Master in Strategic Design of Spaces

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An innovative and flexible design, combining online and face-to-face learning



February, 3 weeks in Madrid at the beginning.


July, 3 weeks in London at the end of the 1st term.


February, 1 week in Madrid at the end of the program, which includes your graduation ceremony.


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The MSD blended structure

Interactive, online periods

The innovative use of new technologies allows us to replicate face-to-face teaching techniques. Thanks to this, students can take as much advantage of their classes as they would in a traditional classroom.

Face-to-face periods

During the face-to-face period students will have the opportunity to mingle with their classmates and build long-lasting relationships. This period combines workshops, visits to companies, extracurricular activities and several classes that require physical presence.

The residential periods are an essential part of the blended experience and encourage students to create bonds with their classmates and understand their different points of views.

IE Online Campus

The IE Online Campus is a web platform that allows students to access all of the program’s online activities from any place and at any time. Students can also access the online campus from their smartphones and tablets.

Explore the MSD face-to-face period in London

The program offers a strategic approaches to work, retail and learning spaces, so that students will broaden their knowledge, as well as delve into the new challenges and opportunities facing these environments.

The learning experience is organized around three convergent areas- design, technology and sociology- which together contribute to the creation of innovation.

The human-centered, sociological aspect: Students will explore design to create new experiences and behaviors. This topic leverages sociology to improve design,whereby work, retail and learning spaces serve as social transformers.

Technology: The objective of this area is to provide students with sufficient background to be able to understand and evaluate the relative efficacy of various design choices, and to formulate compelling, resourceful and appropriate technology proposals.

The spatial, design and architectural aspect: Understanding, visualizing and designing new environments that both respond to needs as well as innovate are the key objectives of this area. In each design lab, students will gain hands-on training, working directly with industry experts, and will be able to put into practice the previously developed concepts.

Module 1: Fundamentals

During the first three face to face intensive weeks of the program students will receive the basic knowledge and instruction to successfully develop the following courses. The subjects will function as a kick-off for the rest of the contents that will be studied and analyzed through the program. Courses will provide an overview about new trends in spaces for innovation, and will introduce students to the concept of workplace consultancy and design thinking methodologies. As a culmination of the module, students will undertake a design exercise in a real corporate environment in Madrid.

New Trends in Spaces for Innovation

This course will introduce students into the latest ideas and concepts that are being generated around the creation of innovation in interior spaces. Students will be able to recognize the new paradigms that are shifting the understanding of interior design in the last years, and to learn from seminal case studies and world-class examples. The course will be mainly theoretical, with an important part of pre-readings that will create the necessary prior background in students.

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Introduction to Workplace Consultancy

The subject is an introduction to the service industry of workplace consultancy-- a professional service that helps companies and corporations define the most appropriate workplace strategy for their employees. Students are instructed in the tools that consultants use to understand the needs of their corporate clients in order to provide them with a roadmap of activities that will lead them to the improvement of their performance and productivity.

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Design Thinking Methodologies

This subject will introduce students into design as a way of thinking and adding value to any professional environment. Through a number of interactive and multidisciplinary workshops, students will understand the path to creative problem-solving and innovation through design. Students will be developing step-by step creative design methodologies based on research, consumer empathy, prototyping and iteration that lead to the creation of innovative insights and ideas.

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Workplace Design in the Silicon Valley

Students will be developing a design proposal for a real, world-class corporation´s workplace in Madrid. The exercise will be monitored by Primo Orpilla, founder of the ground breaking Design firm Studio O+A in San Francisco. Primo will be instructing students into the design strategies that they are currently putting into practice with some of the Silicon Valley´s cutting edge blue-chip companies. Students will be visiting the chosen companies’ HQ in first place, and will be coming back to present their design proposals to responsible people in the company at end of the course.

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Module 2: Strategy Through Design

This Module will focus in the relation between design and the corporate ecosystem, and how designers can help the definition of business strategies. Students will deep dive into branding concepts applicable to the creation of space through brand, and also about organizational behavior and its importance in the definition of any given space. Technology will be studied as major driver in the definition of professional environments, in order to understand the implications of the digital revolution in terms of space and behavior.

Space as a Brand

This subject will teach students on how to create space with brand and brand with space, given the increasing relation between these two elements in any architectonical realization. Students will understand the multichannel approach that brands are utilizing today in order to reach their clients and customers, and in order to attract talent to their own structures. Moreover, students will be taught into the skills that a designer needs to master in today´s world in order to positively enhance the branding experience in every space.

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Organizational behavior for Innovation

The subject will allow students to understand one of the main drivers when defining any given space, which is the culture and ethos around it. Each company, organization and institution has its own structure and internal behavior, which needs to be understood in order to make change and improvement possible. The most progressive companies are nowadays putting emphasis in creating more horizontal and transversal organizational structures, where information and innovation can occur more easily due to the reduction of hierarchy and barriers among business units.

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Digital Environments

New information technologies have introduced enormous changes and challenges within working environments in the last years. The way in which companies organize no longer depends exclusively on physical concerns, but has evolved towards a situation where virtual and digital links are established. The subject will teach students into the up to date technologies and techniques that have revolutionized the planning and functioning of work space, a space whose boundaries are being completely blurred and transformed constantly.

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Design for Business Lab

As a culmination of the workspace module, students will conceptualize an innovative proposal of an office/work space for a company or institution, committed to improve its working environment through the redefinition of its space, technology and organizational behaviour. Students will have a ten week period to develop their proposal, which will be presented and debated in a final revision in London, with external juries of architects and designers.

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Module 3: User-Centered Design

The three weeks module will take place in London, where students will be, during the first week, receiving instruction about Design Ethnography techniques to understand and analyze the workplace and other environments through the perspective of the user. During the second week, students will be spending a week in real working environments, deploying the design ethnography techniques in order to understand its ethos and problematic. During the third week, students will develop a design brief with proposals for the analyzed space that will be presented to representatives of the company that has been studied.
In prior intakes, students have worked in offices from companies such as Amazon, Vodafone, the Royal Academy and Sony, among many others from different industries and sectors.
Along with the module, students will be visiting top architecture and design practices, where they will be receiving a talk about the firm´s projects and will have the chance of getting to know, first hand, their own working environments.
Prior intakes have visited offices such as Foster and Partners, Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, Populous, ARUP, ScottBrownRigg, Fletcher Priest Architects or Jump Studios, among many other

Module 4: Innovation Through Design

This Module will focus in how the Digital Transformation as disrupted the traditional cathegories of spaces and programs into a much more complex, connected and meaningful reality. Students will deep dive into the relation between research, design and innovation, along with the understanding of new knowledge ecosystems and networks.

Digital Transformation and New Business Models

The subject will teach students into the understanding how companies, brands and institutions have been disrupted by the Digital Transformation, and how these changes have created a new plethora of business models and a new relationships between the consumers and the brands.

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The Culture of Innovation in Retail

The subject will be have a design-studio methodology and will teach students into the creation of innovative retail environments that have a social awareness and that can deal with the current redefinition of retail spaces due to technology. Students will be able to deploy previous knowledge on branding, technology and innovation, among other, and create a retail experience that is meaningful and effective for an ever-changing industry such as the retail realm.

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Research, Engagement and Social Impact

The subject will deepen into the understanding of design as a research process, and about the social impact that it can cause within the society where it is incepted. Students will develop skills in the creation of knowledge networks and alliances that lead to the collective creation of innovation and public engagement.

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Design for Learning Lab

The students will develop a project for innovative learning environment, where they will be able to put on the table the prior contents delivered within the module. This will be a hands-on design studio, where participants, in groups, will deliver real-life designed scenarios covering architectonical, organizational and technological issues.

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Final Thesis

As a culmination to the program, students will be developing their Final Thesis Project, where they will be designing and innovative spatial environment from a multifaceted perspective.
Students will have to define that environment from the multidimensional perspective that the program has followed, and will therefore have to include considerations and features related not only to architecture but also to technology and sociology.
The output will be a Strategic Design Brief, including the architectonical definition of the project plus a comprehensive study regarding strategic and organizational features.
Students will be able to select a certain topic for this Final Thesis Project and to therfore develop a certain specialty in the topic.
During the 10 weeks of the Final Thesis, students will have 2 online clases on Friday afternoon, plus tutorials during the rest of the week.

Spaces for Innovation Lecture Series

This transversal unit will include twelve specialized lectures from world-class, internationally recognized companies, firms of architecture, design and consultancy that have changed the world of interior design and architecture. From large firms to cutting edge designers and from renowned academics to leading voices of research, students will have a unique opportunity to meet, in an “unplugged” version, the processes and strategies developed by such top practitioners.
Some of these talks will be undertaken at their own studies and workplaces, so students will have the chance of not only receiving the talks but also getting to know, first-hand, their own working environments.

Soft Skills Module

The program includes an intensive module based on a series of skills such as Negotiation and Decision Making, Presentation and Communication and Teamwork. IE Business School professors and faculty will teach these subjects, taking advantage of their expertise in business and entrepreneurship. The subjects will be adapted to the needs and expectations of students, so they can improve and enhance their skills in their own professional settings from the very beginning of the master.

Presentation and Communication

Students will learn effective communication skills, since it is the foundation on which companies and careers are built and a crucial component of lasting success. They will improve their interpersonal and presentation skills as well as their writing techniques, being able to communicate in a fluent and confident way.

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Negotiation and Decision Making

To improve participants´ knowledge in the area of negotiation, by combining theoretical instruction and practical exercises, as well as practice and development of negotiation capabilities and skills. This program has been designed so that participants may learn the “art of negotiation” as an effective tool that they will be able to use throughout their professional careers and personal lives.

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Team Work

Turning a group of people into a well performing team is not an easy feat to accomplish. Even in the best of scenarios, numerous and pervasive challenges must be overcome. This workshop is designed to provide theory and practice on building and leading winning teams.

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Spaces for Innovation Lecture Series

Students will meet top-tier, internationally recognized architecture and design professionals who will share their experience through specialized lectures. They will have the unique opportunity of learning from practitioners about the processes and strategies that have helped them shape their careers and achieve excellence. This lecture series has featured the following speakers:

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