The demands facing global business, governments, and society as a whole are increasingly complex, and changing at an ever accelerating pace. Navigating this dynamic environment will require leaders who understand how to bring order to this complexity, drive and navigate social change, and develop, scale and tailor solutions to our most pressing problems that are capable of yielding the reach, significance, paradigm change, and longevity of influence that we call impact.  We are taking on this challenge by developing the research-derived foundations of a new field, Innovation Science – that is the study of the mindsets, behaviors, attributes, tools, and methods employed in the innovative activity of individuals and organizations.  The Interdisciplinary Graduate Concentration in Transformational Innovation and Design draws on insights from Innovation Science to provide graduate students with the opportunity to gain an end-to-end perspective on innovation, rooted in the design process, and founded on rigorous theory, methods, and experiences from a diverse array of disciplines that span problem framing and contextualization (FRAME), solution conceptualization, exploration and development (SHAPE), as well as trial, adoption, and impact realization (PURSUE). The Concentration is an ideal complement to any graduate degree, and is particularly suited for graduate students seeking to proactively drive impact in complex socio-technical settings that likely require the design, development, and adoption of physical or conceptual innovations, and/or those who seek to advance our fundamental understanding of innovation and design through their research.

Upon successful completion of the concentration, you will be able to…

  • Employ rigorous methods to develop holistic perspectives of stakeholders and challenges
  • Harness impact-focused design principles to systematically explore and develop solutions tailored to beneficiary contexts
  • Utilize qualitative, quantitative, and/or physical enquiry methods to model/make/explore and/or refine problem-solution alternatives
  • Develop influence strategies to encourage solution adoption by target stakeholders
  • Critically evaluate the broad impacts of holistic designs


Tailor Your Concentration Plan of Study

Achieve breadth and depth in the field by understanding and experiencing the theoretical foundations, methods, and means of application that enable transformational, impact-focused innovation and design.

Curricular requirements

  • The program is currently available to graduate students in Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.  Students in other disciplines are encouraged to contact the Innovation and Leadership Studies office at to explore options to incorporate this plan of study in their curriculum.
  • To fulfill program requirements, graduate students must complete 15 credits by pursuing courses in 5 of 9 zones in the program course matrix (see Concentration Course Matrix); courses appearing in more than one zone may only be used once.  
  • All courses must be completed with a minimum grade of B
  • To enroll in the program, students must submit a narrative (2 pages maximum) to the Innovation and Leadership Studies curriculum committee (, describing their objective in pursuing the concentration and the way in which their anticipated plan of study for the concentration supports that objective.
  • Graduation candidates must notify Innovation and Leadership Studies ( to initiate a final audit of their plan of study and concentration approval.  Failure to complete all requirements will cause the concentration to be removed.