Latent Needs,

Insights, Foresights


Opportunity Statement,

Hierarchy of Purpose


Design By Analogy


Design Innovation (DI) is a human‐centered and inter‐disciplinary approach to innovate and address complex challenges in our world. DI integrates the needs of people (desirability), technological feasibility and economic viability in the way it address challenges. DI does it through creative exploratory manner, boldly aspiring to design the most innovative solutions possible.

How do we know if a design is


Word Cloud 29 Oct.png

Data obtained from 89 participants from a Design Innovation Workshop, in response to the question, "What is innovation?"

Design Innovation is a human‐centric approach to tackle complex problems. It emphasizes developing empathy for users and collaborating in a multi-disciplinary team.


Individuals with domain knowledge (e.g. fields in engineering, architecture, science, psychology, and business) come together as a team to understand the users' latent needs, and — through a facilitated process — to solve these in an innovative manner.


IDC's DI team focuses on co-creating with the stakeholders involved, and providing societal value through design innovation. Our stakeholders include individuals, groups, teams, organizations, communities, cities as well as nations.


(Click each side of the triangle for more details)

IDC 4D Process source file.png
IDC 4D Process - methods.png
principle table.png

IDC's Design Innovation process consists of 4 phases: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver. It has a dual diverge-converge cycle and iterates through that.

In the Discover phase we gather a broad set of latent needs, insights and foresights to outline the opportunity space. In the Define phase, we then cluster and refine these observations to create a set of targeted opportunity statements.

Next, in the Develop phase we generate a diverse range of ideas, covering the design space. Finally, we iteratively Deliver these concepts to the users and other stakeholders in the form of prototypes to evaluate and refine them.


This sequence of Discover through Deliver is archetypal. However, in practice every design project involves iterative cycles, loops, and leaps between phases.

IDC's design innovation process, aims to integrate, the creative, technical, and analytical methods that emerged from 4 schools of thought: Design Thinking, Business Design, Design Engineering and Systems Engineering. Design Innovation, is a flexible approach for design challenges in many domains.

Methods are well-defined, short term activities with a specified action set and an expected format of outcome.

We have methods categorized according to the phase they most naturally fall under. It gives a reference as to when in the design process each method should be executed. Methods may be used in different design phases if they were executed differently.

Principles are ubiquitous best practices, or mindsets, to guide the way in which the designers  think, communicate, and decide throughout the design process. They provide insights on intangible best practices.

design innovation across 4d.png
DI team SAB 2017 photo.png

The mission of the SUTD-MIT International Design Centre (IDC) is to drive design research and innovation, in collaboration with a wide spectrum of global enterprise, government and social stakeholders. Specifically, it is defined by the following three core objectives: 

  • Advancing Design Theory and Methodology

  • Using Design to address key societal challenges

  • Integrating design theory and methods with design practice

GCs and RTS.png

In 2015, the SUTD-MIT International Design Centre devised the Design Innovation @ Singapore (DI) platform to organize and drive Design and Technology centered Innovation programs and initiatives for Singapore and beyond.

This unique Design Innovation platform encompasses three distinct but inter-related core areas:


Design Education: Program for private and public sector professionals, focusing on fundamental DI mindsets & skillsets

Design Guidance: Customised DI facilitation to support organisations to innovate and address the complex challenges they face

Design Incubation: Enterprise incubation and acceleration program for Singapore-based technology startups, leveraging the IDC’s DI@SG resources and expertise

Design Research: Customised in-depth scientific study of DI and technical challenges faced in practice or education

The IDC offers professional education to organisations and individuals to build-up capabilities in Design Innovation (DI). All our workshops are designed to introduce participants to design thinking and its contribution to innovation and value creation, and make extensive use of hands-on exercises to train design innovation methods. All workshops can be customised to address your specific needs and context.

Design Education.png

IDC’s Professional Development Workshop Offerings

Design Education 2.png

Recommended workshops for different roles and needs

Get in touch