Sunday, August 24, 2008
MBA Design Leadership elective 2008: manifesto
Tomorrow we start my MBA elective in Design Leadership, in its third iteration. This year 30 students are taking the class, the majority of whom are from the school's executive MBA, with a few joining from the one-year full time programme. Crammed into just two weeks, the elective aims to give students knowledge, understanding and skills so that they can appreciate the value of design and what some people call 'design thinking' in organizational life and implement these ideas in their own organizations. What I'm calling a manifesto for the class is available here as one-page PDF.
"I'm not trying to turn you into designers...but I do want you to become a bit more designerly."
Because of the time of year, we are not able to do a joint project with MA students which was a key part of the learning experience in the previous two iterations. Instead, what I have designed into the elective is a number of practical exercises for the students to have a taste of some of the methods designers use. For example students will be creating blueprints of services, developing scenarios, and doing a crit of design of artefacts at the school. We'll even be leaving the safety of the building and venturing out into the streets to look at the idea of 'extreme users' as a design method. In addition we'll be hearing from guest speakers who will share their experiences of managing design in fast-changing organizational contexts: Andrew McGrath, Director of Design and Usability, Orange Global; and Chris Downs, director and co-founder, live|work service design and innovation. Students will also be given opportunities to consider the way design is managed in their own organizations and the issues around organizing for design-led innovation.
Design and design management are rarely part of the core curriculum on MBA programmes. But given developments at many universities such as at the Rotman School in Toronto, the d-school at Stanford, and at Design London (Imperial College - Tanaka Business School - Royal College of Art) this is beginning to change. What I think is distinctive about our approach is how the elective pays attention academic research in science, technology, and society (STS) and to the importance of students developing their design literacy. So I'll be posting summaries of the class on this blog to contribute to current discussions about the role of design and design thinking in organizations and how these ideas can be taught and learned. Comments from other academics, students and professionals are welcome.