Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design - specialisation design, Master Programme

120 credits

This two-year master programme is based on companies need of employees with ability to initiate, lead and promote the creation of innovations. The program is taught in English.

In the students’ work with innovations, the student should balance the process in its various parts for design, function, sustainability and production conditions. This requires knowledge of, or interaction between, different disciplines where different approaches, perspectives and approaches are utilized. The program is based on common projects often in collaboration with industry and organizations along with advancement in design and a broadening towards other disciplines (business and technology). Experiences from projects discussed and put in relation to the student's professional skills. In separate courses studied scientific method used in the innovation process.


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

Application and portfolio

The application process consists of two steps. First you need to apply to the programme online at at (in English), or (in Swedish). Then you need to submit your portfolio to Linnaeus University by our website

You find instructions for the portfolio below.

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. Submit the whole portfolio as one PDF document, in You can upload maximum 50 mb total.

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:

Application number:
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:


Step 1

Apply to the programme online at (in English), or (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-F2501 by 15 January 2018

Step 2

Submit your portfolio to Linnaeus University at
The deadline by which portfolios must be received by LNU are:
31 January 2018

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 or

Checklist for Application

  • I have submitted my application through or
  • 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 on 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:

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:

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Take the opportunity

Take the opportunity to compete for a scholarship for the master programme Innovation through business, engineering and design. Here is the link to the competition.


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Students in a group

"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

Student testimonials

Students within business, engineering and design collaborate at Linnaeus University 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.

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.

Read more about Ramona, Sebastian and Joe

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.

"Learning from other disciplines and cultures"

Juliana Restrepo

"The program is formed by 15 students: six Designers, six Engineers and three students from Business. We all come from different countries; Sweden, Turkey, China, Iran, Italy, Kirghizstan, Bosnia and Colombia, which is where I come from. As you can tell it is a very mixed group regarding disciplines, cultures, languages and professional backgrounds.

During this first semester we have been working in three different groups and three different modules have been finalized. It has given us experience and the possibility to analyze the advantages and difficulties of an interdisciplinary team work. The first module was really exciting when we got the opportunity to work with IKEA. Each group was assigned with a brief and the task was to develop a concept for them. We presented our ideas and progress every week, received feedback and delivered a final presentation. The second and third modules focused on Design and Engineering. We have been working with three local companies with a very different range of products. We have just started with the fourth module which focuses on Business. Focus groups and target costing will be used as tools for the development of our projects.

The program itself represents a great opportunity for us and all the people who is involved. Learning from other disciplines and cultures; new ways of working, thinking, planning and delivering results. The structure of the master program is in continuous development and has caused a bit of confusion among the students. However, it can also be seen as an opportunity for improvement, planning and future success of the program.

I am looking forward to work with IKEA again and to take on future challenges during the following semesters." 

Alumni testimonials

Juliana Restrepo

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 Hamlin

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.

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. 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.

"Wash council"

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.

Team spirit

"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


Växjö is a modern city with more than 80,000 inhabitants. The city has been declared "the Greenest City in Europe" because of its focus on environmentally sound solutions and the environmental programs implemented.

Being a student in Växjö you have easy access to everything – the city centre, the woods and the lakes. The pedestrian path from campus around Lake Växjösjön reaches almost all the way to the city centre and is perfect for jogging or taking long walks.

Campus Växjö is modeled along the lines of an American campus university and is the natural meeting place for students in Växjö. Campus is always bustling with life, and students move between lecture rooms, the University Library and the restaurants, pubs and outdoor recreational areas.