A creative combination: adding MBAs and art schools together to increase innovation

Earlier this month Financial Times reporter, Ursula Milton, wrote an interesting article on how MBA administrators are re-tailoring their programs to respond to firms’ needs to be more creative and innovative. The result of this trend has been for MBA administrators and art school chiefs to develop some very interesting collaboration. Introducing design-based principles into business planning and development is expected to ratchet up levels of innovation in firms, while also bringing art schools more directly into the economy.

One collaboration cemented earlier this year in Barcelona was between Art Center College of Design located in Los Angeles, California and ESADE – a leading Spanish business school. In ESADE’s press release, ESADE’s Director General Carlos Losada commented.

Market globalisation is creating unparalleled trends and opportunities, and even entirely new industries. As a result, we need to be at the cutting edge of things to come up with new management models and ways of understanding business. Art Center College of Design, a world leading center on creativity and design, will enable us to develop new multidisciplinary scenarios, and broaden our perspective on originality and innovation.

Art Center’s foray into Barcelona, Europe’s ‘design capital’, is intended to enable Art Center to extend its footprint into the Mediterranean region. This College clearly also has global ambitions, and is an institution worth watching as various strategies are pursued to realize nations’ and regions’ ambitions to become knowledge-based economies.

The FT reports that one of Art Centers’ longest running joint venture is with INSEAD Business School which has campuses in France and Singapore. Since 2005 small groups of design students have been enrolled for a term in one of INSEAD’s strategy electives. There, MBA and design students work together on ‘problem’ – bringing their respective skills to the table and sharing insights from the learning process.

Collaborations like these are intended to produce ‘innovation managers’ – people who can see a gap in the market and creatively design a solution. However, they also suggest that if universities are to respond to the demand for greater levels of innovation – in what recently in the UK the Sainsbury Review called ‘the race to the top’ (see our report last week) – then universities will also be required to think in more radical ways about curriculum pathways that bring together studies in science, technology and creative arts.

Susan Robertson

4 thoughts on “A creative combination: adding MBAs and art schools together to increase innovation

  1. Pingback: Articulating the value-proposition of the Humanities « GlobalHigherEd

  2. Pingback: The NSF’s cool project: a charrette assesses interdisciplinary graduate education, with surprising results « GlobalHigherEd

  3. Pingback: Finland’s Aalto University (est. 2010): institutionalizing interdisciplinary thinking for innovation in the knowledge economy « GlobalHigherEd

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