of creative and original thinking through deeper exploration of human behavior, socio political context, environmental impact, business strategy and technology.

This vision has evolved through critical understanding of multiple theories and frameworks proposed by academicians and practitioners. One such popular Design Led Innovation framework developed by Sam Bucolo, Cara Wringley and Judy Mathews is adopted to explain the underlying objective of this course. The framework  was developed to assist organizations who have the desire to grow through opportunity mapping and embedding strategic value of design within their operations. The concept acknowledges that within any business a continuum exists between operational and strategic activities, and these activities have both internal and external focus.

Design Led Innovation Framework (Adapted from Bucolo et al., 2012).

At Srishti, Design-Led Innovation course concentrates on innovative interventions in a social or a business context. We think of Design-Led Innovation not just as “design driven” in its traditional sense, but more about “designing for emerging usages and technologies” to project and foresee what can be. We believe that a true multidisciplinary space is a key to nurture creativity and innovation. Therefore best practices from several disciplines have been  adopted to create the content for this course.

The term “design” is often used in literature to describe a wide range of activities, most of which are planned actions towards a preferred outcome, which could be a product, system or service. Similarly “innovation” is often used to describe both activities and outcomes. However design is often not used to describe the ‘value’ it provides to an organization and more importantly the ‘value’ it provides to existing and future consumers. Design Led Innovation (DLI) bridges this gap. DLI is a process of creating a sustainable competitive advantage, by radically changing the value proposition for a product or service.

Design enhances the outcomes of numerous innovation activities in an organization through quality enhancement, production improvement, resource optimization, finding new opportunities, exploring possibilities of new technologies, etc. Design brings in new and creative ways of thinking to tackle wicked problem areas and helps to unpack complexity.

The companies across the world are adopting concepts from the discipline of design to facilitate their innovation process and generate competitive advantages in the global market place. A Design Led Innovation approach facilitates alignment of organizational ideologies and potentially leverages its internal capabilities and resources, critically analyze or modify existing business or operational model in order to generate innovative solutions to create competitive advantage. Critical thinking and opportunity mapping  is facilitated through three different modes of thinking:  divergent , convergent and lateral. The coursewill also guide an individual towards creation of innovative and sustainable intervention with the potential to drive positive change  in an organization or society.

Core Values

Our curriculum and its experience are guided by core values that fosters the space for the development of an independent, critical and creative practice of shaping an impactful idea and drive towards implementation . The values for the course are :

  • Creative
  • Critical
  • Conscious
  • Unique
  • Responsible
  • Inclusive

Course Structure

  • Disciplinary Studies
  • Trans-disciplinary Projects
  • Theory and Understanding Units
  • Practice
  • Self-Directed Inquiry/Research
  • Knowledge Enhancement (Ability or Skills)

Exploring Game Design as a way to understand and map complexities and futures.

Learning Approach

Learning is driven by an inter- and trans-disciplinary engagement with theories, methodologies and concrete making. Learning happens through engaging and experiencing with complex settings of both design and usage. We engage with theories and frameworks in complex real-world situations to not only value the research and constructs created by others, but also question, reframe and reformulate them. As we engage with both the contexts of design and usage of technology, it is imperative that we do not bind learning to the physical space of a ‘studio’ or a ‘class’.

The studio is distributed; not only the learning activities are in the ‘real-world’, but also the notions of who is a learner and a teacher are distributed. Our knowledge is created in a collaborative manner, with a clear focus on building the capabilities of both the learners, and the communities we work with towards design and research. This implies that we actively seek to decolonize both ‘design’ and ‘research’, making them as the objects of collective inquiries, and not just apolitical means of solving problems. The learning approach encompasses engaging in and with the following aspects:

  1. Hands-on and critical making.
  2. Speculative creativity.
  3. Philosophies and methods of human centered design of digital technology and their limitations.
  4. Ethical perspectives and self-reflexivity.

Furthermore, the ‘core’ disciplinary learning is augmented by an intense engagement with transdisciplinary projects every semester. As a learner moves across disciplinary and trans-disciplinary learning and engagements in-situ, a process of independent practice emerges, forming the abilities to speculate, critically make, discern and align, as well as being ethically responsible.

Capability Sets

Upon successful completion of the course, graduates will have the capabilities to:

  • Blend and Synthesize - Able to blend and synthesize knowledge around business, design and technology.
  • See and Connect - See, Connect and consciously unearth through combination of diverse experiences and knowledge forms.
  • Creative Thinking - Ability to invent or develop a novel idea or create something new.
  • Critical and Analytical Thinking - Critically analyse primary and secondary information and strategically position one’s idea and intervention.
  • System Thinking - Able to think at a system level.
  • Opportunity Mapping – Able to identify opportunity in a given space through system level thinking and impact analysis.
  • Build and Make - Build and make to strongly link between design and innovation.
  • Responsible & Resilient - Be responsible and resilient while exploring an idea or intervention for change to scale.

Speculating futures of Middle East as an example of Mapping Futures.


We set a platform to evolve as an independent thinkers and decision makers, to play strategic leadership role in an organisation or drive self-governing projects through sustainable and innovative initiatives.

The above-mentioned capabilities equip and prepare the student for a wide range of opportunities across,

    • Design Studios  
    • Research and Development Labs
    • Public Sector Units
    • Startup Organisations
    • Small and Medium Enterprises
    • Large Enterprises 
    • Non Government Organisations
    • Social Enterprises

We anticipate the graduates of this course to work in the following job roles,

    • Innovation Consultant
    • Design Researcher
    • Strategic Business Designer
    • Product or Service Designer
    • Product Manager
    • System Designer

We also encourage and mentor on independent development of an idea towards a potential entrepreneurship venture. As well as foster a space to choose academic pathway and plan for a research oriented career through pursuing a PhD.

Collaborative imaginations of future of healthcare with JatanSansthan, Udaipur.


For more information about this program, kindly email Naveen Bagalkot at

Disciplinary Intersections

The program is informed by the following learning disciplines:


Participatory and in-situ re-imagination of rural ecosystems.

Research and Collaboration

The students under this program will have the opportunity to work with the following centers and labs at Srishti.


View Eligibility for Admission, Fee Schedule, Application Form & Other information for this Program >>