Businesses are confronted with an increasing rate of innovation and the ability to continuously and systematically develop innovative products and services is becoming a critical factor to sustain a competitive advantage. Our role as one of the leading business schools in Europe is to prepare our graduates for these challenges.
Prof. Dr. Walter Brenner, Director of the Institute of Information Management, University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and Prof. Larry Leifer, Director Center for Design Research, Stanford University initiated a collaboration in 2005 where student teams work on product and service innovation challenges presented by corporate partners. Teams take projects all the way from defining design requirements to constructing functional prototypes ready for consumer testing and technical evaluation. Projects typically combine aspects from sustainability, automotive, medical, communication, and user interaction.
Students working towards their master’s degree in information, media and technology management participate in this two-semester course where they learn the necessary skills to gather deep consumer insights, develop ideas through various ideation techniques and synthesize these ideas into conceptual prototypes of innovative products and services.
In the fourth year of this cooperation 12 students are working in three teams to work on the next big idea with problem statements from three corporate partners. The corporate partners in 2008/2009 are BASF, Lonza and Swisscom.
My role in this course is twofold, firstly I am teaching and coaching the students in the design process and the different methods and tools that are used in the different stages, secondly I am doing research on the course observing different aspects of the design process and design collaboration with business students.
More information about the course can be found on the official website at http://designthinking.iwi.unisg.ch
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