Business education in India is largely analytical in nature. This gives students the confidence to handle diverse information and take logical decisions. However, business problems in the real world also need us to be intuitive at times, be able to try new things and figure out solutions with informed trial and error. This is the realm of innovation. And in today’s economy, where customer expectations and business trends evolve so rapidly, the industry is increasingly looking for that ability. And in line with this reality, business schools world over are experimenting with approaches to developing creative problem skills in their students.
TinkerLabs approach: Let managers be designers
Design as a discipline puts an interesting mix of methods and tools in MBA students’ hands, which allows them to build creative solutions to ill-defined and complex business situations. So that's what we did- crafted hands-on experiences for MBA students to think and work like designers on live challenges, build innovative solutions, and develop their own creative confidence.
What happened on ground:
It started with the TinkerLabs team introducing the concepts and framework of design thinking through interactive and fun activities. The flavor of the workshop then quickly turned from learning to doing with the commencement of the Inspiration Hunt, for which the students were divided into groups and assigned challenges. These challenges were modeled around their live experiences as MBA students- like how to re-imagine the library of future, how to maximize peer-to-peer learning in extra-curricular space, how to enable low-income families on campus to save more, and so on.
The workshop spanned for two weeks, allowing the students to immerse themselves in the process completely. The teams were allocated mentors, who guided them through the design thinking journey. They were familiarized with various research methodologies to develop insights about the challenges.
Having interacted with the stakeholder, defined the problem and narrowed down various influential parameters, the teams had come up with a variety of innovative solutions to solve the challenges. Feasibility and viability of the solutions were then tested and finally, the prototypes were presented to the mentors.
What did we achieve:
Future Managers equipped with the tools of design thinking capable of tackling complex business challenges with innovative solutions. As we read reflection stories of various students after the workshop, we saw how they had drawn connections between design, innovation, and their lives. It was heart-warming to see students kicked about managing professional as well as personal aspirations with a 'design thinking' approach.
Highlight of the project:
This was the first time TinkerLabs offered a full credit course in a major B-School and entailed designing a detailed curriculum, classroom activities, reading material, etc. A learning experience indeed; and on a lighter note, we realized a professor’s life is not as chilled out as it seems 😉