Collaborative Innovation Minor

The Minor in Collaborative Innovation offers students a dynamic catalyst for process-based, cross-disciplinary collaboration and learning between various academic departments in Arts & Letters, and wider disciplinary interests across the university. The Minor seeks to build a strong core competency in design thinking and collaborative innovation to meet the growing demand for this skill among these various communities, attracting broad and diverse student enrollment and re-establishing the primacy of a humanistic, collaborative approach to the complex problems and integrated challenges facing a rapidly changing world.

The Minor offers a five-course sequence starting with Design Matters, a large, introductory, lecture-based design-thinking. Declared minors will then cycle through a series of four additional courses introducing students to the various skillsets implicated in design thinking including research methods, visualization, and entrepreneurship. The Minor culminates in the capstone course Collaborative Product Development, bringing the minor’s various disciplines (1st majors) together in fruitful collaboration with design majors to address industry sponsored projects addressing real world questions. Working in teams with corporate partners, students will get a chance to solve a variety of problems—from global distribution to product innovation to community outreach.

Design thinking is a dynamic, iterative, and deeply human process that prepares students for the type of collaborative, cross-disciplinary work they will encounter after graduation—no matter what career paths they pursue. Established companies and entrepreneurs in fields as diverse as healthcare, sustainability, education, urban planning, and economic development are increasingly employing design thinking methodology to produce innovative results.

Design Matters poster

Notre Dame's collaborative innovation program welcomes a broad and diverse group of students, from within the College of Arts and Letters, as well as from business, science, engineering, and architecture—all of whom play a vital role in bringing successful solutions to fruition.

The gateway course, Design Matters: Introduction to Design Thinking, features a hybrid seminar format with lectures and case studies followed by hands-on exercises and practical applications of design thinking methodology in the form of team projects.

Required Courses and Components

Completion of the Innovation minor in AAHD will require 15 credit hours.

-3 credits of DESN 20203- Design Matters: Introduction to Design Thinking
-9 credits from designated Innovation courses, three of which are listed below:
DESN 20204 - Design Research
DESN 30140 - Interaction Design
DESN 40100 - Design for Social Good
(additonal courses to follow)
-3 credits of DESN 41201/ 41202 - Collaborative Product Capstone

Declaring the Minor

Declaration of the Minor will require enrollment in, or completion of DESN 20203 (Design Matters). Students may contact the department Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Innovation Minor’s Director for information, or declare the Minor in the department office. Design majors will not be permitted to declare in the Minor.


Advising will be done by the faculty associated with the Innovation program in consultation with the department’s DUS.

Learn More

For more information, contact Ann-Marie Conrado or Richard Gray.