Master's degree in design innovation for the tourism sector


Programme Description

Through a multidisciplinary training, the master's degree is devoted to design research, directing it to a very specific social and economic activity, tourism, as a field of application. Its aim is to implement innovation-based policies, strategies and activities in the sector based on design and working methods.

In this inter-university master's degree, along with the University of La Laguna (ULL), the University of Barcelona (UB), the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU) participate.

Justification title

A master's degree in multidisciplinary training oriented to a specific social and economic activity is proposed, tourism, as a specific field of application of design research with a view to the implementation of policies, strategies and innovation activities in the sector.

In order to understand the role that design can play in the innovative impulse of the tourism sector, it is necessary to understand the turn that the profession has made in the last years, going from a professional activity, which entailed the consideration of applied art that it had during the 19th century. and part of the XX to a field where an explicit investigation is often developed. There are three reference documents that place this change in the context of the strategic policies of XXI Century Europe. They are, "The Economy of Culture in Europe", a study prepared for the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission in October 2006 by KEA European Affairs, the Green Paper. "Unlocking the potential of the cultural and creative industries", which is part of the official documents of the European Commission, published in Brussels in March 2010 and the BEDA document (The Bureau of European Design Associations) "Design themes in the Europe of today ", edited by Stuart MacDonald and published in 2004.

According to "The Economy of Culture in Europe", the role of the cultural industries and the creative sector in R & D & i and in the Europe of knowledge is often ignored despite the fact that culture contributes with great force to promoting the objectives of the European agenda set in Lisbon in March 2000, as it leads to economic and social development, as well as to cultural cohesion and innovation.

This document recognizes design, together with architecture and advertising as an independent and well-connected group within industries and creative activities, which are developing specific methodological tools for their development. At the same time, he recognizes, on page 8, that culture and innovation can play a crucial role in the development of regions insofar as they are capable of attracting investment, creative talents and tourism. So design is not only important, according to the European Union, when it comes to creating innovation or contributing to the development of new products and services, but it is important in itself as part of the tourist offer. At the end of this chapter some concrete cases are exposed, such as the construction of the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the success of the Casa Camper hotels in Berlin or Barcelona.

The second aspect to take into account is the need to change our conception of design as a strictly professional or applied field oriented to the construction of objects or the development of products. According to the European Union in the Green Paper "Unlocking the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries", on page 10, "As in all other sectors of society, the research and development aspect of creativity and the creation. If Europe wishes to remain in a vanguard position, more interactions between the different artistic and creative disciplines, (sub) sectors, economic areas and points of the production chain are needed. A more intensive, systematic and comprehensive collaboration between the arts and academic and scientific institutions should be promoted, as well as initiatives between the private sector and the public in support of experimentation driven by artists ".

This master's degree aims to respond to this need, contributing to reinforce the competitive potential of a specific sector, tourism, and in that sense the academic, scientific and professional interest of the Title is justified, at the same time that the pertinence of that the approach is made from the design scope.

According to the same green book (page 11), cooperation between schools or art and design colleges and companies can help to strengthen the objective of ensuring a better match between the supply of skills and the demand of the labour market in the medium and long term. long term in order to strengthen the competitive potential of the sector.

The aim is to instill in students the culture of what has come to be called innovation driven by design (design driven), which, according to the BEDA (page 16 of Design Topics in Europe today), refers to processes of reconfiguration of value to the processes of reconfiguration of the creation of value that result from the generative link, which is capable of illuminating unexpected solutions, and the social potential (the "field of what is socially possible"). For this to happen, it takes a special ability to cross the boundaries that exist between disciplinary, organizational and linguistic areas that are normally considered different and alien.

There is a broad consensus that the transdisciplinary nature of the design and the holistic sense of the designers, which places them as a bridge between technology, market and user are playing a fundamental role in this aspect. On page 22, the BEDA study coincides with that of the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, and states that it is absolutely necessary to integrate design knowledge into other educational programs, apart from those belonging to the training design. We believe that this master's degree is also justified by its objective of integrating design thinking into the work of tourism companies.

Later, the BEDA presents design as a reflective practice, and states (page 36) that design research "is becoming a strategic function, capable of developing competencies that go beyond the traditional way of conceiving design as a "Tool" to create new products. These new competences define the new design as a competence for problem evaluation, a very useful diagnostic tool for innovation of products, companies and services. On page 37, he states that "design research is understood as a forecasting activity that interacts with different actors. Acting as mediator between different contributions can represent possible worlds in a visual language that, in the long term, will give the company a strategic orientation ".

There is also a justification for this project that links it to the change in the productive model whose need has highlighted the current economic crisis.

During the economic crisis produced in 1929, the ability of design to build new visions of the future was demonstrated in the United States, which, when communicated through metaphorical and visual languages, were easily understood by the entire population. The modern design and architecture embodied in locomotives, automobiles and skyscrapers, but also in more modest objects, such as books, advertising campaigns or logos, was decisive for the whole country to gain self-confidence and be able to leave before the crisis. Especially in the current circumstances, this communicative capacity of the design must be taken into account given its high strategic value. The great permeability of tourism towards these intangibles based on the communication of future ideas makes it an ideal sector for R & D + i driven by design.

It should be clear that in design the research is done through the project, which the BEDA defines as a "reflexive practice", that is, "an inductive process", by integrating theoretical thinking with action. Design research analyzes reality by producing visual models of it and proposing possible changes. That is, it develops a capacity for action research, an essential capacity in contemporary organizations "(Page 37). Therefore, it is inseparable from it. Therefore, as will be seen later, this training proposal makes a special impact on the development of the TFM, without which no research proposal would make sense.

We provide, together with ANNEX 1, two letters from the State Society for the Development of Design and Innovation and from the ESADE Foundation that support the master's degree, indicating precisely how design is a valuable business resource that through innovation, applied creativity , the improvement of the technological capacity and the efficiency of the management processes can enhance the evolution of the image of the regions as a tourist destination.

Starting therefore that there can be no research in design without losing the perspective of the professional application of its results and based on what was proposed at the Bergen meeting in 2005, this master proposes to take on the challenge of professionalizing research.

Will be able to detect, assume and solve design projects with the aim of contributing to the improvement of the tourism sector through innovation in the quality of services, the promotion and dissemination of them and the development of tools, tools and supports that These services require. He will be an expert in the aesthetic evaluation of interventions and their environmental impact in order to control the sustainability of the proposed interventions. He will also be a good connoisseur of the relationship of the landscape with society and how it can be affected by man's interventions.

Based on this, the training program aims to acquire the skills that enable the student to design research and innovation through:

  • The design of tourism products and services.
  • The design of graphic and communication products.
  • The design of environments.

With the aim of contributing to the innovative development of the tourism industry, both by the application of strategic design in the management of facilities and facilities, and in the development of studies on visitors, the management of cultural heritage and the territory aimed at dissemination of the destinations. It puts the accent on research to encourage innovation based on design and users, and for this reason, the training program is mainly committed to systemic competences such as creativity, project management, orientation to quality or innovation .

Other skills to acquire come from different disciplines of the humanities and social sciences because they allow discover innovative tourism interventions, understand their scope and culturally evaluate them as attractions of tourist interest at the same time as integrators of the identity of the different territories.

Environmental sciences make it possible to develop sensitivity towards the natural environment and incorporate it as an essential component of decisions made in concrete projects. This is one of the most promoted transversal competences since Bologna; in the tourism sector it is a key factor of innovation for the immediate future.

In this sense, we propose a completely new master, even in regard to the profile of its graduates, because although there is currently a wide range of master's degrees in design and tourism sciences throughout the world, it is true that designers collaborate In practically all the tourism product development processes, no training program has so far linked the two areas in a deliberate way. This innovative nature of the proposal will benefit the investigative aspects, since the union of academic interests that have led us to develop this project has been born over the years a small network of interuniversity collaboration that the master will definitely consolidate.

And it is that the history of this project goes back to the year 2005. Then the project was developed almost completely (proof of this are the letters of interest of the Government of the Canary Islands and the Cabildo de Tenerife, which we attach), but it was decided not to present it at the last moment, waiting for the definitive implementation of the Degrees in design in the respective faculties. Throughout these last four years, the partners that now present this proposal have been consolidating our relationship, and knowing each other better. That is why we can now guarantee that each one contributes to the master's degree where their competence is greatest, with a result that guarantees a better adaptation of the proposal and a greater academic impact.

Because it is a highly specialized master's degree in a cross-disciplinary and multidisciplinary field, it is a new proposal in which each university contributes its experience in teaching doctorate courses and research direction, either as DEA works or as doctoral theses, as well as research through practice (practice based research) both in the fields of design and artistic creation.

On the other hand, the master is the opportunity to carry out a research work applied to a specific sector for graduates in the different degrees in design when they are put in brand in the next courses, but also for the graduates in Fine Arts who opted for a specialization in design in the old bachelor's degrees.

Given its disciplinary transversality and the novelty of the master's degree, there are no studies on the demand for the degree, although indicators have been located that allow us to think that there is a potential demand.

  1. In the ANECA White Paper for the degree in design, a study was made on the offer of master's degrees linked to design in Spain before the approval and implementation of the EHEA. Most of them did not issue a degree with any academic validity. The data collected for the academic years 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-4 drew the following picture: the offer was distributed among private universities, private design schools and continuing education centers of companies, especially the very specialized, distributed by all the CCAA, with an important presence of Catalonia, Madrid, Valencia followed by Aragon, Asturias, Galicia and other communities according to the specialties.

    The total of masters in those years increased from 50 master's degrees in the first year to 105 in the last studied course. The majority of this offer was aimed at professionalization. The irruption of the EHEA and of the official masters with academic value has undoubtedly changed the panorama given the novelty of the system, but many private and public centers have maintained their offer of master's degrees and have adapted to the official model. To specialize in the world of design, they constitute one of the most attractive offers at the moment. In Spain, there is sufficient demand for the offer of master's degrees as a means of professional specialization for many years. The organisation of official EHEA masters is reinforcing this demand.
  2. For the 2010 academic year, the first degrees in design will be offered at universities throughout Spain. In Madrid, it has already been offered in two private and public universities, and others have requested it; in Catalonia, Madrid or the Basque Country, it will be offered by several private universities. The four universities involved in this master's degree will do the same next year. Only taking into account design graduates from the Faculties of Fine Arts and Design will significantly increase the number of graduate students in design who will want to be able to continue their studies and specialize in a specific economic sector, especially if it is important in the region of the who come.
  3. We must also take into account the graduates in industrial design arising from the adaptation to the EHEA of the old titles of Technical Engineering in industrial design offered since 1994 throughout Spain. While it is possible for centers to offer master's degrees that continue the training of their graduates in the line of product development and design management, some of their graduates may feel interested in a master's degree such as the one proposed here and extend their training with skills oriented to research.
  4. If the proportions managed in the Netherlands in the demand for master's degrees and doctorates in relation to the demand of the degree are used as a reference, it is conceivable that at least 10% of the graduates will want to continue their training in master's and doctoral courses.
  5. In view of the different drafts of Royal Decree for the artistic education of special regime, it is possible to think that graduates in design from the Art Schools and Superiors of Design may be attracted by a master such as the one proposed here, in a proportion similar to that established for university graduates.

Entry and exit profile

Admission Profile

The entrance will be direct for the students coming from the degrees of Design, Fine Arts and Engineering in Industrial Design and Development of Products of the EHEA.

  • Students from other degrees such as architecture, social and economic sciences and, in general, the disciplines of social sciences and humanities, will be able to access the evaluation of their application by an academic commission, which will determine, based on their academic and professional curriculum, what subjects of leveling must take the Degree in Design. This course of leveling the student will take between 15 and 30 credits. In order to avoid their coincidence with the teaching of the first semester of the master, these leveling credits will be carried out in a "zero course", that is to say, the student who performs the leveling credits will need two academic courses to complete the master, In which he will develop between 15 and 30 credits of leveling, in the first or second semester according to the asignaturas of the degree that is assigned to him, and a second course in which would be incorporated to the own contents of the master from the beginning.
  • For students from the former bachelor of fine arts, access will be direct. In those cases in which the student accredits a relevant professional experience according to the contents of the master's degree, the academic committee may exempt him from the leveling course.
  • To access the master's degree it will be necessary for the student to prove that they have attained English level B1 according to the common European framework of reference for languages.

Graduation profile

It is a master's degree that guides towards a professional and research specialization with a clearly multidisciplinary profile. It promotes the creation of a new type of professional, specialized in managing the design towards the tourist industry in order to develop innovative products or services. The graduate of this master, designer and consultant at the same time, will be able to take advantage of his baggage in design, applying it through his capacity for critical analysis, to think creatively from the application of thinking based on design, solving concrete problems through Experimentation and creative synthesis. Its mission is to analyse the sector, detecting its problems, offering solutions and posing possible scenarios for its strategic improvement. It is about creating a researcher profile that the tourism industry understands as necessary to the extent that it can bring benefits.


  • Provide the student with the specific knowledge and instruments of study and design to apply the design as an innovation strategy in the tourism sector.
  • Provide the student with the knowledge and skills necessary for the use of specialized tools in the research and identification in the socio-cultural contexts of the problems whose solution requires a design project
  • To document and train the student to incorporate the general history of design, art, architecture and the popular legacy as a basis for the study and the project proposal of novel solutions and respectful of cultural heritage.
  • Instruct the student to explore the symbolic values ​​and processes of semiosis that operate in the material culture (landscapes, environments and interiors, products and visual communications) in order to know how to detect them, respect them and incorporate them into the design processes of innovative solutions and proposals Tourism products and services.
  • To train the student in the use of techniques and the adoption of creative attitudes applied in the tourism sector to investigate and define problems in terms of the systematic discipline of design and to arrange their resolutions in the offer of tourism products and services.
  • Provide the student with the models and procedures for studying and designing for the election, recreation and use of advanced visual communication languages ​​and techniques that are most appropriate for solving design projects in order to improve the offer of tourism products and services through The practice of design or research based on design.



  • To understand the practice of design as a method of research in itself based on applied creativity (according to the definition of the concept of Design thinking used internationally as one of the useful methods in the dynamics of innovation).
  • To know in depth the own dynamics of the design management that allows to apply knowledge of the marketing and of the business administration to the projects of design of tourist products and services.
  • In-depth knowledge of research methods to obtain reliable information (eg focus groups, market studies, trend analysis, etc.) to inform, design and test solutions for designing visual communications, products and services for The tourism sector.
  • Know the environmental implication of the projects and know how to take decisions that lessen or avoid a harmful environmental impact.
  • Design for all, applying the principles of universal design in environments, products and communications of the tourism sector.
  • Know how to value cultural diversity as a tool of innovation for tourism.
  • To know the tendencies of the market of the Design and the tourist products and to know to relate them to each other.
  • Know how to design tourism products oriented to quality.
  • To know the values ​​and strengths of the applied design to the sciences of the tourism (sociology, anthropology, economy and geography).
  • To be able to use information and communication technologies (ICT) for tourism products from a critical, creative and innovative perspective.

Orientation and tutoring

Pre-registration systems

The orientation activities are mainly focused on three points:

  1. Delivery of informative material (subject guides, tutoring schedules and exam calendar) at the time of beginning each subject. This material will also be available for consultation and / or download from the official website of the faculties that teach the master. In the case of online subjects, information will be promptly provided on the means that will be used for the development of teaching (virtual platform, e-mails, chats, webs ...) in a series of face-to-face talks or by videoconference coinciding with the start of each subject
  2. Celebration of reception days for new students
    At the beginning of the master's degree an event is organized to receive the new students, who are informed about the space and infrastructure of the participating faculties; your organisation; the services it provides (library, cafeteria, workshops, classrooms, material and tools at its disposal, reprography services ...) and its operation; the structure of the master; the services of attention to the alumnado, the schedule of the secretariat of the centers and of the services of administration, etc.
  3. Assigned tutoring system
    Once the registration is finished, the students are assigned a tutor with the task of tracking the student along the master. The tutor will be the academic coordinator, who must hold regular meetings with the students, learn about their adaptation to the progress of the course and about their learning process, guide and advise on the studies and act as mediator in the event of possible conflicts that are reported to the academic team of the master. It is the responsibility of the tutor during the first semester to guide the student in his choice of subject and content of the TFM. During the second semester, each university will appoint a tutor-coordinator who will be in charge of the students that make their TFMs.

Post-registration systems

In addition to the activities related to the reception of new students and the tutorial system in the Center, several support and orientation activities are organized:

  • All the centers involved in the master's degree develop activities each year to support teaching and professional guidance in the form of talks, seminars, visits, conference cycles, workshops, etc.
  • The library of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the ULL also organizes activities of orientation, information, search, management and management of bibliographic resources throughout the first semester.

Programme of Attention to Students with Specific Educational Support Needs (PAED)

The University of La Laguna has a Programme for Attention to Students with Specific Educational Support Needs (PAED).

External practices

This master's degree does not include the completion of external internships, since they are research oriented.

Master's thesis

According to the current regulations Royal Decree 861/2010, of July 2, which modifies Royal Decree 1393/2007, of October 29, which establishes the organisation of official university education, chapter 4, the teachings leading to obtain a master's degree, concludes with preparation and public defence of a master's degree project.

Throughout the second semester the student, with the help of his tutor, develops the innovation proposal proposed in the first semester, within the subject "Research for the design innovation project", within the following options for Innovation the tourism sector:

a) Product development

b) Studies leading to the development of services

c) Research work on innovation

All framed in the three own lines of the master:

  1. The design of tourism products and services
  2. The design of graphic and communication products
  3. The design of environments

The development must conclude with a written report of the research carried out or with a written memory and a creative work (graphic, audiovisual or others) where the development and conclusions of the research are described. The work must be defended before a court and be valued positively for obtaining the master's degree.

  • The student will have to make a memory of between 40 and 50 folios (including text and illustrations) to which he / she will attach a dossier with the formalized development of the proposal of the creative work (graphic, audiovisual or others). In all cases the work must be original and unpublished.
  • The work must be done individually by the student, under the direction of a tutor. As a general rule, this work must be designed according to the ECTS credits assigned to it in the study plan.
Last updated Mar 2020

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About the School

La Universidad de La Laguna ha ejercido una importante función de liderazgo educativo, científico y cultural en Canarias durante sus dos siglos de historia, impulsando el progreso de nuestra comunidad ... Read More

La Universidad de La Laguna ha ejercido una importante función de liderazgo educativo, científico y cultural en Canarias durante sus dos siglos de historia, impulsando el progreso de nuestra comunidad y contribuyendo decisivamente a su modernización. Read Less
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