Congratulations to our Masters Graduands!

Graduate students at convocation 2017
Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 10:30am

The Office of Graduate Studies congratulates our 2017 Graduands!

We are delighted to celebrate your incredible achievements and the culmination of years of hard work, determination, creation and discoveries. As well, we’d like to thank the friends and family of our students/alumni for their support.

Now that you are representing OCAD U, we hope you keep in touch by joining the Alumni Association. We invite you to visit and participate in future OCAD U events!


The Office of Graduate Studies

OCAD University


This year, the Graduate Studies community at OCAD University is once again fortunate to be able to acknowledge & recognize particular individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in their studies through their research and creative practice.

Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories

Cydney Langill Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories Award for Outstanding Writing

Criticism & Curatorial Practice

Justine Hartlieb-Power Criticism and Curatorial Practice Award for Outstanding Thesis ExhibitionValentynaOniskoCriticism and Curatorial Practice Award for Outstanding Exhibition

Digital Futures

Egill Vidarsson Digital Futures Award for Best Thesis Defence Presentation

Fusun Uzun Digital Futures Futures Award for Best Thesis Document and Award for Best Social Innovation

Jordan Shaw Digital Futures Award for Best Exhibited Thesis Work

Ling Ding Digital Futures Award for Best Thesis Defence Presentation

Marcelo Muller Luft Digital Futures Award for Best Social Innovation

Inclusive Design

Chad Lesch Inclusive Design Award of Excellence

Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design

Eli Schwanz Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design Award for Media Experimentation and Excellent Execution

Iveta Karpathyova Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design Award for Interdisciplinary Excellence

Mariam Magsi Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design Award for Achievement in Local and International Artistic Recognition

Thomas Haskell Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design Award for Rigor in Material Investigation

Strategic Foresight and Innovation

AdriennePacini Strategic Foresight and Innovation Award for Best Major Research Paper

sLab Explorations Talk: Policy Design – Towards Understanding & a Methodological Framework

Policy Design – Towards Understanding and a Methodological Framework Presentation and Open Discussion Nenad (Ned) Rava  Current
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 6:00pm


Policy Design – Towards Understanding and a Methodological Framework

Presentation and Open Discussion

Nenad (Ned) Rava  Current SFI Student 


Ned has been conducting a study on policy design for more than a year, while building it upon his 15 years of professional engagement with policy and institutional innovation. This will be an opportunity to present the findings (combined with Q&A) - followed by critique and open discussion on the use of design in policy.


Interest in policy design has been increasing, but it is still being addressed by designers and policy researchers in isolation from each other. The design community has not produced much research on policy design and any that was done was with an almost complete lack of references to policy studies. Akin to some business research, most of the concepts and methodologies regarding policy design in the design community come from design consultancies, which seek business promotion rather than solid research. The policy community, while producing much more research on this topic, is divided between those who don’t consider policy design a valid notion at all, and those who approach both design and policy in much narrower terms. Moreover, in policy studies we can rarely find references to design research (beyond the so-called “design thinking” hype). Such isolation might be surprising until we realize that policy and design share the same roots in complex social systems approaches and decision-making, amongst others.


Why this is important? Firstly, if policy design is to be pursued for systemic social change it needs to be properly conceptualized and operationalized. Secondly, policy design might be a great new opportunity for further development for design research and practice – while also addressing some of the counterproductive tendencies in policy (e.g. techno-economic rationality, "evidence"-based policy, "deliverology"). Thirdly, it is timely to bring back a more comprehensive understanding of design and of policy that has the potential to deal with predicaments of complexity, stakeholder involvement, and working across silos. Nevertheless, the understanding will not suffice without identifying practical ways to deal with the real-life challenges of designing in the policy space.



Nenad (Ned) Rava has spent 20 years in strategic development, out of which 10 years as consultant, advisor, expert, team leader and trainer/coach for governments, UN/UNDP, the World Bank, the EU, and bilateral and philanthropic development organizations. He has provided support to more than 25 governments/public sector systems in areas primarily including institutional innovation, strategic foresight, result-based management, strategic policy design, complex system change, and learning and capacity development. Ned has produced 40+ publications, (including policy papers and change methodologies) and worked on more than 50 projects cutting across diverse policy domains (health, education, social policy, economic development, decentralization). He has studied management, development policy, and comparative politics, and got his PhD on democratization and governance. Ned is currently the Consultant on Integrated Policy Support to the SDGs for the UN DOCO of the United Nations Development Group (DRT Fund: 12 countries, 44 projects, 20 UN agencies).


Venue & Address: 
sLab, suite 410, 205 Richmond West

sLab Explorations Talk: Participatory Design in an Age of Mistrust

sLab Explorations Talk: Participatory Design in an Age of Mistrust
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 6:00pm

Participatory Design in an Age of Mistrust

Patrick Feng  Faculty, OCAD U + University of Calgary


Design and foresight often employ participatory approaches that presume interaction with users is a good thing. Certainly, these approaches have done much to broaden more traditional expert-driven research methods. Yet, there are many examples where attempts to involve users becomes problematic and even counter-productive. For instance, inviting public input on how to “best design" an oil pipeline is bound to be contentious, especially when some people are staunchly opposed to any pipeline construction. Thus, even as participatory approaches gain favour with designers, policymakers, and others, there remains the thorny question of whether and how to engage various publics – particularly when some segments of the public are skeptical or downright hostile to the design objective.

This talk will explore when participatory methods work and when they are likely to fail. Drawing on insights from participatory design, science and technology studies, and related fields, I argue the effectiveness of participatory approaches is contingent on groups sharing a set of political and epistemological commitments – commitments that have been destabilized as mistrust of public institutions has grown. As a result, participatory research methods may backfire when used in certain contexts (e.g., controversies with low trust and high stakes). I will explore those contexts and consider how participatory approaches might be adapted in the face of untrusting publics.


Patrick Feng has been working in the field of science, technology, and society for over 15 years. His research examines the social, legal, and ethical dimensions of emerging technologies, with a focus on policy, governance, and public engagement. A two-time Fulbright award recipient, Patrick has led projects in number of areas including health, energy, and digital technologies. His areas of expertise include science and technology studies, innovation policy, foresight, and science communications. 

Patrick’s current SSHRC-funded project examines how notions of “sustainability” are being defined, measured, and communicated to the public. He is active in initiatives that promote public engagement with science and is especially interested in how citizens can participate and be better represented in decision-making on science and technology-related issues. He currently teaches in the SFI Program and is adjunct professor at the University of Calgary.

Venue & Address: 
sLab, suite 410, 205 Richmond West

About Us

Home page for the Resilience Design Lab

From home to battlefield (and back): One veteran’s desire to serve

David Fascinato

Broad shouldered, with rugged good looks and an iron-grip handshake, David Fascinato isn’t everyone’s stereotype of a graduate student. But if central casting were looking for a soldier type, that’s a different story.

Fascinato, however, is both: an Afghanistan war veteran honoured with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and a student in OCAD University’s MDes in Strategic Foresight and Innovation program. Recently, Fascinato shared with me some of his personal story. He also shed light on the transition from military to civilian life, and the value of veterans to organizations and society at large.

A daring young man

Originally from Guelph (and the son of an Italian soldier who fought in World War II), Fascinato was in the first year of his Political Science program at the University of Ottawa when he and a pal dared each other to enlist in the military. As it turned out, Fascinato was accepted, but his friend wasn’t.

So, in the summer of 2005, Fascinato became a member of the Canadian Forces Army Reserve. “Roughly four years after that wonderful dare,” Fascinato recalls, “I was on my way to Afghanistan, armed with a more profound understanding of my dad, his story and how a shared military experience might straddle 70 years to bring us closer together as father and son.”

On the front lines

Lest his motivation for military service seem a bit trivial, Fascinato is quick to point out that behind his initial youthful dare was a profound desire “to challenge myself, and to do so in the service of others.”

After completing his initial training, in 2009, Fascinato was chosen for the army’s psychological operations capability — a unit engages with stakeholders and mission-partners to deliver development and governance programs abroad. The year after that, Fascinato was deployed to Kandahar province, Afghanistan. For the next eight months, Fascinato served alongside a variety of units; among them, notably, the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. On the front lines, in the very teeth of the Taliban-led insurgency, Fascinato and his fellow soldiers sought to build and manage relations with local leaders.

“It might seem incredible, but I look back on my time in Afghanistan with great affection,” Fascinato says. “Despite the violence, despite the threat to life and limb, it was, and still is, one of the most precious and inspiring experiences I will likely ever have.”



Desire to serve

Fascinato is quick to acknowledge that veterans are far from a homogeneous community. Nevertheless, he notes that “I have found that many ex-service personnel share an overwhelming desire to serve, to do something of value for others in a selfless, and self-effacing, manner. This attribute seems woven into almost every member of the military, regardless of rank or role, or number or location of deployments.”

Upon returning from his two-year “sabbatical” to train and deploy to Afghanistan, Fascinato completed his undergrad studies at University of Ottawa and then moved to Toronto, where he found work as an account coordinator with a public relations firm. A number of other positions — paid and volunteer — followed in different industries.

But it did not take too many years for Fascinato to realize that maximizing his potential to serve others within a “civilian career” necessitated further learning. “It’s a competitive job market and, while I didn’t lack the experience, I lacked official accreditation as a way for others to understand what I might offer.

“Deciding to enter grad school — and choosing OCAD U’s SFI program instead of a traditional MBA route — was an effort to put a hat on my diverse experiences and to situate my accomplishments within a spectrum that makes more sense to others. The SFI program gave me access to a community of practice that included change makers among fellow students and faculty, while exposing me to innovative business concepts and tools that will support my efforts to begin a career in consulting.”

That community has welcomed Fascinato’s approach. Liberal Arts Professor Suzanne Stein, who is working as advisor to Fascinato on his major research project for the program, enthuses about his generosity and intelligence. She says, “Given David’s experience in high-conflict, high-stakes situations, his comments on group work and functioning are always appreciated. Group functioning is a difficult issue for any cohort, and David’s occasional (respectful) incredulity at the easy pitfalls of dysfunction that graduate student groups are prone to help all of us to get perspective.”

A new mission: From soldier to civilian       

“The military is a mission-centric organization with a tremendous capacity to institutionalize learnings and adapt to new challenges,” says Fascinato. “Many of its individual members therefore share a common purpose and dedication to a mutual set of goals. They are also highly resilient and adaptable, knowing how to work as members of a broader team.

“But going from the military to the civilian world, you lose the sense of teamwork, the camaraderie that goes along with that. Moreover, that sense of purpose — of service to others — often vanishes. It can become lonely, even frustrating at times, when you’re out of that community.”

So, in addition to the full-time work of being a new dad and a grad student, Fascinato devotes much of his energy to helping other veterans make that often difficult transition. Fascinato, for instance, is a member of the board of directors of the Treble Victor Group (3V), which enables ex-military leaders to reach their potential in the marketplace. And he serves as the National Lead for Team Rubicon Canada, an organization that unites military veterans’ skills and experiences with those of first responders in order to rapidly deploy emergency response teams around the world; most recently, to help Fort McMurray residents deal with the aftermath of devastating forest fires.

“I want to make the transition experience better for others,” says Fascinato. “I am grateful for everything I learned as a soldier, and my ultimate aim is to give back to a community that has given me so much.”



Morgan Holmes
Standard Template
Admissions Segment: 

Strategic Foresight Alumni Featured in Biomimicry Story

Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Friday, October 23, 2015 - 4:00am

BiomeRenewables, a Toronto company founded by two SFI alumni, was among the businesses featured in a Globe and Mail piece about innovation through biomimicry. Biomimicry refers to a form of sustainable design and engineering inspired by the natural world.

Ryan Church (MDes, 2014) and partner William Schindhelm Georg (MDes, 2015) designed the PowerCone, a wind turbine nose cone that makes turbines more efficient and effective, even at low wind speeds. Inspired by the shape of a Kingfisher’s beak, the cone can be retrofitted onto existing wind turbines. The PowerCone is currently in the testing phase.

See the article here:


Strategic Foresight and Innovation Team Finalist in Cities of Tomorrow Competition

Citizen Foresight Logo
Friday, September 18, 2015 - 4:00am

A team composed of graduate students from the Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation (SFI) has been selected as finalists in the Financial Infrastructure category of Cities of Tomorrow competition. The competition was created by the Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus of Ontario to provide an opportunity for Ontario students to enter the policy making process with proposals for improving Ontario’s urban centres. Octavio Juarez,

Team member Octavio Juarez says of the proposal developped for the competition: "This has helped us put into practice many of the tools and methodologies of the SFI program in an urban-oriented setting, nurture the spirit of collaboration between cohorts (full-time and part-time) and also serves as the launching of our group-collective based on foresight methods Citizen Foresight.

The Citizen Foresight team will present their ideas in the Cities of Tomorrow showcase on October 27-29, 2015 at the Toronto Congress Centre.

Citizen Foresight Team Members:
Christina Doyle
Eman El-Fayomi
Bergur Ebbi
Octavio Juarez
Michael Schaus

Cities of Tomorrow

Citizen Foresight

Strategic Foresight and Innovation Graduate Program


SFI student Kazi Monirul Kabir wins World Brand Congress Award

Portrait of Kazi Monirul Kabir.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - 3:45pm

Incoming Strategic Foresight & Innovation (SFI) MDes student ​​ Kazi Monirul Kabir has been awarded the prestigious Brand Leadership Award from the World Brand Congress, held in Singapore this summer. The Congress is a meeting place for the world's branding and marketing elite, where top executives from the world’s biggest brand discuss critical marketing challenges. This year’s theme was “Brands that Last: the Role of Sustainability in Innovative Branding.”

Kabir, who hails from Dhaka, Bangladesh, was recognized for his innovative approach and social awareness in branding and communication over his career. Kabir works at evangelizing Google in Bangladesh, which includes working with the government, tech communities and businesses in building the digital ecosystem that is redefining, inspiring and revolutionizing the commercial and social landscape of the country.