Design Innovation & Collaborative Creativity

Key Facts


Programme Overview


MDes in Design Innovation and Collaborative Creativity. All GSA degree programmes are validated by the University of Glasgow. Established in 1451, the University of Glasgow is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities and a founder member of Universitas 21, an international grouping of universities dedicated to setting worldwide standards for higher education.


The assessment combines written work, visual and project material produced both by groups and individuals. The assessment formats are designed to develop analytical thinking, creative synthesis and a rigorous capacity for reflection and self-evaluation. There is an emphasis upon collaborative studio working combined with individual exploration and analysis of theoretical positions and discourses.

Innovation School Website

You will study at GSA’s Creative Campus in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Located just outside Forres, the Creative Campus is a research and postgraduate teaching centre for international excellence in creativity and innovation. The combination of modern studio environment and workshop with a traditional highland setting offers a unique educational experience. We deliver Masters and PhD programmes, and the campus location enables us to research in geographically diverse and distributed contexts as well, as develop innovative forms of teaching with our academic partners around the world.

Indicative Additional Costs
Individual departments levy material fees as indicated on this page. You should budget for each year of your programme of study and should allow for costs over and above your fees and maintenance, particularly if expensive materials or projects are chosen.

Head of School
Dr Gordon Hush

Programme Leader
Jonathan Baldwin

Programme Coordinator
Dr Iain Reid

Research Methods Lecturer
Dr Mafalda Moreira

Fergus Fullerton-Pegg

Programme Overview

This programme is taught at the GSA's campus in the Highlands of Scotland. More information on living and studying at our Highlands campus is available here

As the role of design, and the designer, within contemporary society continues to develop, so too does the nature and purpose of design practice. Design is not only an industrial or production-focused occupation; it is also becoming a critical tool for future-casting. This dynamic, new programme will explore the future, generate new knowledge and formulate hypotheses for how people might live moving forwards.

Design for the future

In order to design effectively, a collaborative approach is essential to reveal multiple people-centred perspectives and enable the exchange and embedding of knowledge within teams to deliver focused innovation. 

Whether a designed product is a physical artefact, a service or an experience, knowing ‘how’ to understand what truly drives people, ‘what’ their needs are and ‘why’ remains fundamental to the role of a designer. Throughout the course you will develop highly-desirable skills, such as the ability to accumulate, articulate and extrapolate from findings to co-create value and meaning with, and for, partners. 

Whether we are members of a trade union, a ‘networked organisation’, public sector service provider or commercial enterprise, community group, artistic retreat or the citizenry in general, our activities have social, cultural, economic and ecological consequences. This programmes explores how the practices of collaborative creativity can be employed and enhanced through meaningful engagement with others and the diverse lives that they lead. The course offers ideal preparation for those who wish to apply for strategic roles in organisational and business development.

Learning through live projects

The emphasis upon collaborative working and real world engagement is examined through projects exploring the impact of the Internet of Things, ‘big data’ and emerging technologies on subjects as diverse as high-rise living, improving the experience of homeless people, encouraging political discourse. Many projects are ‘live’ with organisations as diverse as Toshiba, the Scottish Government, Tesco Bank and Alzheimer Scotland offering graduates a professional portfolio of work upon graduation.

An international perspective

International links are also important and the Winter School held in the Scottish Highlands is a collaboration with students and faculty from Schools such as The Royal Academy of Art & Design (Copenhagen) and KISD (Køln), while participants from Japan and the USA may also feature. Sharing knowledge, methods and approaches to design issues shaped more by culture and context than by formal considerations allows students to explore complex issues and the experiences of the diverse users and stakeholders of contemporary design – whether these are artefacts, services or interactions.