Parsons Paris

SDM Class Profile- Research & Development Methods

Applying the methods discussed in class in a real life context:


In the Research and Development methods class, students are able to apply the lesson learned in class into a real life context, preparing them for their professional life after school. Strategic Design and Management students have been currently working in a semester long research project which seeks to use the design thinking model to create reasonable solutions for pressing issues of today. In this hands-on studio, students learn on the practical, experimental and iterative methods and approaches to design research and development. It is a unique course in the sense that is a “learn by doing” approach and students are constantly engaged in active field work outside of class interviewing experts and the general public for insight.


At the beginning of the semester students were confronted with the option of the following design challenges and have continuously worked to design a framework to propose a solution.


  • Dissemination and promotion of cultural content as a strategy for the progress and development of underprivileged communities
  • Digital repatriation of cultural heritage taken during colonial times to reinforce the identity of its communities
  • The role of Humanities at the convergence of Artificial Intelligence and Synthetic Biology
  • Developing children’s literacy in an age of non stop screen time


This project-driven learning approach gives students the theoretical and practical tools in order to understand and apply several research and development methods, from a design-led perspective. It allows students to realise the advantages of solving problems through a human-centered model and adopting the strategies of design into a larger context and with the aim of adding value to some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.


The class is taught by Maurits Montañez, an award winning entrepreneur who was featured in the MIT Technology Review “Innovators Under 35”, one of the most important recognitions in the world for young innovators at the forefront of technology, proposing valuable solutions to global problems. In addition, he co-founded Manuvo whose’s mission is to democratise access to cultural content across Latin America through the use of digital technologies. Manuvo creates apps that diffuse cultural heritage, promote reading among children and transmits the importance of the arts for the development of creativity.


The class is inspiring, enriching and that’s largely do to Maurits’ passion and his own personal experience. He is always engaging one on one with the different teams to facilitate the research and development process. In addition, he has connected every team with experts in the field from app developers, to philosophers and scientists working in Artificial Intelligence. He pushes students to deliver their best work and teaches them how to be ambitious and optimistic, because there is not a challenge too big, not an idea too crazy, that cannot be solved with design-led thinking, even if that means trying to change the world for the better.


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