Since the First Industrial Revolution our production processes haven’t changed too much. We keep the centralized production, the explosion of natural resources, and growth addicted, believing that it will clean our environment and level the balance of the access to environmental and social rights.


We keep designing products and objectualizng desing by making desirable goods, increasing the distance between how we produce, what we really need, and where we impact.

Amazed by the technological advances and by its formal possibilities within the creative design process, we have been dazzled by techniques, forgetting the context. We have discreetly and isolatedly overdesigned the things that surround us, but we have not been able to integrate and articulate what we produce to build a unitary and regenerative environment.

A strong product- service relationship contributes to building significant experiences which allow the creation of transformations of high positive impact in our environment. Transforming design practice from a service discipline to one of strategic transformation.


“Every product is a system, whether it’s tangible, intangible, information, actional. But the ability to grasp the wholeness takes us beyond the bits and pieces, takes us beyond the tricks of skill that are such an obsessive concern in design education today.”

Richard Buchanan. Wicked Problems in Design Thinking


The Master in Design for Distributed Innovation (MDDI) program is a research and innovation ecosystem for creative professionals, entrepreneurs, policymakers and agents of change who want to realize real-world responses to the climate crisis, social injustice and biodiversity loss. It builds on a Distributed Design approach, which is one that sees design as a democratic, open practice focused on systems, not products.

In this way, the program balances advanced technologies with social dynamics and covers immediate topics such as regenerative design, hybrid technologies, new materials, value creation and social innovation in both urban and rural territories. It employs the logics of distributed infrastructure for local manufacturing, such as digital fabrication, with implementation strategies that can create real impact in cities and bioregions.


MDDI Multilayer and Scalable Methodology

MDDI is designed using the multiscale approach outlined by the Fab City global initiative. This layered approach forms the basis of the program, framing the methodological approach to conceptualizing transformational change.

Fab City Full Stack

The Fab City Full Stack is a working taxonomy developed by the Fab City Foundation to organize and implement projects at different scales. Composed of complementary and non-linear layers for cities, regions and towns, to make the Fab City implementation in a multiscalar and ecosystemic approach operational. Each interconnected layer is a space of practice and deployment, scaling Fab Lab experiences to a bioregional level in a systemic approach.

Program Structure and Outcome

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. Each module focuses on different levels of the Full Stack, which are developed in three tracks: Ecosystems, Communities and Technology.

Module 1: Why design?

The aim of this module is to establish a foundational layer of understanding of the implications of design in its relationship with natural, technological and social ecosystems, by giving students methodological tools to design valuable and meaningful solutions.

Module 2. How to design?

This module focuses on developing technical skills to develop sustainable and innovative design-systems based on the reconfiguration of technology, social dynamics and resources.

Module 3. Where to design?

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

Final Project 

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



The program follows ethical principles that guide both the academic curriculum and extended impact of the program:

  • Transformative: focused on supporting and developing local leadership to enable transformation at the local scale, while contributing to and learning from -and with- global networks.
  • Planet Centered: using design, technology and innovation to address environmental and social challenges focusing on the stability of the planet.
  • Distributed: sharing global knowledge and applying it locally. Supported by the global Fab Lab Network and associated cities of Fab City Global Initiative. Realized through coordinated nodes hosting groups of students and tutors.
  • Inclusive and just: recognising our global differences and learning from them. Promoting respect to diverse cultures, backgrounds, and worldviews.
  • Collaborative: connecting diverse actors from local ecosystems by transferring capacities and knowledge, and sharing common objectives globally.


The Fab City global initiative – conceived between Barcelona and Boston – proposes a change in our production paradigm to a new one in which atoms stop traveling thousands of kilometers to get to our hands and stomachs; on the contrary, they mostly circulate locally.

In Fab Cities, bits of information travel great distances around the planet, thanks to the digital revolution in telecommunications and computation, and emerging digital manufacturing technologies. Digital fabrication will become the key to developing over the upcoming decades an urban model focused on the development of locally productive cities and bioregions that are globally connected. Local manufacturing and production could help to increase the resilience of citizens and enable them to regain the ability to meet the needs of their local communities, providing them with technology that could help to:

  • Transform the energy production model on a local scale, using complementary micro-generation and distribution technologies.
  • Develop repositories of designs and new open-source technologies for the regeneration of vital natural systems in cities and in their bioregions.
  • Increase the use of new raw materials from materials considered waste, associated with increased demand for existing industrial capacity in cities and peri-urban areas.
  • Reduce the movement of materials on a global scale and excess production, since cities can produce what they need on demand, using mostly local materials.
  • Promote the production of a large quantity of food in proximity to urban centres, reducing energy consumption in transport, improving its nutritional quality and transparency in supply chains.
  • Increase the technological sovereignty of cities, thanks to the increase in infrastructure and training, with the aim of having a local innovation model, connected to knowledge networks on a global scale.
  • Rethink the urban infrastructure necessary to provide cities with the capacity to be productive, and also to transform the urban metabolism, including bio-digesters, biorefineries, material libraries, flexible factories and fab labs as learning and prototyping centres.

If we want to envision regenerative futures for productive cities that can maintain atoms on a local scale in bioregions and move bits of information on a planetary scale, distributed innovation processes must be enabled in which urbanisation can become restorative and regenerative, to thereby reconfigure relationships between species and life forms that make it possible to think, read and write with the experience of living in between.


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 organization, 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 organizations.

Do you believe in the power of distributed innovation?

The Master in Distributed Design for Innovation (MDDI) is a hybrid learning experience with remote and in-person content that you can take from different FabLabs around the world.

Eager to know more? Schedule a call with Josefina, MDDI Coordinator!