Certificate in Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship

What will I learn?

Our 1 year program is intended for people who want to gain autonomy through creativity. We teach a powerful process of actionable empathy, and students learn to make and use artifacts to drive change. We focus on creative learning-by-doing style of the design studio environment, and substantiate method with theory. Students rapidly acquire knowledge of various humanitarian issues, like poverty or nutrition, while formulating advanced design ability in synthesis, service and system design, and entrepreneurship.

What types of people apply?

Students who attend Austin Center for Design have an existing interest and proven track record in design, business, technology, art, or social affairs. The rigorous program in Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship brings together these students in a creative environment to gain autonomy and produce working, multi-platform design products. Students do not need to have an undergraduate degree in art, design or technology in order to apply.

What is interaction design?

Interaction Design is the creation of a dialogue between a person and a designed artifact - a product, service, or system. An Interaction Designer creates frameworks for behavioral change, on both a grand and small scale. Interaction Designers may create software, physical artifacts, environmental spaces, or systems of engagement; in all cases, the focus for the Interaction Designer is on the creation of a meaningful dialogue between a person and the designed elements. After studying at the Austin Center for Design, students have the skills necessary to develop interaction design solutions related to web sites, mobile phones, software, physical products, complicated systems, and services. Students learn specific skills on how to craft these interaction design artifacts, and also learn a process for managing the complexity that is associated with interaction design. Additionally, students learn a philosophical way of thinking about complexity, and managing ill-structured problem solving as it occurs in a job setting. This philosophy is one that is dependent on contextualized methods of synthesis in order to iteratively solve problems through prototypes and testing.

What is social entrepreneurship?

Social Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of a better world through problem solving. A Social Entrepreneur addresses some of the largest issues facing our world, including those of poverty, sustainability, inequality, access to natural resources, and education, through creativity and innovative uses of technology and capitol. While the work of a Social Entrepreneur may appear altruistic, it frequently offers great personal, societal, and financial rewards. The problems addressed in this segment of work are large, and affect millions of people. A slight positive change in behavior can have an exponential repercussion when introduced into the world, and so Social Entrepreneurs commonly view problems both "in the small" and "in the large" at once. Students at the Austin Center for Design focus exclusively on interaction design problems that are of a social nature, and work to change behavior through design. Students learn ways of presenting their work in a compelling manner, suitable for generating both positive public acknowledgement and also for raising capital for future endeavors.