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Integrated Design Program

The Design Fabrication Zone at Ryerson University has partnered with Design Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC), representing Ontario’s six professional design associations, to develop a new program tailored to the needs of early-stage startups. The IDP applies best practices in experiential learning to support startup success and help entrepreneurs build their capacity for integrating design into product and service development.

The ultimate goal of the IDP? Start a wave of change that enhances startup success across Ontario by embedding design as an essential consideration for new ventures.

The IDP also offers a seminar series, ongoing mentorship, experience with design charrettes, and access to a growing network of entrepreneurs and accredited professionals such as architects, landscape architects, and industrial, interior, graphic, fashion and UX designers.  

The IDP is available to all Ryerson Zone Learning members.

Every startup enrolled in the IDP is connected with an accredited professional designer who can offer input and advice at each stage, from design to prototype to mass manufacturing. By hiring a designer as a consultant and advisor, startups learn how to integrate design into product development. This ensures their products and solutions are compelling, user-centric, environmentally sustainable, resilient and cost effective to produce.

As the only program that actively connects startups with accredited professional designers, the IDP represents the first time DIAC and its six professional design associations have entered into a formal arrangement with a university-based incubator. The IDP will lay the foundation for a province-wide network connecting entrepreneurs with accredited professionals such as architects, landscape architects, and industrial, interior, graphic and fashion designers.

Known for its research excellence, Ryerson offers the IDP team access to the resources required to accurately assess project outcomes. From establishing metrics to conducting surveys, DIAC, Design Fabrication Zone and Ryerson researchers will thoroughly assess the impact of the Program.

Ryerson’s Zone Learning network is a robust ecosystem of incubators where startups access extensive mentoring, expert advisors and the resources required to succeed. A distinctive feature of the IDP will be to demonstrate the value of including accredited professional designers among the experts offering guidance and advice to startups.

The Design Industry Advisory Committee is a not-for-profit cross-disciplinary think tank that conducts research and develops strategies for leveraging Ontario’s design capability to improve economic, social and environmental outcomes.

DIAC represents all six of Ontario’s accredited professional design associations. It includes representatives from:

  • ACIDO (Association of Chartered Industrial Designers of Ontario) 
  • FIAP (Fashion Industry Advisory Panel)
  • IDC (Interior Designers of Canada)
  • OAA (Ontario Association of Architects)
  • OALA (Ontario Association of Landscape Architects) 
  • RGD (Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario)

DIAC was established by the City of Toronto in 2001. As such, DIAC represents the primary disciplines in the design sector. This gives the pilot project tremendous potential to change the industry and promote the integration of the design method into startup culture.