Design Thinking: integrating business, design & sustainability

Success comes in business by doing something better.  Diverse interests, duties and opportunities of today’s markets mean that “better” is an increasingly complex concept.   Sustainability layers in long-term obligations.

Enter design thinking as a problem-solving approach: part creative-thinking for new ideas, part innovative thinking for new ways of using existing information and systems.

Sustained success will only occur within a larger organizational culture of research, design literacy, design-thinking skills training, and values-based evaluation, reinvention and renewal. Students, the business community, and an increasingly engaged public demand an integrative, participatory approach.  Around 40% of the MBA students are members of the Net Impact Club– indicating their strong interest in sustainability. They are also awakening to the fact that other business schools and businesses are embracing “design thinking” as a competitive edge.

As a lifelong designer and believer in the potential of design thinking to spark innovation and excellence in business, I’m looking forward to the opportunities this awakening brings.  And I’m excited to say that the Sauder School of Business is moving forward to explore how design thinking can enhance curricula, research and student success in our graduate, undergraduate and executive programs.

This “design” blog will track the evolution of that exploration – of the integration of design thinking and sustainable business by design at Sauder.

The next few blogs will respond to the questions:  What is design thinking anyway?  What could it look like at a business school?  And why is design important to business?

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