I have begun teachng a new course at Hult International School of Business. Hult is developing a minor concentration in design across six campuses around the world. My understanding when they contacted me was that they wanted a primer on design thinking, similar to what I’ve been teaching at San Francisco State University. But as we discussed and explored it became apparent that they were looking for something different – a primer on graphic design.
This isn’t what I do, nor do I think it is entirely relevant for business student – it takes a student in a design school four or more years in a structured studio environment to learn professional design skills. A business student taking one or possibly two classes with graphic design assignments in a forward facing classroom, let alone on Zoom, could barely expect to come proficient enough to do much more than brush up their personal communications – which is a laudible goal, but not in my opinion enough to warrant a full semester in an elite institution. Hult students needed something better.
It occured to me, to teach business majors how to manage design, and from there how to apply design to its many strategic applications – innovation, brand-building, product development, marketing campaigns and ultimately leadership in its broadest sense as outlined by Maria Giudice and Christopher Ireland in their book The Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design. This would need, to be sure, a lot of hands on experience designing something meaningful while engaging in a full spectrum human centered design process. It was also require grounding in an understanding of what design is, where it comes from, how it is applied in the business context and where to look for an understanding of human factors and other design principals.
I proposed creating a course titled Design for Business Leaders which was accepted by the Hult curriculum committee with the designation DSN 328 and added to their course catalog for consideration towards a design minor.
This is the course description I submitted:
Design plays a strategic role identifying, defining and creating the artifacts that make up the business enterprise. This course will provide students a grounding in user-centered design principals, methods and practices that are universal among design disciplines and essential to grasp when managing a design and innovation function within an organization.
This course will introduce you to key design professions: architecture, industrials design, service design, brand design, communications design and user interface/interaction design. Design inputs such as human factors and visual design principals will also be explored.
Practical experience will be gained applying the design thinking user-centered design framework in a semester long project that will include elements of strategic brand design, graphic identity design, web design and industrial design.
You can see the slide deck that I use to introduce the course HERE.