This site is about an ongoing experiment in MBA education. It shares what I have been developing at Said Business School at the University of Oxford through an elective I set up and have been teaching and assessing since 2005.
Now called the MBA elective in Designing Better Futures (previously Design Leadership), this elective gives students opportunities to explore, experience and understand what would be involved in bringing approaches from design and the arts to management and entrepreneurship. It is particularly focussed on engaging with the multiple challenges facing global and local communities.
More recently I developed the strategy for the joint MBA between Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and Birkbeck College, University of London which launched in 2017. This is an exciting and unique collaboration that is attempting on a modest scale to re-design management education, on which I teach the generative systems design methodology I developed with Birkbeck researcher Professor Richard Vidgen. In addition I also teach a module on design on the BSc/MSc Management Science at University College London. Some of the learning from this teaching shaped my Service Innovation Handbook (first published 2014, now in its third reprinting), which is used on MA and MBA courses around the world.
Over the years I have developed dialogues with several other educators trying out similar things including Fred Collopy, Youngjin Yoo and Dick Boland at Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University; Moura Quayle at the Saunder School of Business’s D-studio; the Rotman School of Management in Toronto; and with others working in design schools with related perspectives such as Nathan Shedroff, formerly running the MBA in Design Strategy at California College of the Arts, and Jamer Hunt and Lara Penin at Parsons, The New School for Design.
Some business schools have made significant commitments to exploring these ideas. Although it covers just one elective, I think this blog offers something to educators, researchers and students – even if only how to wriggle around institutional and disciplinary constraints.
I also continue to write and publish peer-reviewed academic research and am a regular international speaker and workshop leader. A more recent focus is on using design thinking in government and policy making, and among other things I lead a cross-disciplinary PhD programme collaboration between University of the Arts London and Kings College London.
Director, Innovation Insights Hub, and Professor of Contemporary Design Practices, University of the Arts London
Associate fellow, Said Business School