Sustainable Business by Design: MBA conference

On Monday and Tuesday of last week the UBC Sauder Centre for Sustainability and Social Innovation hosted the Frontiers of Management Conference – the “capstone” for the full-time MBA program. The theme this year was UBC 2.0: Sustainable Business by Design.

The conference was my opportunity to bring a designer’s perspective to the global buzz – to introduce design thinking to the graduating MBAs – appropriate in the context of advancing sustainability on the campus.

Together with Denise Withers, our new Learning Design Manager at Sauder, we constructed a collaborative design process dubbed “Opportunity Design”, which we launched at the conference. We married our two perspectives – me from the built environment design world and Denise from the appreciative inquiry/learning design world. The result, to date, is illustrated in the following diagram.

Opportunity DesignCCmed

During the two day event, the MBA students worked through this process in an iterative way, using a set of design thinking tools, to build on presentations from leaders in the industry to develop sustainable business ideas. Not only did they generate more than half a dozen excellent and feasible concepts – but they also embraced the flexibility, creativity and innovative potential of design thinking for business development.

Based on their feedback and enthusiasm, we’ll continue to develop options for further opportunities to apply design thinking in the Sauder curricula.

Creative Commons License
Opportunity Design Process by Moura Quayle, Denise Withers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License

Leave a Reply