Center for Design Innovation


CDI is a multi-campus research center of the University of North Carolina system.


To be the thought leader of North Carolina’s discovery economy at the nexus of creativity, design thinking and advanced technology research. 


The Center for Design Innovation is an incubator transforming leading-edge ideas into prototypes that have broad impact on contemporary life.

The Center for Design Innovation is a:

  • Portal for lifelong learning encouraging all creative potentials.
  • Bridge connecting Piedmont Triad’s manufacturing past to its discovery economy future.
  • Platform supporting the diversity of bright minds and ideas in North Carolina.

Driving North Carolina’s Discovery Economy
Business, civic, and education thought leaders look to retool and reimagine how we train for and sustain the vitality of the Piedmont Triad’s communities and industries.  Some of the probing questions they ask are:

  • How do we shape the future from right here in the Piedmont Triad?
  • How do we harness new ideas and technologies that will drive our 21st Century economy?
  • How do we use creativity and technology to design for and promote a vibrant quality of life? 

Our success in the next century will be defined by the power of the Discovery Economy – our most precious resource begins with sustaining the creative power of our people by providing the tools, skills and knowledge to turn great ideas into new realities.

Bringing the Discovery Economy to North Carolina
Already a signature part of the hive of activity that is transforming the core of Winston-Salem, the Center for Design Innovation is our tool to drive the North Carolina Discovery Economy.   The Center is a new kind of engine powering people across a region long known for its innovation in research, manufacturing and the arts.  It is a visual gateway to a newly emerging Winston-Salem and the greater Piedmont. Designated by the UNC General Administration to be a generator of interdisciplinary research, discovery and innovation that crosses creative, technical and scientific boundaries, the Center builds bridges between local UNC and private universities, the community college system, the greater Piedmont Triad community, the state of North Carolina and beyond.

Incubating the Discovery Economy at the Center for Design Innovation
Part laboratory, part classroom and part convening space, the Center for Design Innovation’s 24,000 sq. ft. building anchors the southern end of Innovation Quarter.  This world-class facility is a uniquely adaptable research and learning environment for the artist, designer, engineer, and entrepreneur in each of us. The Center becomes our entry point in visualizing, incubating, and inspiring how we will live, work, play and communicate in the century to come with our signature programs.