In the last decade, design has solidified as a serious tool for almost any strategic organization. 

Whether your organization is already design-led, is working to integrate design, or is just starting that journey, the SMU Design Council is a forum for regional leaders who appreciate design, design thinking, or human-centered design as a critical strategic element of their future success. The Design Council’s purpose is to assemble, inspire, and equip influential leaders from across diverse industries that are committed to utilizing design for innovation and problem-solving in North Texas. We do this by connecting members to leading-edge content, national thought leaders in the field, each other, and the Design and Innovation Programs at the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU.


Annual Breakfast Meeting

Get a closer look at the existing programs and curriculum for Design and Innovation at SMU, and participate in a brainstorm discussion about what YOU would like to see in future design and innovation leaders. As our partners and future employers of our graduates, you can help us understand the landscape and context for this work in DFW. We will also hear what members would like to see planned for next year’s Design Council programming. This event will explore the program’s horizon and field Q&A from the group during this causal but active session on campus. 




This annual event welcomes the public to learn more about human-centered design from internationally recognized experts. It’s an opportunity to showcase the MADI program, its students and the Design Council to a broader population by bringing in the top innovators to discuss their work and impact in their field or within the field of Human-Centered design. An aspirational list of invited guest Designers includes: Sandy Speicher, Juliette LaMontagne, John Maeda, David Kelly, Debbie Millman and Diébédo Francis Kéré, just to name a few.


Inside the Designer's Studio

Twice a year, the SMU Design Council gathers to hear a rousing and broad-ranging discussion with a local designer about their work and life. Following the format of Inside the Actor’s Studio, the designer will share about the joys and challenges of their work, and engage the audience in a broader conversation about design. Previous conversations have featured Justin Childress, a creative director at graphic design firm Switch Creative, and Jessica Burnham, Executive Director of the Deep Ellum Foundation

MADI-2655-2 (1).jpg

Mini Courses

Design and Innovation expert faculty and staff will hold mini-courses throughout the academic year that expose participants to “a taste” of the foundational principles of the human-centered design core skill set: design research, problem definition and solution frameworks, idea generation, iterative prototyping, communication, collaboration, and craftsmanship. 


Membership Benefits

  • Peers who are integrating design and “design thinking” in their organization, including large product and service companies, small start-ups, non-profits and educational institutions
  • Inclusion at Human-Centered Design events that celebrate local and national thought leaders
  • Invitation to training experiences on specific design skills
  • Discounts on custom workshops for your team
  • Opportunity to join students at special panels, speakers series and classes
  • Access to students and graduates of the program, as potential interns or employees
  • Contribution, as potential employers, to future MADI program projects, skills or areas of focus
  • Rich discussion about issues related to design and innovation