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The Power of Design Thinking in Creating the Curriculum of a New-Age Management Program

We are conducting a path breaking new experiment in higher education! In our new campus called the SOIL School of Business Design, we are launching a 2-year full time Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) on “Business Design”.

Agenda of the Activity

To design the curriculum for this unique learning journey, we invited a “microcosm” of our stakeholders for a week long intense exercise based on Design Thinking. Faculty members, industry leaders, NGO leaders and mentors (including teachers from high quality K-12 education) came together for this joyful process.

We preceded this exercise by observing and listening with deep attention to a cross section of young people who were “MBA aspirants” and carefully noted down what they were “feeling”, “saying”, “thinking” and “doing”. We used these insights to simulate what the industry would expect from our students, what students themselves cared deeply about and are inspired by, the hopes and aspirations of their families, and what the community expects from them.

The entire process of role playing each stakeholder was full of rich learning and provided deep insights. Industry leaders such as Ajay Soni, Chief Learning Officer at Aditya Birla Group, Nalina Suresh of Mahindra and many others enabled us to put a sharp focus on learning outcomes linked to the fast-changing needs of the industry.

Emergence of the Business Design Curriculum

The two-year curriculum that emerged was unique and breathtaking. It led to the creation of an interdisciplinary program with a foundation in liberal arts, design thinking and management education. Subjects such as social anthropology and sociology to appreciate the context, and psychology and philosophy to learn about stated and latent needs were the liberal arts related components that emerged from this process, with the objective of developing “empathy” in the students. Visualization, Interaction Design, Product and Service Design, Aesthetics and Art were added to generate “creative intelligence” in the students. Strategy, Marketing, Finance, HR and Operations were combined with Analytics and Digital Transformation to develop “critical thinking” to convert ideas into real products and services needed by the society.

We would like to thank everyone who was present with us who helped make this process an amazing success! We are amazed at how the process of Design Thinking has enabled us to craft an exceptional curriculum for what promises to be the most innovative MBA in the country!

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