My MBA elective in Designing Better Futures (previously ‘Design Leadership’) will take place as a summer elective available to both executive and full-time MBA students at Said Business School between 1-14 July 2012. Once again this elective will give students opportunities to explore and assess the contributions that design-based approaches bring to contemporary challenges facing organisations and communities. Again, we’ll be collaborating with the MDes Service Design Innovation students from London College of Communication, directed by Alison Prendiville.

We are still working out the details of the joint project but it is likely to involve some prototyping and exploration of new service and business models, including working in the studio at LCC and a trip to other London design venues. In previous years in this elective students have worked on designing services to change travel behaviours, the product-service system for a new medical device, and supporting social enterprise Soul of Africa (see this blog for details)

In addition, this year I will be kicking off the new MBA elective in Design for Innovation and Change put on by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship based at Said. Led by Pamela Hartigan and Alex Nicholls, this new elective is running in Trinity term (ie for full-time MBAs only) in response to student demand for additional teaching in this area. I’ll be teaching the first of the eight classes on April 19, with an overview of design in the context of social innovation and change, and a rapid introduction to design thinking.

This course covers some similar ground to my elective. The major differences between the two electives are that my elective

  • offers opportunities to undertake design activities in collaboration with students from a design school
  • draws on a wide range of literatures that explore the value and nature of design-based approaches including organisation studies, science and technology studies and design studies
  • includes extensive hands-on practical exercise to expose students to methods and concepts used by leading contemporary designers
  • develops skills in design literacy.

Now in its seventh year, the Designing Better Futures elective is usually taken by up to 45 MBAs. Students say it is a unique opportunity to explore approaches from  professional design and relate them back to one’s own profession and context. If that’s not attractive….it’s also one of few formal classes at Said that is knowingly playful and creative.