Stra­tegic Design: Design, Manage­ment and Research

Study Strategic Design at HfG

Stra­tegic design or SG“ for short: This is the combi­na­tion of design, manage­ment and rese­arch. In this way, our scope of action is expanded. In the Master’s degree program we ques­tion a lot and observe even more. We look at problems from all sides and pit clever minds. Above all, we can process our know­ledge in such a way that it can also be unders­tood by people from other disciplines.

Design is unders­tood here as in addi­tion to attai­ning finan­cial success, also pursuing social progress toward improved living situa­tions for people. In other words, stra­tegic design, that influences social deve­lo­p­ments and chal­lenges of the future. This requires know­ledge of cultural and social science. The master’s program at the HfG, Schwä­bisch Gmünd provides you with these skills in a project-based, inter­di­sci­pli­nary and appli­ca­tion-oriented manner.

Profile

Inter­di­sci­pli­nary

The often so strict sepa­ra­tion between product, commu­ni­ca­tion and inter­ac­tion design previously is now incre­asingly disap­pearing. We, ther­e­fore, focus on an inter­di­sci­pli­nary approach. With us you opti­mize processes, invent services, develop busi­ness models, create commu­ni­ca­tion concepts, keep an eye on diffe­rent media, rese­arch user beha­vior, get rid of products and design new ones. In doing so, you use approa­ches and methods from other disci­plines such as econo­mics, socio­logy, rhetoric and futurology.

Coope­ra­tive

Toge­ther we are smarter. That’s why you work on your projects in teams. We coope­rate with nume­rous insti­tu­tions from science and tech­no­logy, busi­ness, educa­tion and culture. The HfG enjoys a very good repu­ta­tion and the students also benefit from this. Some of us develop our final thesis in coope­ra­tion with a company. Our lectu­rers work in busi­ness and know exactly what demands are made on us in prac­tice – they prepare us for this and we benefit from their expe­ri­ence and know­ledge of the industry.

User-centered

None of us revolve around ourselves. What we do, we do for other people. That’s why, in stra­tegic design, we first listen carefully to what people are occu­pied with and what their needs are. This is valuable and can also shake you up because some­times it means that you have to leave your own ideas behind. Later, in the design process, it is also important to get feed­back from users – posi­tive and nega­tive feed­back. After all, this is how we increase the quality, rele­vance and cost-effec­ti­ve­ness of our products.

Course Content

How is infor­ma­tion and know­ledge orga­nized and used in a useful way? Which mobi­lity systems and which services will we need in the future? Which products and processes can make human life easier and better in a complex and resource-limited society?

  1. Focus on Design

    In the master’s program, you learn to expand the skills you acquired in the BA in larger and inter­di­sci­pli­nary design projects. The reper­toire of design methods will be enri­ched with theo­re­tical know­ledge from design rese­arch and cultural studies. You will opti­mize the work on projects with new analysis and plan­ning tools. The design work is seen here as the result of a process that goes far beyond the clas­sical design process itself. Students acquire stra­te­gies and design methods that demand conside­ra­tion of socio­lo­gical, economic and cultural issues. In this way, problems are viewed in an compre­hen­sive way and design solu­tions are conceived as a holi­stic process.

  2. Focus on Management

    The curri­culum aims at the acqui­si­tion of process and project manage­ment methods. This includes both stra­tegic as well as opera­tional manage­ment. This content is directly linked to the design projects: you test the manage­ment and plan­ning stra­te­gies on your design projects. Manage­ment refers not only to corpo­rate contexts, but also to concept-driven and problem-oriented design processes and solutions.

  3. Focus on Research

    The rese­arch concen­tra­tion involves scien­tific methods and deve­lo­ping rese­arch ques­tions. In addi­tion, you will deal with the current status of design rese­arch as well as concepts from related scien­tific fields such as cultural studies. The area of publi­shing as part of scien­tific work is also covered. Both theo­re­tical know­ledge and metho­do­lo­gical skills are applied in the design projects. Within the elec­tive area you can set your own focus areas.

Course of study

In the first two semes­ters you will take courses in all three funda­mental areas – design, manage­ment and rese­arch. Starting in the first semester you will test methods and processes of design in a stra­tegic design project. Findings from the accom­panying courses are inte­grated into the project. In stra­tegic manage­ment you will receive an intro­duc­tion to the basics of stra­tegy deve­lo­p­ment and formu­la­tion. Scien­tific methods as well as the theo­re­tical exami­na­tion of ques­tions of cultural studies and design rese­arch round off the program of the first semester.

In the second semester, you will also work on a design project, focu­sing on plan­ning and orga­niza­tion as well as commu­ni­ca­tion stra­te­gies. In addi­tion, courses on Opera­tional Manage­ment“ are offered. In the rese­arch module, you will delve into ques­tions of design rese­arch. You will also learn tech­ni­ques of scien­tific work and publi­ca­tion strategies.

The third semester is dedi­cated to the master’s thesis. This can consist of a design project and a written scien­tific-theo­re­tical elabo­ra­tion. The thesis is usually written in coope­ra­tion with external project part­ners from rese­arch, univer­si­ties and compa­nies, i.e. with a high scien­tific or profes­sional rele­vance. After successful comple­tion of the three semes­ters, you will receive the inter­na­tio­nally reco­gnized Master of Arts degree.

Lear­ning objec­tives of the program

The master’s program expands the design-related skills you acquired in the bache­lor’s program to include scien­tific and economic skills. The profes­sional field of the desi­gner has changed massi­vely in recent years: Today, desi­gners are incre­asingly desig­ning processe- be it control tasks in compa­nies, sustainable services or complex or trans­me­dial commu­ni­ca­tion tools. What these fields have in common is the classic“ sepa­ra­tion between product, commu­ni­ca­tion and inter­ac­tion design which are beco­ming incre­asingly blurred in profes­sional life. Ther­e­fore, the master’s program aims less at specia­liza­tion in a parti­cular disci­pline, but more at trai­ning desi­gners who work in a super­or­di­nate and inter­di­sci­pli­nary way and act as media­tors and communicators.

You will learn team leader­ship skills, the multi-perspec­tive view of problems and the analy­tical work on solu­tions. Further­more, you know the soci­ally and ecolo­gi­cally respon­sible role of the desi­gner. You are fami­liar with the condi­tions and conse­quences of design-led action and learn to influence design thin­king and action in cultural, admi­nis­tra­tive and economic contexts. You are also able to work on rese­arch tasks in design and to use evalua­tion methods to opti­mize processes.

Coope­ra­tion with other univer­si­ties, rese­arch insti­tutes, insti­tu­tions and compa­nies creates under­stan­ding for the input of powerful expert groups and shape commu­ni­ca­tion and team skills.

Super­vi­sion and equipment

Profes­sors and lectu­rers of commu­ni­ca­tion, product and inter­ac­tion design as well as cultural and economic sciences will perso­nally super­vise you at our univer­sity. In addi­tion, top-class experts from industry and rese­arch are available to you as lectu­rers. Design and scien­tific exper­tise are on an equal footing with prac­tical support from external project part­ners from the busi­ness world. 

Oliver jung fotografie hfg bildstock 2016 tag236833

Here’s where we work

Stra­tegic desi­gners are versa­tile. We are profes­sio­nals in thin­king holi­sti­cally and unusually. That’s why we are parti­cu­larly sought after when it comes to inter­face tasks. With our design Master we find our place in large compa­nies, in specia­lized design offices, in rese­arch insti­tu­tions and in cultural insti­tu­tions. We opti­mize busi­ness processes, develop long-term visions, improve the coope­ra­tion of diffe­rent disci­plines and promote the inno­va­tive spirit. The degree course also quali­fies us for a docto­rate. It depends on your interests.

In addi­tion to teaching, I am involved with design rese­arch and my docto­rate work.“
Anna Keil­bach
Doctoral Candidate & Research Assistant TH Ingolstadt
I deal with the concep­tion and faci­li­ta­tion of design thin­king and co-crea­tion work­shops. I also create tools and expe­ri­ence maps.“
Steffen Weiß
Point Blanc
I oversee trade fairs and the website. I also create films and am respon­sible for the employee maga­zine and areas of corpo­rate communications.“
Jonas Heil­geist
Corporate Commiunications Maschinenfabrik ALFING Kessler GmbH
Toge­ther with my colle­agues from diffe­rent depart­ments, I develop the opera­ting concepts for the vehicles of tomorrow.“
Marko Goller
Interaction designer for HMI operating concepts Daimler AG
Ich entwickle Geschäfts­mo­delle für die Ener­gie­ver­sor­gung und die Infra­struk­turen von morgen. Dabei bin ich vor allem für ein tiefes Kund:innenverständnis zuständig.“
Andrea Kuffe­rath-Sieberin
CX Research Expert, Corporate Innovation bei EnBW AG
Als einzige Gestal­terin in einem inter­dis­zi­pli­nären Team bin ich in verschie­densten Berei­chen meiner Exper­tise gefor­dert, bspw. bei der Konzep­tion, Planung und Gestal­tung von digi­talen Kommunikationsmaßnahmen.“
Lisa Kern
Communication Designer bei Fraunhofer IGB

Your Master Studies at the HfG! Apply now!

Jetzt bewerben! Mehr Informationen

Oliver jung fotografie hfg spacecamp 2018 6236

Ask Us

Any ques­tions? Then contact our degree program coor­di­nator for Stra­tegic Design:

 Yvonne Weimar

Yvonne Weimar

Studiengangskoordination Strategische Gestaltung