GBUS 8459 Innovation and Design Experience

The course examines how design thinking and innovation principles can be used to enhance the value and accelerate the development of business opportunities that deliver organic growth. Students will apply design methodologies and innovation tools in a live, corporate project, working closely with a client company with a real problem to solve.

Corporate-innovation projects will be aimed at providing market/user insights, deep-concept thinking, and rationales for specific recommendations on innovation opportunities of significant economic value to the client organization. The Darden School’s Batten Institute will facilitate the identification of appropriate student projects through a network of corporate relationships. A team of three to five students will undertake each project, and teams, under the supervision of the course faculty, will be assisted by one or more project liaisons from the client organization. Students will study business-model-innovation success stories emerging from recent research in organic growth, and they will learn how to employ a business-design framework that includes: identifying new business opportunities based on market needs; designing and testing breakthrough concepts; and developing a viable business strategy and multifunctional operating model. Specific topics to be studied will include market-driven design, ethnographic research methods, idea generation, hypothesis development and testing, prototyping and experimentation, concept visualization, and business-model design.

Course topics, class sessions, team meetings with clients’ project liaisons, and project work will be structured and sequenced as a practicum in which each student team applies the course concepts and tools to design and build new business ideas and models for its client organization. At the conclusion of the course, each team will present its plans to both faculty and clients.

Academic course objectives:

·         Introduce students to approaches that enhance corporate-innovation activities in terms of market impact, value creation, speed, and efficiency

·         Expand students’ thinking about corporate design and innovation beyond the design and development of new products to other fundamental sources of value creation

·         Strengthen students’ individual and collaborative capabilities to develop market/user needs, create sound concept hypotheses (business, product/service, market, systems, and technology), collect appropriate data, and develop an analytical confirmation or rejection of concepts in a real-world environment

·         Teach students to translate identified opportunities into actionable innovation possibilities and recommendations for their client organizations

·         Prepare a senior management “client report,” addressing the opportunity potential, concept analyses, business-model recommendations, and implementation challenges

Elements of the course grade:

·         Individual contribution to course and team-collaboration abilities                (33.3%)

·         Individual report                                                                                             (33.3%)

·         Team deliverable (business plan)                                                                    (33.3%)