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Business Services and System Design – 2018-19


“... systems thinking is based on the fundamental shift of perception from the world as a machine to the world as a living system” - Fritjof Capra





In today’s context it is crucial to recognize the connectedness and interdependencies of all existing systems as well as think and envision beyond the known boundaries.
With the fast approaching scenario of the Internet of things (IOT), products as we have know them will no more exist as individual and standalone function performing objects but will be ‘platforms’ that are part of a larger system of interconnected products that will aim to facilitate and serve us.
This course is for those who want to learn how to innovate and create sustainable solutions for complex challenges facing our world today and in the future.

Innovation in Information and Communication Technology has given rise to multiple businesses, systems and services that offer us multiple options as we go about our everyday lives. From choosing the kind of transport to get to work, the brand of the packaged food and drink, to selecting the café to drink coffee at, the luxury of making choices has become a reality today. The question, however, is what would be the long term impact of the choices we make across socio-economic, cultural, and environmental factors. The challenge is thus solving today’s problems using multi-disciplinary convergent thinking, and not inadvertently creating new problems for tomorrow.

Design has also evolved from the design of objects both physical and immaterial, to the design of complex adaptive-systems. The role of designers is no longer that of a central planner, but rather as participants and facilitators within the systems they exist in. This is a fundamental shift–one that requires a new set of values.

As students learn to design new scenarios for businesses, systems and services, becoming sensitive to the broader impact of their interventions will form the core of their learning. Further the course will enable learning from across the disciplines of human-centered design, social and grass-roots business innovation and information technology. The aim of this integrated learning is intended to nurture holistic approaches necessary in today’s dynamic and interdependent scenarios.




Key Values

The course focuses on innovative business, systems and services that are:

Frugal Sustainable (economic, social and environmental) Inclusive



Course Structure

The curriculum comprises of different ways of learning as follows:

  1. Foundation introduces students to basic principles and tools of Art, Design and Technology as methods, tools and processes
  2. Disciplinary Studios are learning spaces where students develop core disciplinary capabilities, while navigating a trans-disciplinary environment
  3. General Studies: A common and compulsory programme of study that integrates Humanities, Sciences, Development and Policy Studies and also offers Languages-English, Indian- Hindi and Kannada as well as Foreign (Spanish, French and German) Click here to read more about the General Studies Program >>
  4. Interim: An introduction to practice in new and emerging areas of art and design
  5. Electives: Of three kinds- this program allows students to expand their skills, develop the interests as well as provide opportunities for travel exchange
  6. Internship/Apprenticeship: Compulsory work experience done over the summer-break between the 6th and 7th semester
  7. Project involves the application, synthesis and demonstration of capabilities acquired, and is a qualifier to the thesis
  8. Thesis is culmination of the 4-year program, which allows for demonstration of an integration of values, positions, capabilities and practice.



Learning Approach

Observing, absorbing, assimilating and emulating form the core and enduring learning’s of the Business Services and Systems course. From this core emerges the ethos of Inclusion, sustainability and frugal design with applications in real life sectorial contexts such as Agro, health, Information technology and others.

Equipped and empowered with these learning’s the students make conscious connections between the interdependencies within systems using a variety of design and thinking tools. This constant back and forth navigation between the micro and macro encourages a robust an enduring understanding of businesses systems and services.

Research, Analyze & Synthesize

Conduct research to define and scope a problem. Analyze and synthesize qualitative and quantitative data to derive innovative ideas of business, systems and services.

Envision & Evolve

Address the conflicting needs of the problem and its stakeholders. Apply methods of design thinking to envision and visualize creative systems and services and develop these ideas into well-defined solution concepts.


Make the concepts of systems and services real by applying design and business thinking methods.

The learning engagement is divided into two phases. The first phase focuses on understanding and appreciating design-thinking theories, methodologies and advanced skills through modes of mentored design studios, workshops and charrettes. The second phase focuses on applying the understanding to drive a reflective inquiry into a complex real-world problems under the mentorship of faculty in one or more labs or centers mentioned above.

Capability Sets

Research and analyze

  • To be observant without being judgmental, also be able to simulate scenarios in order to extrapolate information
  • To be able to position oneself in diverse contexts in order to draw valuable insights
  • To have the ability to position oneself in a larger global context

Synthesize and Envision

  • Have the ability to identify patterns within systems and services both apparent and beyond the obvious
  • To have the capability to make connections between seemingly unconnected components

Evolve and Reflect:

  • Have the ability to experiment, make, and be open to critical feedback in order to generate insights and opportunity areas to push boundaries.
  • Have the capability to collaborate and also be open to critical feedback from all stakeholders


The above mentioned capability sets could lead to opportunities such as:

  • Employment in Information Technology industry which focus on integrating application and infrastructure
  • Employment in design studios, R&D, product development teams in small and large companies
  • Employment in startups, small and medium enterprises, NGOs & social enterprises
  • Employment in infrastructure development and planning agencies
  • With a strong will and a belief in your ideas you can become a practitioner, entrepreneur or a design consultant by becoming part of larger teams working towards emerging future scenarios in domains such as retail, infrastructure, healthcare, education and many more


For more information about this program, kindly email Janak Mistry at


Disciplinary Intersections

The course is informed by the following learning disciplines:


Research and Collaboration



View Eligibility for Admission, Fee Schedule & Other information for this Program >>