The two-year master’s programme in ‘Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design’ provides students with an understanding of how multidisciplinary knowledge supported by theoretical insight and emerging technologies can bridge with the social needs and values of our societies to provide the best possible local and global futures.
Students engage with local and international companies and organisations to train in the innovation process in teams with different competences and work in an environment of collaborative creativity. This unique learning model empowers programme participants with the right skills and methods to apply business-, engineering- and design-led perspectives to complex societal issues by a co-creative approach and guides them to further evaluate innovative products and services to create a sustainable effect on the people and the planet.
Complimentary to the core academic studies, students engage with IKEA, the program’s main industrial partner. IKEA contributes with Democratic Design principles, latest methods and tools as well as workshops and tutoring to train product development processes in real time, thus giving the students a hands-on opportunity to corporate projects and providing them the opportunity to implement knowledge and practices for IKEA’s goal to create a better everyday life for the many people.
The uniqueness of the programme is that it has students from three different faculties - Business, Engineering and Design and brings together a diversity of competences, backgrounds and experiences to enable the innovation process in all its complexity to address the challenges that humankind is facing regarding environmental and social issues. Eventually, the program deepens students’ understanding not only on knowledge and skills that influence the innovation process but also trains them in the professional way of working in a context where many fields of knowledge and practices are interacting.
Companies and organisations worldwide need professionals that can carry out collaborative creativity to innovate and support sustainable development. Students trained in multidisciplinary innovation teams are best suited to meet such expectations. The programme empowers the students with knowledge on key issues of the modern world such as design thinking, system engineering, circular economy , conscious consumption and frugal innovation, to name a few. Graduates of this program can effectively use their acquired knowledge from product and service design, new business approaches and technology application for sustainable development to create unique and cost effective solutions for the issue at hand. They become excellent co-workers as their multiple perspective training in the programme provides them with the right tools to encourage motivation, trust respect for diversity , leadership and communication skills, all essential characteristics of a valued employee and team member.
Master of Arts with specialisation in Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design. Main field of study: Transdisciplinary Design and Sustainability
The language of tuition is English. In this way, you will become prepared not only for a career in Sweden, but also for a career in international contexts. The programme admits students from all over the world, which means that you will get international and multicultural experience throughout the programme. Further opportunity for internationalisation is provided through the opportunity to study a semester abroad at one of our partner universities around the world.
Application and portfolio
You find instructions for the portfolio below.
Please submit your entire application, including the portfolio assignments below, by last day of application.
There is two application rounds to apply to the program:
1. Deadline to apply for international students is 15 January, application code LNU-F0603. (still open for late application)
2. Deadline to apply for EU applicants is 15 April, application code LNU-05166.
Portfolio Guidelines. MFA Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design – Specialisation design
For your submitted portfolio to be deemed complete, it must consist of two components:
1. Representative work, including your degree project and its written report, if there is such. Please send the report as PDF in low resolution.
2. Statement of purpose
1. Representative Work
Your portfolio should include a maximum of 12 pages of your most creative work, and should represent a variety of design and art approaches and outcomes. We encourage you to choose work that demonstrate the range of your interests, even outside of your studies, such as internships, etc.
In the upload form, enter a brief description of the work you upload.
2. Statement of purpose
Besides your portfolio the statement of purpose is an important part of the application –it gives you opportunity to present yourself and it gives us the opportunity to know your interests in advance. Write a short statement (max 2xA4) containing:
Name of University at which you have studied for your BA degree:
Country you have studied for your undergraduate degree:
Answer then the following questions:
What is innovation for you?
What is your definition of design and what is the role of a designer in the future?
Why do you believe you would benefit from joining a multidisciplinary program?
What do you think you could contribute with?
What are your career ambitions immediately after graduating from the program?
Describe then shortly how you plan to achieve the goals of the program.
Describe your experiences concerning interdisciplinary development work/process.
Finally attach a one page CV/resume to your statement of purpose
The statement of purpose will be evaluated in terms of:
• Your approach to innovation
• Your definition of design, your role as designer and the future challenges you see
• Your capacity to describe your skills and how they might contribute in a multidisciplinary team
• Your proficiency in expressing yourself in English
Application Procedure and Deadlines
The application process consists of two steps:
Apply to the programme online at www.universityadmissions.se (in English), or www.antagning.se (in Swedish). Submissions of documentation attesting your eligibility for Master´s level study must be submitted here.
The following programme codes and deadlines apply:
Please submit application to programme code LNU-F0577 by 15 January 2020.
Acceptance to the programme
If you meet the eligibility criteria, your application will be accepted and evaluated on the basis of your portfolio. Evaluation of portfolios is conducted by a selection committee consisting of faculty members, external experts, and current MFA students. The portfolio is regarded as a whole and the portfolio is evaluated in terms of the following criteria:
• Artistic quality
• Visualization skills
• Creative approach
The university will not disclose the reasons behind the decision to accept or reject any individual application. Approved students will be notified through www.universityadmissions.se or www.antagning.se.
Checklist for Application
- I have submitted my application through antagning.se or universityadmissions.se
- I have prepared my portfolio according to the guidelines provided.
- I have included a Letter of intent with my portfolio.
- I have uploaded my portfolio and made sure that all my files are included, and that I have submitted written descriptions of my uploaded files.
After submitting your application and portfolio you'll be contacted if you have been selected for interview. At the interview, we ask you to bring a hard copy of your portfolio. If you're an international or EU student who is unable to attend an interview in person, we may offer a telephone/online interview.
Do you have any Questions?
If you have any questions regarding the application or permisson related issue don´t hesitate to inquire by e-mail to Admissions Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions regarding the application and portfolio, or other related issue don´t hesitate to inquire by e-mail to programme coordinator Miguel Salinas: email@example.com
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"We are a team that consists of students from the fields of design, business and engineering and we are part of the innovation master programme. As part of the local innovation module in our first term, we are now working with an ergonomic chair manufacturing company called Frapett, in Mönsterås. In our project with them, we have worked to develop a task chair that is to be used for seated physical work, for instance by machine operators, dentists, tailors, glassworkers, etc. Being a multi-disciplinary team, we have looked at this project from all the three different perspectives – design, engineering and business. This type of project-based learning has helped us being innovative at different levels throughout the project, enriching our experience and ensuring that we also learn from one another". / Christopher, Rong, Basil, Tianyi & Naina
Students within business, engineering and design collaborate to develop products
During the autumn term, first-year students on the master programme Innovation through business, engineering and design work in groups with one company each to develop their own products.
Read the full interview
Ramona Hallgren studies on the design specialisation. Her group collaborates with the company CumVex, specialising in office furniture. Since CumVex is based in Växjö it is easy for the group to arrange meetings with the company without having to plan too far in advance.
"The company has been very open to our ideas and they listen to what we have to say. The fact that it is a local company is, of course, a great advantage, almost luxury", says Ramona. The collaboration within the group is also working well. All groups consist of students from the three different specialisations: business, engineering and design.
"The interesting part about working in a collaboration like this is that I, being a designer, view things differently. As opposed to financial managers and engineers I don't think very much about production and costs in the first stage of generating ideas", says Ramona.
Sebastian Duque studies on the business specialisation. He thinks that it has been very instructive to work together with students from the other specialisations.
"We all have different perspectives, and our working processes are also different from each other. We get to learn how designers and engineers think, just like in real-life projects", he explains.
Sebastian's group works with Alstermo Bruk, a company making suitcases. They keep contact through email, but also through visits both ways. Sebastian's group has focused on the concept of sustainability and is developing a new product.
"First, we worked four weeks with the development of a design model and now we have reached the engineering process. Once we have completed that, we will work four weeks with the business process. In this way, we will all learn the entire development process, which is very rewarding", says Sebastian.
Joe Sullivan studies on the engineering specialisation and works with the company Quickbutton, a supplier of campaign buttons, name tags and conference badges. Joe's group has also had a sustainability perspective in the development of their product and they have chosen to work with the material bamboo.
"We are really benefitting from each other's different skill sets and different previous experiences within the group. I, for instance, have never before really come into contact with the financial management part. The entire programme is very focused on teamwork", Joe says.
Innovation through business, engineering and design is a 2-year master programme offered at Linnaeus University in Växjö. The programme offers three different specialisations and the language of tuition is English.
Juliana from Colombia works as a designer at IKEA
Read the full interview
My name is Juliana Restrepo. I was born and raised in the beautiful and constantly-developing city of Medellín, Colombia. That is to say, Colombia in South America, not Columbia in the US, as many still make that mistake. In Medellín, I studied industrial design for five years and also worked as an event designer for DDB Colombia, an advertising agency. Having done that, I was ready for my next adventure – moving to London. During my four years in London, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to learn from a number of different work and life experiences. Even though I loved London (and still do), my husband and I decided three years ago to move to Växjö – my husband's home town – since we wanted to raise our son in a smaller city, and also be closer to relatives.
During my first months in Sweden, I studied beginner's Swedish and looked forward to embracing the exciting challenge of a new country. It was then that I came across the master programme Innovation through business, engineering and design. One of my biggest motivations for applying to the programme was the collaboration with IKEA and, of course, the fact that the programme is based on a multidisciplinary collaboration. During my two years on the programme, I developed a lot as a designer, as a team player and, last but not least, as a citizen of the world. I also developed a passionate interest in metadesign, design-thinking and sustainability.
I feel more proud than ever of being a designer. I believe that designers have a great responsibility, both now and for our future, as I see designers as the 'connection keys/tools' between different disciplines, skills and cultures. The world is changing so quickly that we can barely understand it. We need to learn, share, communicate and work better together.
I am now working as an interior designer at IKEA in Älmhult. I'm constantly curious and working in a dynamic environment, where people are not afraid of change. I'm so excited to see where this will take me in the future!
Anna works with marketing at IKEA
Anna Hamlin wanted to start studying at Linnaeus University because of her interest in design and furniture. Since she had earlier taken a bachelor’s degree in business administration at University of Hawaii, a Swedish master programme in Småland seemed attractive.
Read the full interview
During Anna's studies at Linnaeus University, the goal with her education was to start working with product development at IKEA. Today, she works at the marketing department at IKEA in Älmhult and thinks that her education has given her a good foundation.
– At IKEA, I work primarily with local marketing, administration of the local website, their Instagram account, and the digital screens that are in use in the department store. I also participate in the development of the trade center in Älmhult at which we try to increase the collaboration with other IKEA units in Älhmult but also the collaboration with other lines of trade. I also coordinate activities in the department store that are aimed at our catchment area, for instance, previews of collections for IKEA FAMILY members, says Anna Hamlin.
Anna worked at IKEA during her studies as well, but then as restaurant staff and sales person. However, after she got her master's degree in innovation she applied for a job at IKEA that was more in line with that she had studied, and she got it. Her contact with IKEA during her studies, created good conditions for establishing important contacts.
–I wrote my degree project at IKEA of Sweden in Älmhult. I studied the product development process and focused on how organisational culture can affect knowledge transfer both positively and negatively in large multinational companies. Since I met and interviewed many employees during the course of my study, my master thesis led to an increased network at different IKEA firms in Älmhult. In addition, my final term writing my degree project, gave me a broader understanding of the work processes and organisational culture at IKEA, something that is valuable to me in the work I do today.
More information about the programme
IKEA's and Linnaeus University's collaboration programme The Bridge is a multidisciplinary education and research collaboration dealing with life at home and conditions of production.
Read more about The Bridge
In simple words, the aim is to tie together a number of disciplines to create a better life at home for the many people. It deals partly with what fundamental needs we have and what furniture we need, but also with how production can be made as cheap and environmentally friendly as possible.
As a result of The Bridge, Linnaeus University has been able to establish an IKEA professorship, unique to the world. The research environment revolving around the subject area Life at Home is developed in collaboration with doctoral students. It is this research environment that makes it possible for Linnaeus University to establish the interdisciplinary master programme.
The master programme has an interdisciplinary perspective, combining engineering, business, and design. The programme enables students to learn from each other's knowledge and improves their ability to work with different projects and product development. The master programme is offered in close collaboration with a number of companies, IKEA being one of them.
How many ideas can we come up with?
"It's like I want to eat the product" That was the feedback Lars Dafnäs, senior range manager at IKEA, gave to some of the students when they presented their product idea on the new master programme at Linnaeus University.
In one corner of the classroom, two students drape a sheet over an object. Some other students arrive with a blue IKEA bag that seems to contain a prototype of some sort. A laptop is passed around as some of the students make the final preparations for the presentation they are about to give. The atmosphere is charged.
Today's activity, when the students on the master programme Innovation through business, engineering and design get to present the result of their work, is called a wash council. The entire front row in the classroom is occupied by guests who normally work with product development at IKEA in Älmhult. It is now time for the innovations to be "washed" – will they make the cut and become products in IKEA's assortment?
During the first weeks of their education, the students have worked with an assignment on the topic "Life at home". Responsible for the assignment for this particular course are various departments at IKEA.
How can buying a carpet become something fun? That is part of the briefing that one of the groups have been working with. The briefing is the starting point for the assignment and describes a need that the company has seen on the market. The students have been divided into groups and each group has then been given an assignment. In each group there are students from the three fields of engineering, business, and design.
The big picture
The students have had a couple of weeks to come up with different proposals for how to solve their assignments. Together they have come up with ideas, brainstormed, revised, and prioritised. What was first a number of product ideas has today been narrowed down to one idea per group. With this idea, the students have worked with an holistic approach; including everything from how the product is to be made attractive to the target group, the development of a prototype, construction sketches, and deciding on a material, to calculating the costs and putting forward a proposal on how and where the product is to be made, wrapped, and transported in a way that is environmentally sustainable. How can we make a sustainable design? What technical construction will function best?
An appealing idea will not be enough; it also has to become profitable. In their presentations, the students express thoughts on many parts of the process involved in the development of a product, from idea to market. The audience is introduced to the following aspects:
• By dividing this part into two in the construction process we are able to use more of the material, which will both lower expenses and provide us with a more flexible product.
• Through a web-based guide the customer will get help planning the purchase.
• If we outsource manufacturing to this region in China, and deliver a volume of X we will get a wage cost of...
• But if we choose a fully automated industry in Småland we will instead have fewer working hours; which means it is probably more profitable in the long run to invest in a manufacturing system operated by robots. The students have been in contact with both industries and logistics companies in order to work out estimates for the actual costs of their products.
• The wrapping will be this size, which means we will be able to fit Y pieces into one container, resulting in a transport cost of...
So, what are the margins? In the briefing the students have been given clear specifications regarding what profit margins are required in order for the products to be considered for production. The requirements are really tough, and force the group to decide what is most important with the product. One of the products consists of a variety of different models. The students have confirmed that one version will be more expensive to produce than the others. Is it still worth keeping that model? Is it possible to come up with a technology that makes it less costly to manufacture that model? What if it is that very model that makes the idea pop out and sell?
Animations and CAD sketches are mixed with classical slides in the student presentations. It becomes very evident that this is second-cycle level. In class, Swedish and international students work closely together, adding an international perspective to the education. How would this product be received in Spain? Or in China? Linnaeus University has agreements with a large number of universities abroad, and each year several hundred international students from all over the world arrive on campus.
"How can buying a carpet become something fun?"
We just might have heard the answer to that question at today's wash council. Perhaps we will stumble upon one of the products in the big furniture company's assortment in a not too distant future.
What to do if your group cannot come up with a good product idea? Not all groups will come up with solutions that make the American Idol jury – what the IKEA project owner jokingly nicknames his colleagues and himself at one point – burst out in a Hallelujah! Some assignments may be tougher than others.
"If you had succeeded in providing a good solution to this question you would all have become millionaires", says Miguel Salinas, senior lecturer at the department of design. "Failure can also be seen as the best way to learn".
"It is very important to be honest and provide information on any problems encountered along the work process. To say: We got this far – but we were not able to come up with solutions to all challenges in the briefing. It is impossible to sell an idea that you yourselves do not believe in", explains one of the company representatives.
"Imagine how much you could have gained by developing a quick prototype – then it would have been clear right away that the product may be dangerous if a child decides to try to climb it".
Much of the discussion in the room revolves around communication between customer and supplier, orderer and developer, and between different competencies. Also, it can be difficult to balance the requirements from the university with those from the company. A constant learning takes place in the dialogue between company and university.
"All student groups who have come up with ideas that seem to have good potential have one thing in common; the group members have worked as a team", says Lars Dafnäs, and continues:"It is crucial that you make use of all your combined brain potential to solve the task. It becomes evident when you do, because then the result is something new, something inspiring".
"Still a lot of details to work on, but clear potential!"
The article describes one of the courses on the 2-year master programme Innovation through business, engineering and design. Are you curious about the education? If you study business administration, design, or engineering you can apply to the 2-year master.
The program trains students in project and innovation management, process and product development, business and system development and social entrepreneurship. Students develop in-depth knowledge in design while the interaction and sharing is done with business and technology. Students going through the training will be able to create sustainable solutions that take account of form, function and resource efficiency.
Master of Arts
Roughly 15 minutes with a bike from the city centre, you will find Linnaeus University’s campus. It is like a small society with the university, student accommodation, and student life. Here you become part of a creative knowledge environment.
What will you come across on an excursion in Växjö – the city of contrasts? You will find good restaurants, a celebrated hockey team, and cozy cafés where you can enjoy a latte with lingonberry flavour. In Växjö, beautiful nature is always just around the corner; the city is surrounded by lakes and forests. Students like the combination of the city centre and the active student life on campus. Your dream of the future starts here!