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New Leadership and Structure for the Segal Design Institute 

McCormick Dean Julio M. Ottino has announced new leadership and a revised administrative structure for the Segal Design Institute.
“It has been five years since the launch of the Segal Design Institute, and we have accomplished a great deal since that time,” says Ottino. “Our efforts have outgrown the structure that we had in place. The Institute has evolved to a point where it is poised to engage the broader Northwestern community in the domains of design, innovation, and creativity.”
The Segal Design Institute was founded in 2007 following a gift from Crate & Barrel cofounders Gordon and Carole Segal.

Greg Holderfield, codirector of the MMM Program and clinical associate professor of mechanical engineering, has been named director of the Segal Design Institute. Bruce Ankenman, professor of industrial engineering and management sciences, is codirector.
“Greg and Bruce will provide valuable leadership as Segal works to expand its role throughout the University,” Ottino says. “I want to thank Ed Colgate and Don Norman, the former directors, for their outstanding work in growing the Institute over the last five years. They have provided a solid base for our efforts.”
In addition to Holderfield and Ankenman, Segal will be advised by two faculty councils in the areas of research and education. The Segal Faculty Councils will provide one of several means for faculty across Northwestern to connect and enhance the expansive range of design-related activities at the University.
“Teaching design is very resource-intensive, involving a wide variety of faculty and space requirements,” says Ankenman. “We want to engage faculty from across the campus.”
The education council will oversee existing curricular activities and manage the development of new initiatives. Several existing programs in design education exist within McCormick, including Engineering Design and Communication (EDC), the Manufacturing and Design Engineering Degree, Certificate of Engineering Design, Master of Science in Engineering Design and Innovation, the MMM Program (joint with the Kellogg School of Management), and the Master of Product Design and Development program.
The research council contains people from schools across the University engaged in a broad range of creative and scholarly activities associated with Segal’s mission, but may evolve to be a think tank for creative idea generation within Northwestern. The group will advise on the development and allocation of PhD fellowships and startup grants for design research, in addition to new initiatives to expand the academic field of design.
“Northwestern’s strategic plan articulates a clear emphasis on design and innovation among University priorities,” says Holderfield. “The Segal Design Institute will be the hub for activities in this area and will continue to produce students who can connect disciplines to create impact.”
Accomplishments of the Segal Design Institute in its first five years:
Undergraduate Education:

  • 39 students were granted bachelor's degrees in Manufacturing and Design Engineering (MaDE).
  • 63 students were granted certificates in Engineering Design.
  • Annual enrollment in McCormick's freshman design course, EDC, is at all-time high of 413, up 23% from AY07.
  • Annual enrollment in upper level Segal courses reaches 548 in AY11, more than double the total in AY07.
  • EDC Project & Portfolio Fair is semi-annual public event, judged by industry leaders, featuring project and portfolios from over 200 students including freshmen, graduating seniors, MS-EDI students, and DFA teams.
  • Nearly 300 project teams built products for people with disabilities through our partnership with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC).
  • Improvements of 125K were made to shop including state-of-the-art CNC equipment; safety-engineered sanding, painting, and sawing equipment; a laser cutter; a 3D printer; and versatile modern welders.

Graduate Education:
The MMM Program is a dual degree program with the Kellogg School of Management and the McCormick School of Engineering. In the last few years, it has been repositioned from an operations and manufacturing program to one that teaches interdisciplinary product and service innovation. McCormick's course work for MMM now focuses on human-centered design with courses offered through the Segal Design Institute, including: Design Thinking, Design Research, and Innovation Frontiers as core courses within the program.

Important achievements:

  • Instituted robust corporate sponsored projects that focus on innovation as the MMM program capstone. Projects are real and are collaborative with innovation leaders within the sponsoring organization. These collaborations have included the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, Herman Miller, Abbott Labs, Wrigley, Harley Davidson, and Nissan.
  • Instituted the first ever Design Thinking bootcamp through Segal for all incoming MMM students.
  • Created a public speaker series that focuses on design and innovation in a business context, featuring global corporate managers and thought leaders. The program has held ten talks in the last two years.
  • Developed the annual MMM Business Design Challenge for our students sponsored by BP.
  • Developed the Design & Innovation awards to acknowledge student accomplishments.
  • Awarded the first annual Rasmussen Family Design & Innovation scholar award to an incoming student with outstanding leadership skills and endeavors in innovation.

The Master of Product Design and Development was founded in 2002 for mid-level professionals and has been recognized by BusinessWeek as one of the “best design thinking programs in the world.” The program has graduated 300 design innovators who have gone on to become managers, directors and VP's of innovative organizations such as Target, Kohler, GE Healthcare, Abbott, Motorola, DELL, Baxter, General Motors, and Apple.
The Master of Engineering Design & Innovation was founded in 2007 and is intended for recent engineering graduates seeking to lead the design of future products, services, and technologies. Graduates of EDI are prepared to collaborate on, and lead, cross-functional development teams to create innovative and effective products and services.

  • The program has graduated 66 designers with placement at P&G, Nike, Google, 3M, Smart Design, Dyson, gravitytank, The Boston Consulting Group, Solidworks, Accenture, Radius Product Development, IA Collaborative, Insight Product Development, and The James Dyson Foundation.
  • Sponsored projects have included collaborations with Nike and P&G.

The Segal Design Institute hosted two NSF workshops, “Spanning Design Boundaries” and “Driving Innovation through Design” with participants from leading design universities across the US. It also hosted over 80 talks and events disseminating philosophy and research in design featuring several nationally prominent speakers.
In 2008 the Segal Design Institute established Design:Chicago at Northwestern University. The series, which is open to the University, highlights design as a strategic problem-solving tool and mindset, featuring talks by leaders in industry and academia. Attendance for this event averages 225 people from across campus.

  • 2008 - “The Increasing Role of Design in our Region”
  • 2009 - “The Role of Design in a Disruptive Economy”
  • 2010 - “Business by Design”
  • 2011 - “Innovation in Healthcare”
  • 2012 - “ROI in Design”

Design for America, founded in 2008, is a network of student-led studios using design to create local and social impact. DFA teaches human-centered design to interdisciplinary teams of students who collaborate with community partners, professional mentors, and faculty advisers on an extracurricular basis. These teams tackle complex challenges in the areas of health, education, and the environment.

  • Founded at the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern, DFA now works with over 600 students from over 60 different majors in university studios located throughout the country, including Barnard-Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Northwestern, RISD-Brown, Stanford, UCLA, and the University of Oregon.
  • DFA projects in the area of hand sanitation and healthcare delivery to children have recently won startup funds and positions in prominent business incubators.