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RCA Service Design Masterclass, Dentsu 2020

Custom Service Design Masterclasses for international advertising company Dentsu, Japan.


For four consecutive years the RCA has been collaborating with the international advertising company, Dentsu Inc. headquartered in Tokyo. In 2019, we ran courses in person on Design Thinking. Since the pandemic, we have successfully shifted to online learning. In January 2022, we ran a one-week live online Service Design Masterclass led by Professor Clive Grinyer, Head of the RCA’s Service Design MA programme.

Course structure

Over 30 executives, designers and students came together from diverse backgrounds such as energy, technology and electronic companies, real estate, automotive, construction, design universities, and local and national government. They joined via zoom with simultaneous translation in Japanese and English. The course began with keynote lectures and a panel discussion. Each session provided a blended experience of lectures, workshops, group work and discussions, as well as one-to-one interaction with leading multi-disciplinary educators and practitioners.


They worked in teams on challenge briefs, facilitated by RCA tutors and student ambassadors, that focussed on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. On the final day they presented to a panel of experts.

“Participating in this course was an enriching experience because I had the opportunity to collaborate with peers from various occupations and ages.”

Takashi Onohara, SONY Japan

“Attending the sessions demonstrated that online learning can be effective using various collaboration tools.”

Ken Nakagawa, New Horizon Collective Japan

Key details


More information

The class began with keynote lectures and a panel discussion:

  • Professor Clive Grinyer addressed Service Design, incorporating case studies from the RCA.
  • Jun Kamei, from the RCA’s Innovation Design Engineering Programme, tackled Design-Led Start-ups and how to combine sustainability, understanding users, prototyping and functional aesthetics in creating products.
  • Dr Oussouby Sacko, President of Kyoto Seika University.

Teams worked on group challenges revolving around the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Identifying current issues, they sought solutions in new services, discussing:

  • quality education
  • sustainable cities and communities
  • life on land
  • responsible consumption and production
  • end of poverty
  • decent work and economic growth.

The delivery team consisted of a range of voices, with five facilitators from the RCA alongside ten Japanese facilitators (including designers from the Kyoto School of Art and Kyoto Women's University).

The class involved 27 delegates. Executives, designers and students came together from diverse backgrounds such as energy, technology and electronic companies, real estate, automotive, construction, design universities, and local and national government.

Each day closed with an opportunity to present and feedback, as well as the space for networking. The response and feedback from Dentsu and the facilitators was excellent, with highlights on the efficiency of the online format, simultaneous translation, and valuable learning experience. There are plans to deliver new courses in 2022-23.

Custom Executive Education Masterclasses and Workshops

Through our portfolio of innovation masterclasses and workshops, the RCA provides senior-level professionals and business leaders with critical business skills. We deliver courses for businesses, organisations and universities on design thinking, service design, creative leadership, disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship, human-centred design, artificial Intelligence and healthcare design.

We can tailor the curriculum for a day, a week, or several weeks over the course of a year with interrelated projects. Courses can be delivered online, on-campus, hybrid or at partner organisations. Previous courses have been delivered in Dubai, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Germany and Mexico.

Find out more here.

Please get in contact with us if you would like to discuss developing a custom programme:

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