Being a student of a prestigious business school, to facilitating Design Thinking workshops at a few prestigious business schools of the country. Having experienced both sides, I feel this is the right time for me to pen down my point of view on this topic.
One constant question that I get asked by B-School leaders is “Where should the Design Thinking workshop be placed in the two years of MBA program.”
Before giving my view on this, I ask the leaders for their view. Most of them have told me, it should either be done like a standalone workshop OR can be offered as an elective in the 2nd year of management graduation.
My next question to them is a tough one Why do they want the student to learn Design Thinking? While I have got a lot different responses, but two common reasons I have got are “It is the new buzz word in the industry” and “Need an additional certificate” to help students during placements.
Now that becomes both interesting and conflicting for me.
· Yes, it is a new buzz word, but aren’t we all born with it.
· Yes, they need an additional certificate, but the employers are looking for a design mindset and skillset.
Let me explain this through the story of Aakash and Jitin.
The big insight:
· Students need grooming on management lessons with a strong bent towards practicality, creativity and fun.
· Employers hire students, not for their management concept knowledge, but for how can the students combine the knowledge with their creative skills and generate exponential value for their business.
Role of the institute:
While I respect the management institutes, as they are the craftsmen of the future workforce and they touch so many lives in this journey.
However, if I try to view them from a business lens, I see the role of a management institute is that of a platform. It has some suppliers (parents, guardians and corporate) that are ready to give raw/ near finished products (students) to the platform (B-school). The platform with its value added services, enhance the value of the products and crafts an experience of trust and convenience for the buyers (employers).
Most of the institutes are doing excellently well on teaching management concepts; however, I feel a lot more can be done on enhancing the student’s creative quotient. Thus, making a strong case for Design Thinking being embraced by management education.
With this in context, lets address the two question.
Why should management institutes not have ‘A’ course on Design Thinking?
My firm belief is that there should be no one course on Design Thinking, rather the whole education experience that the institute is crafting should have an element of Design Thinking. Which means, every touch point (selection process, onboarding, orientation, the curriculum design, the delivery, the evaluation and the outcome showcase) should have an element of Design Thinking.
Proposing a new delivery model through the below infographic:
When should the institutes time the Design Thinking workshop?
I think the best time to conduct a workshop on Design Thinking for the students of a management institute is right at the beginning i.e. during the orientation week.
I propose that the in the first year, faculty across all streams should promote the usage of Design Thinking principles in the project work that the students complete during their coursework. The primary parameters to measure the project work should be “Originality, Creativity and Relevance”
The complete second year should be converted into labs, where in students choosing a particular specialization should be working in the particular lab around the year, learning the nuances of various electives and also solving real industry challenges and the faculty playing the roles of a facilitator and coach.
At the start of the program the students are very fresh and have a very open mind towards getting educated at the B-school. They do not have any inclination towards a specialization stream or a faculty. This is best time to build design driven mindset and skillset. Design Thinking is a way to think and teaches some key life principles. It has got applications across all streams of management and corporate.
The students can potentially apply the mindset and skillset in all what they learn during the two years and beyond. This will not only bring sustainable change but also bring original and creative output from their project work. Which may be worth showcasing to potential employers during the placement season. Thus, making students more employable and presentable.