Master in Strategic Design for Innovation and Transformation

“A new breed of design leader can help companies unleash their business potentials by meaningful innovations.”

In a complex world awash with technology, fast-moving socio-cultural changes, and ultra-competitive business challenges, executives are asked to unlock a step change in business performance.
Envisioning meaningful innovations, leading human-centric transformations and engaging employees through responsible purposes represent the ultimate goals to address.

The international master in Strategic Design for Innovation and Transformation (SDIT), developed jointly by MIP Politecnico di Milano and POLI.design, aims to prepare designers and managers for navigating and driving the actual complex challenges.

*Starting from 2021, it will be possible to choose whether to join classes, including the kick-off, online (whether the activity can be attended remotely) or in person (if permitted) without any limitation, in order to manage your time in the most efficient and serene way.

Format: Digital Learning + 2 face-to-face weeks*

Language: English

Next intake: September 2022

Duration: 1 year

Profile: Bachelor in Design-related degrees or Social Sciences; work experience required

Tuition fee: € 18.500 (individuals)/ € 21.500 (companies)

Admission Office:

Tel: +39 02 2399 2820



Big corporations and consultancies need to strategically blend market innovation and transformation processes, specifically redesigning the internal mode to conceive new products and business models. To tackle such big challenges, companies are intrigued by skillsets that combine strategy and design.

The role of designers in corporations has dramatically changed over recent years and it is still evolving: designers are asked to not only own the scope of the overall project, identifying novel opportunities and mobilising means for achieving them, but also to lead innovation and strategic processes, managing agencies and resources, analysing data and generating valuable insights. At the same time, companies are looking for managers well equipped with a design attitude as a powerful tool to blend client and stakeholder perspectives with market opportunities, to envision strategic directions that leverage emerging behaviours, new socio-cultural trends and the opportunities provided by digital technologies.

To meet these growing needs, MIP Politecnico di Milano and POLI.design have jointly developed the International Master in Strategic Design for Innovation and Transformation (SDIT), a 1-year programme structured in four main content blocks. The SDIT intends to involve executives who want to combine an investment in knowledge with their work commitments. The SDIT aims to train professionals and executives in combining design attitude and abilities with classical analytical-managerial skills. This entails planning, coordinating, and implementing consistent design operations and processes to meet the design direction, the strategic framework, and performances targets.

The Master SDIT aims to prepare designers and managers for navigating and driving the actual complex challenges, which means being able to:

Imagine meaningful innovations able to improve human wellbeing and to impact society;
Inspire colleagues and stakeholders to pursue strategic transformation;
Lead design projects activating virtuous employee engagement and breaking the culture of silos among different business areas;
Exploit the opportunities provided by digital technologies through the interplay between artificial intelligence and human intuition as well as big and thick data;
• Stimulate entrepreneurial mindsets to activate and promote agile projects;
• Organise the creative process to favour the integration with operations.


The kick off of the master is in September 2022.

The International Master in Strategic Design for Innovation and Transformation (SDIT) is a 1-year programme. The academic structure is divided into 4 main blocks and ends with a final Project Work.
This programme includes a combination of different initiatives: face-to-face experiences such as company visits to meet innovation and design managers, a cultural tour to witness the Italian evolution of design, and a visit to professional Labs of modern masters of design. Furthermore, during the Master course, candidates will participate in two Digital Bootcamps: remote workshop sessions promoted by leading design-driven companies.

A typical week for our students is structured as follows:

WEEK type A: Video Clips available on the Digital Platform (max 16) + One Live session (2.5 hours)


WEEK type B: Two live sessions (2.5 hours each)

Each course will last for two weeks and can combine the two structures (A+B) or include two live sessions for each week (B+B).
Live sessions are held online on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7.00 until 9.30 PM CET.

The Master is divided into 4 main blocks:


The “Innovation and Design” block interprets strategy making as a process strongly affected by the development of innovation and the role that design plays in the organisation. Mainly, it provides an overview of strategy-making concepts related to a specific industrial setting where creativity management and design represent key assetsHere, the idea of strategy making is interpreted through the lenses of design, where the concepts of “design-driven” innovation, the close link between planning and execution, and the human-centricity principles tend to update the classical and orthodoxical strategy-related constructs. On the other handthe block treats Corporate Entrepreneurship and Organisation Transformation as fundamental components to sustain continuous renewal and align the organisational posture to the strategic purposes. Strong emphasis will be placed on the concept of Strategic Design to bring strategic thinking down to the product-service system level. A deep-diving experience on how design-driven companies work is provided thanks to innovation classes and design managers who share their experiences with students. The group projects proposed by innovative companies and supported by them are part of the training programme and add a unique chance for students to work on real cases in close connection with design-driven companies.  


The “Leadership and Engagement” block provides an overview of theories and actional behaviours to illustrate leadership to create a culture of innovation, inspiring the team and stakeholders and activating a virtuous process of engagement across organisational silos. As has been recognised, unexpected obstacles and inertia are common in innovation and design projects. Here, designers and innovation managers are required to learn how to embrace complexity, identifying the key aspects underpinning a sound involvement of all the actors necessary to create the expected outcome. This part of the Master presents the different nature of Leadership: effectively developing capabilities to manage change and innovation in organisational contexts. The block connects Decision-Making approaches with an in-depth review of the constructs of Organisational Behaviour and Business Process Management. Furthermore, the conclusive part presents the overlapping area between Design culture and Organisational culture; the overview of the primary Design culture principles/pillars is presented as a means to nurture a culture of innovation in organisations by increasing employee engagement and their creative capacity. Designing spaces that facilitate interaction and the sparking of creativity, conceiving an intangible infrastructure that enables participation and inclusion, and developing a culture oriented to “learn by failure” are all part of that game. The block alternates theoretical lectures with testimonials by design leaders that will show how design culture penetrated a business culture adding new meanings, novel values, and actionable principles.


The “Data and Creativity” block is hinged on the central theme of data. Over the last twenty years, the subject of data has profoundly changed how companies create strategies, generate innovations, and interface with users. While Big Data provides immediate market feedback on consumer preferences and trends, creativity often works with other data: it analyses the dataset differently from the way in which data mining systems can. Creativity feeds on 'weak' data, peripheral data that is not collected globally, but derived from a specific context of use. It is data that some people call “weak”, but which sparks creativity. After a general overview of the role of Big Data in innovation strategies and processes, the block will focus on how to conduct User research and gather qualitative data to generate valuable insights. Thus, the content will present how to transform services leveraging multiple data sources and how data can be grasped, organised and framed to support and induce creativity in the team. The Master explores the concept of data-driven design through specific applications and the voice of innovation managers who run consulting projects where data plays a key role.  


The “Design Ops and Transformation” block aims to break down the myth of the designer and his chaotic work outside the organisational rules and business procedures. In successful organisations, the development of the design process is planned and framed as a flow of operations where actors, activities, tools, and enablers of creativity have to be connected among themselves and with other parts of the organisation. According to that frame, creativity needs to govern the design process while considering the organisation’s purpose, the talents inside the organisation walls, the knowledge sharing mechanism and the overall structure associated with the power flow. After an overview of open innovation and collaborative mechanisms logic, the block focuses on modern creative project management methodologiesagile methodologies, design methods and the organisational rules underlying UX/UI projects. The modules in this block articulate advanced didactic methods that see the cohabitation of the discussion of case studies, the development of group projects, and the introduction of some software related to the management of DesignOps. 

During the second half of the Master, participants are required to carry out a Project Work, which will be discussed at the end of the course. The objective of the Project Work is to develop a consultancy project with the support of the MIP Politecnico di Milano Faculty. Working closely with Politecnico di Milano professors and researchers, participants in the programme will have the opportunity to apply the tools and methods learned during the SDIT Master to tackle issues of interest to companies and build relationships of great value to their professional careers.


SDIT students can also benefit from the support of the Career Development Center (CDC) which allow them to work on their self-branding, on their soft skills as well build a relevant professional network.

These activities are proposed to participants in order to help them to:

  • Grow as a person and as a manager
  • Develop soft skills: the art of negotiation, public speaking, leadership
  • Build a solid network of interpersonal relationships
  • Manage a career boost

Among the services offered:

  • CV Counselling
  • Free access to MIP Global Network of Career Websites
  • One-to-one career advice meetings
  • Seminars on Career Strategy and Career 4.0
  • Networking events with employers, such as Business Talks or Company Presentations
  • Access to the MIP Job Board.


The Faculty is made up of professors of Design and Management from POLI.design and MIP Politecnico di Milano.

SDIT can also boast of a collaboration with professionals with consolidated experience in the field of design who are able to transmit the lessons learned and best practices derived from their work experience. This translates into a highly hands-on approach based on lessons with real cases, exercises, group work and project work supervised by professors.



Applications are processed on a rolling basis. Since the number of seats in class is limited, candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Should the course become fully subscribed before the deadline dates, applications will close earlier.


Activate the Online Application, uploading your updated CV/resume in English. You will also need to pay the application fee (EUR 100), which can be paid online on the application platform itself,  via Flywire* or through a regular bank transfer. The rest of the documents can be sent after the motivational interview.

*You can easily pay your tuition and fees online via Flywire, our preferred payment partner. Flywire provides a secure global payment network that simplifies paying your fees from your home country and countries around the world. Payment options can include bank transfers, credit cards, e-wallets and more, typically in your home currency for most countries.


You will be informed whether you have been selected for a Video Interview by our admissions team in due time.


To complete your application pack, you need to submit the following documents:

  • University degrees and transcripts
  • Motivational letter
  • Reference letter/s (not mandatory)
  • Copy of valid passport
  • Digital passport-sized picture

Admission to the SDIT programme is limited to a predetermined number of students. This ensures the optimal development of each student while preserving the group’s learning process. All elements of the application form are carefully studied so we highly recommend that you fill it out carefully and provide us with any extra material you believe might help your candidature.

The selection is based on the evaluation of the professional and academic background and a video interview. The selection result depends on the score given to each of the above mentioned elements and can be positive or negative and it will be communicated via e-mail.

The ideal candidate is a professional, graduated in Design-related degrees, including Engineering and Architecture, or Social Sciences, with work experience, who want to combine design attitude and abilities with classical analytical-managerial skills. This entails planning, coordinating, and implementing consistent design operations and processes to meet the design direction, the strategic framework, and performances targets.


The tuition fee amounts to € 18.500 for individuals and to € 21.500 for those sponsored by a company.

The cost of the 2 face-to-face experiences is included in the tuition fee with the exclusion of living expenses (travel, accommodation, lunch and dinner).

MIP Politecnico di Milano awards contributions to deserving participants in the SDIT programme. The contributions are in recognition of outstanding merit or achievement in both the academic and professional fields. The criteria for each contribution is diverse, with some of them open to all applicants, whilst others are specifically designed for applicants based on individual circumstance.

Candidates should indicate in the application form if they would like to apply for financial aid at the time of application. Later requests for financial aid will not be considered.

Participants sponsored by their company are kindly requested to write to infoexecutivemasters@mip.polimi.it for further details.


  1. Submit your application online and tick the option that you are interested in MIP financial aid
  2. Fill out the Financial Aid Request Form you will receive via e-mail and upload it on the online platform.


Applicants who submit their application by April 28th, 2022 will be awarded a EUR 1,000 Early-Bird Contribution in case they pass the selection process and are admitted to the program.


MIP offers partial waivers up to 30% of the tuition fee to talented individuals from various countries in order to promote international diversity within the class.

To be eligible for this contribution, you must meet the admission requirements and submit at the application stage a small passage (no more than 500 words) on the following topic:

“How do you think your cultural background can add value to the SDIT class?”


The MIP for Women Tuition Waiver is to be awarded to selected female participants in the program who have demonstrated outstanding merit and achievement in an academic or professional sense. The Tuition Waiver is designed to allow for greater accessibility to the programme for women, and in doing so increase diversity within the programme.

MIP 4 Women Tuition Waivers are available at the amount of up to €4,000 each.

To be eligible for this competition, you must meet the admission requirements and submit at the application stage a small passage (no more than 500 words) on the following topic:

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
Malala Yousafzai - 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Describe the biggest challenge you have lived in your professional or private life as a woman.


Contributions on the tuition fee are available for Alumni of various programs at MIP:

- Alumni who completed a Master program, an MBA or an Executive MBA are entitled to a discount of 25%;
- Alumni who completed an Executive Path (Management Academy) are entitled to a discount of 10%.

Please note that in case of company sponsorship, if partial, the Alumni Waiver is applied proportionally on the individual fee. If the company sponsorship is full, the Alumni Waiver will not be applied.

For information on how to apply for this contribution, please write to infoexecutivemasters@mip.polimi.it


Alumni of Politecnico di Milano who have previously shown a strong commitment to their studies and a desire to further their professional development through continued education are entitled to a contribution from MIP of € 2,000.

Please note that in case of company sponsorship, if partial, the Alumni Waiver is applied proportionally on the individual fee. If the company sponsorship is full, the Alumni Waiver will not be applied.

For information on how to apply for this contribution, please write to infoexecutivemasters@mip.polimi.it

International and Italian candidates can also access student loans to cover the tuition fee and other expenses. Please write to infoexecutivemasters@mip.polimi.it for more details.


As a social business, Deutsche Bildung supports German students since 2007. Monthly as well as single and returning payments guarantee a completely flexible financing of almost all programs and subjects in Germany and abroad. Additionally, the extra-curricular-program WissenPlus focuses on the improvement of important social and professional competencies. The repayment is income-linked: students pay back a fixed percentage of their future income over a certain period of time once they have entered their first job successfully. The online-application is possible throughout the whole year at www.deutsche-bildung.de.

What is the cost of the programme?

The program costs €18,500 for individual participants or € 21,500 for those sponsored by a company.
These costs cover the entire length of the programme, although they do not include living and travel expenses.

Are there any contributions available?

There are several contributions available to students, with some scholarships open to all applicants, whilst others are specifically designed for applicants based on individual circumstance.
Please visit the financial aid section on this page.

How can I apply for a contribution?

To apply for a contribution you should contact the Admissions Office to receive the Financial Aid Request Form, select the type of contribution suitable for you and write an essay.
The assignment of the financial aid will be communicated together with the communication of the admission to the Master, after a successful outcome of the selection interview.

Can I apply for loans?

While MIP itself does not offer loans, we have explored some loan options for our students, so please contact the Admissions Team for further information.

Will I have to buy textbooks?

No, you will be provided textbooks by the programme, with the cost included as part of the overall programme fee.






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