INTRODUCTION

The Master in Design for Distributed Innovation (MDDI) is a distributed learning program focused on the intersection of design, technology, ecosystems and communities to improve interspecies wellbeing. MDDI is a research and innovation ecosystem for creative professionals, entrepreneurs, policymakers and agents of change who want to realise real-world responses to the climate crisis, social injustice and biodiversity loss, connecting a global community of changemakers with local innovators in order to address complex challenges.

It combines online and in-person learning to support innovators to gain the social and technical skills needed to develop projects for positive impact with their own communities that aim for measurable transformational change towards planetary consciousness.

The programme is organised by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia and Fab City Foundation. It is co-delivered by Fab Lab Barcelona at IAAC, local nodes of the distributed campus, and is supported by the global Fab Lab Network.

Applications are still open this summer for the next academic year (2022-23 & 2022-24).
Apply Now!

Master in Design for Distributed Innovation
Edition 1st edition
Duration 10 months, from October 2022 — July 2023 Part-Time
Format Online (complementary enhanced learning with Fab City Local nodes). Check last nodes updates
Language English
Tuition Fee 12,000 USD (for nodes outside EU)
12.000 EUR (for nodes inside the EU)

STUDENT PROFILE

As a MDDI candidate, participants might be already working in the public or private sector, academic institutions or, may come from an entrepreneurial background having started their own business related to planetary restoration. The program aims to become a platform to boost and accelerate students’ capabilities to produce change in their own contexts, and to accelerate the transition towards a productive and sustainable model of production and consumption in their communities.

Creative industries and makers
Designers, Makers, Architects, Urbanists and Artists who want to expand their knowledge by incorporating new design methodologies, technological skills and theoretical arguments to deploy in their personal and professional projects sustainably.

Entrepreneurs and social Innovators
Professionals from all areas who wish to transform their ideas into social innovations or start their sustainable entrepreneurship by expanding their technical skills and design methods to become agents of positive change.

Government employees and NGOs
Professionals who are already making changes from inside in public services or non-governmental-organisations and want to accelerate the impact of policy by adopting an innovation culture.

PROFESSIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

The program offers innovators and changemakers the opportunity to address global challenges in their working and living contexts to enable local transformation, by learning from and adapting global knowledge. MDDI graduates will have the possibility to integrate the knowledge acquired in the program in their working environments, or expand their research agenda after the program. At the same time, graduates with an existing business or initiative linked to the purpose of the program will have the opportunity to reinforce and scale up their reach, and incorporate new knowledge in their current mission.

An MDDI graduate might change or develop a new department within their organisation, or find work as Head of Innovation, Director of Strategic Design, Head of Research and Development, CEO of their own startup, or lead transformation projects in public and civil organisations.

Admission Requirements

Bachelor or higher degree in Industrial Design, Product Design, Architecture and Urban Design, Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Computer Science, Engineering (Mechanical, Chemical, Product, Material), Sociology, Anthropology, Economy, and other related professions.

PROGRAM STRUCTURE

As a distributed program, MDDI students will experience a mix of online seminars with in-person mentorships and the production of physical prototypes in their local nodes. The program is structured in three modules of one trimester each, plus a final project implementation during one month. Each module focuses on a pair of levels of the Fab City Full Stack, which are developed in three tracks: Ecosystems, Communities and Technology.

The aim of this module is to establish a foundational layer of understanding the implications of design in its collaboration with communities, human and nonhuman agents, by giving students methodological tools to develop valuable and meaningful scalable systems. With a focus on the development of new learning skills for designing the future and how to enable impact-based incubations at local scales, based on distributed design, collaboration, biomass economy and digital tools.

This module focuses on developing technical skills to develop sustainable and innovative solutions based on the reconfiguration of technology, social dynamics and resources. Focusing on developing shared urban and territorial strategies, cultivating networks of communities and cities, based on bio-technologies, bio and digital fabrication, bio interactions and blockchain.

In this final module, students will be introduced to different but integrated strategies of applying, developing and leading innovative projects in an economic, social, and environmental regenerative manner, achieving a bioregional impact. By developing skills related to impact evaluation, integrative technologies, multiscale layering and horizontal leadership.

SEMINARS AND CONTENTS:

Module 1: October – December
Why we design?

The aim of this module is to establish a foundational layer of understanding the implications of design in its collaboration with communities, human and nonhuman agents, by giving students methodological tools to develop scalable systems.

Design tools 1. 
This introductory seminar will give students the required basic skills to 3d design modelling, basic coding, and data representation skills.

Distributed Design.
Productive based design methodologies are the basis of the actual production model that promotes the black-boxing of products and services, distances designs, producers, users and ecosystems. Distributed Design offers a set of tools to design systems in an inclusive, collaborative, sustainable and democratic way, to shape the productive model.

Bio-Based Economy.
The seminar will focus on the foundational concepts for developing regenerative materials for a circular economy. The majority of time will be spent doing practical making and applied research, with the goal of co-creating resources for further use in the regenerative materials community. Objectives include understanding the principles of life-friendly chemistry and applying them to materials development, and creating tools and methodologies for an ecoregional approach to materials sourcing. Evaluation will be based on developing a prototype of a new material, a written report about a current leader in regenerative materials, and a final project developing and applying a methodology for ecoregional sourcing.

Propagating Collaboration.
Facing a world dominated by the culture of competition, divided by markets, politics, and borders; distanced by pending gaps in education, health, and incomes; and disconnected from others perspectives. This seminar promotes the culture of collaborative creativity, allowing participants to integrate ideas and capabilities to co-create innovative solutions with high global impact.

Systems Design Studio: In this studio, students will design a system in a predefined environment, focusing on the replication, evolution, and scaling of the solution, understood as an intervention.

Module 2: January – March
How we design?

This module focuses on developing technical skills to develop sustainable and innovative technologies based on digital and bio technologies that can impact local communities in the scale of neighbourhoods and cities.

Human++: Bio Interactions.
This seminar will focus on the measurement and exploration of biological interactions between humans, objects, spaces, and infrastructures, giving students a novel perspective to understand our relationship with our natural and artificial environment through biology.

Bio-Technologies.
The course proposes an interdisciplinary methodology that combines Design Thinking with the observation of nature and the understanding of biotechnology. During the Biodesign process, students will have the possibility of formulating projects that incorporate biotechnologies to solve challenges related to the Sustainable Development Goals. Through practical exercises around observation and prototyping, expert guests and the formulation of a final project, an application is designed taking into account scientific articles, biotechnologies, living organisms, natural and ecological systems, among others to solve a specific problem.

Activating Communities.
This seminar will have an intercultural approach of sharing knowledge, methodologies, and experiences from diverse global leaders that in different contexts are taking care of the planet and their social and natural ecosystems. Providing students with different perspectives, motivations, and methods to approach their own communities.

Distributed Economies: Blockchain.
This seminar will give students a wide perspective and deep understanding of how distributed technologies support new economic models, impacting the way we consume, produce, validate and distribute information and goods.

Technologies Design Studio: This studio will focus on the development of a functional technological intervention in a local community, with the capacity to establish a relationship between nature, social dynamics.

Module 3: April – June
Where we design?

In this final module, students will be introduced to different but integrated strategies of applying and developing innovative projects in an economic, social, and environmental regenerative manner, achieving a bioregional impact.

Holistic Technologies.
We spend our lives interacting with objects and interfaces whose underlying technology we hardly understand, not merely due to their complexity but also because they were intended to be closed by design. Through the idea of hacking, we will explore the internal components building everyday objects, from coffee machines to wi-fi networks, while learning the principles of open software and hardware tools to change the way they work and interface with the world.

Social, economical and environmental impact evaluation.
The purpose of this course is to allow the students to quantify the causal effect of social and environmental interventions by giving them a basic understanding of impact evaluation methods. The course guides the student on the step by step process of understanding the pathways of change, conceptualizing an evaluation, the different methodologies for conducting impact evaluation and choosing the most appropriate methodology given the circumstances and each method’s weaknesses and strengths.

BioRegion Matters.
In this Seminar, we will raise the importance of situating systemic transitions into “local” cultures by diving into various scales (from neighbourhoods, cities, regions) and by practising systemic thinking for regeneration and proximity. We will particularly emphasize the role of labs as an interface for citizen engagement, co-creation and public engagement in territories and explore case studies from different bioregions highlighting intersections between urban-rural, coast-mountain, emotional-cognitive.

Distributed Leadership: Behavioral Change.
Designing and applying distributed innovations requires a new leadership archetype based on a humanistic approach that can horizontally integrate all actors and lead behavioural changes in their current environments with autonomy, conviction, and team building.

Full-Stack Design Studio: This studio focuses on the integration of the multi-layers of the Fab City Full Stack of a functional technological design system that can promote a new and positive change in its contexts integrating social, technological, and natural environments.

Final Project Implementation: July
During the last month, students have to develop and implement a final project in collaboration with its nodes ecosystem. The projects should be a positive solution that integrates the local ecosystem and community through technology, service or model.

FAB CITY DISTRIBUTED LEARNING PLATFORM:

The program will be taught within the distributed learning platform of the Fab City Foundation, where students will be able to review class recordings, review news and extracurricular activities, and interact with their classmates and teachers instantly or asynchronously.

Synchronous and Asynchronous Formats

Due to the time zone differences, nodes will offer the classes in Synchronous or Asynchronous formats, both supported by the Fab City Distributed Learning Platform:

Synchronous: nodes will follow live online classes in video-conference platforms, sharing a global campus at different time zones.

Asynchronous: classes will be recorded and immediately will be shared with nodes. Local instructors will present the videos to students in in-person mentoring sessions. In addition, there will be weekly live mentoring sessions with global instructors to review their work and project developments.

FACULTY:

MDDI program has been designed by researchers, practitioners and thought-leaders from Fab City, Fab Lab Barcelona, IAAC and the global Fab Lab Network ecosystems, gathering a unique and internationally recognised team.

Directors.

Tomás Vivanco
Architect, Master in Advanced Architecture – IAAC/ PhD(c) Digital Futures, Tongji University/ Fab Lab Austral UC Director/ Professor School of Design, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

Tomás Diez
Fab Lab Barcelona Director/ Fab City executive Director/ IAAC Board of Trustees/ MDEF co-director

Faculty.

Ruby Reed. Social entrepreneur, co-founder Advaya and Ecoresolution
Lorenzo Patuzzo. Founder of Akasha Barcelona, Ethereum Barcelona  and greencitylab.org
Elizabeth Corbin, Materiom co-founder
Benito Juarez. Architect & Fabber. Co-founder of the Latin American Fab Labs Network
Dr. Alysia Garmulewicz, Materiom co-founder
Guillem Camprodon Fab Lab Barcelona Research director
Dr. Elizabeth Henaff. Biologist, Assistant Professor NYU
Dr. Paulo Cruz. Strategic Management, Weflow Global
Dr. Giovanna Danies. Biologist and Microbiologist, Associate Profesor UAndes, Colombia
Santiago Fuentemilla. Future Learning Unit Head & Fab Academy Guru, Fab Lab Barcelona
Dr. Marion Real. Systemic Design Researcher, Fab Lab Barcelona
Liza Valença. ESG, Impact Evaluation and Advocacy, Weflow Global
Xavier Dominguez. Future Learning Researched, Fab Lab Barcelona
Eduardo Chamorro. Digital Fabrication Researcher, Fab Lab Barcelona
Josep Martí. Fab Lab Barcelona Assistant
Julia Leirado. Future Learning Researcher, Fab Lab Barcelona

PARTNER ENTITIES:

FAB CITY FOUNDATION
Founded in 2014 as a spinoff of the Global Fab Lab Network and Fab Lab Barcelona, Fab City Foundation coordinates a global network of 41 cities that pursue a shift away from the linear industrial paradigm of linear production and consumption of our cities, based on the import of products that generates trash (PITO: Product-in Trash-out), by enabling the return of manufacture to cities supported by a circular and local productive model, based on digital technologies and information (DIDO: Data-in Data-out). Fab City is expanding the impact of the Fab Lab Global Network of more than 2,500 Fab Labs distributed in the five continents supporting this change in the scale of production, by providing the physical infrastructure to produce locally (almost) everything. At the same time, by connecting highly technical trained people with communities for knowledge transfer and prototyping capacities.

 

FAB LAB BARCELONA- INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED ARCHITECTURE OF CATALONIA
The first Fab Lab funded in the European Union in 2007, is situated inside the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). Fab Lab Barcelona is a founding member and one of the first locations of the global distributed education program, Fab Academy.  As part of the transition into Industry 4.0 and leading the Fab City initiative, Fab Lab Barcelona focuses on the human-scale and the everyday experience; identifying opportunities in rising trends across seven strategic areas of expertise including Distributed Design, Future Learning,

 

IAAC – INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED ARCHITECTURE OF CATALONIA
The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) is a centre for research, education, production and outreach, with the mission of envisioning the future habitat of our society and building it in the present. IAAC follows the digital revolution at all scales (from bits to geography, from micro-controllers to cities, from materials to the territory) to expand the boundaries of architecture and design and meet the challenges faced by humanity. IAAC is an experimental and experiential centre where one learns by doing, through a test methodology that promotes real solutions. IAAC is an open, independent and radical non-profit foundation, with 20 years of activity; inspired by the values of Barcelona, the capital of architecture and design, where urbanism was invented and where local high quality and innovation-oriented research is connected to an international network of excellence in technology, architecture and society fields.

 

LOCAL NODES.
The in-person learning experiences are offered in partnership with the Fab City Network and Fab Labs across the world. Local nodes are the physical spaces where students gather, meet their local instructors, join online classes together, prototype their ideas and develop their weekly assignments and projects.

+ Check the full list of local nodes at https://fab.city/mddi.html
+ If your city or closest Fab Lab is not on the list, you can fill this form.

FAQs

What is Distributed Education?
Distributed Education is a blended methodology that mixes online and in-person education formats that use physically distributed and digitally interconnected global infrastructure nodes, like Fab Labs, that become classrooms. Students practice synchronously and asynchronously, creating a global and distributed campus.Whilst the approach is similar to distance education, it takes the concept a step further, distributing the development and circulation of content between the nodes as well.

What if there is no node in my city?
You can fill in the form and let us know where you are based. The MDDI coordination team will get in touch with you to see if it’s possible to connect you to a node or Fab Lab close to you. If for any reason we can’t connect your city to the program, we’ll endeavour to help you to join your closest existing node.

How will the local knowledge of my community contribute to the program?
Each MDDI node offers students access to the local community and networks to deploy their projects in a bottom-up approach. This is important in reaching the goals of the Fab City global initiative. It all starts with building ecosystems within cities and developing sustainable initiatives that will shape the new global production paradigm.

Do I need to have ‘Fab Lab’ skills to apply?
We don’t require any specific technical skills. We look for diverse student profiles, with different backgrounds and expertise. MDDI is designed for everyone interested in design, sustainability, technologies, ecologies and cities.

Do I need to have a project to apply?
Because our student profile includes different backgrounds and disciplines, every application will be evaluated under its individual merits. To apply you only need a professional diploma, a letter of interest and a portfolio or a project-based CV.