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Development News

Illinois Institute of Technology to hold Michigan's first Master of Design Methods program in GR

The Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute of Design has announced that it will launch Michigan's first Master of Design Methods program at GRid70 in Grand Rapids. IIT bills the MDM as an executive master's degree designed to drive innovative methods and frameworks for the development of products, communications, services and systems.

GRid70, the nickname for Grand Rapids Innovation and Design at 70 Ionia, is a new $5M design hub that brings together teams of innovators from local corporate giants Amway, Meijer, Pennant Health Alliance, Steelcase & Wolverine World Wide in a collaborative environment. The purpose of GRid70 is to promote idea generation and innovation through collaboration.

Seth Starner, Amway's manager of business innovations, is part of the collaborative. In 2008, while seeking a master's degree program that fit his own aspirations, Starner says he attended IIT's summer MDM program in Chicago. That inspired him to pitch the idea to bring the program to Grand Rapids.

"I want to see Grand Rapids as a regional and national design hub and there's a potential it could be an international design hub," Starner says. "This program really hones that skill for discovering new value, harnessing that value (and) serving your customer in new ways. That's the name of the game in finding and creating new businesses."

The program, which begins Aug. 19, has some stiff prerequisites that include:
• At least five years' professional experience.
• Team leadership or product manager experience.
• Recognition of professional work (awards, publication in professional journals, etc.).
• Specific achievements in design or product development/management.

Students will attend MDM classes at GRid70 two weekends a month, plus two mandatory one-week summer workshops. The course schedule allows students to work full time and complete the degree in 24 months. For more information, click here.

Source: Seth Starner, Amway Corporation/GRid 70; Michael Zalewski, Seyferth PR
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
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