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SAP founder gives $35 million for Stanford D-School

MBAs and MFAs should date. |


| Poker has serious lessons for design strategy

October 03, 2005

SAP founder gives $35 million for Stanford D-School

Bruce Nussbaum

Corporations on the hunt for more innovative, creative managers and employees should check this out--Hasso Plattner, co-founder of the business process software giant SAP, is donating $35 million to fund a new design school at Stanford. It will be housed in the Stanford School of Engineering and be called--what else?--the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. This is a big step in the evolution of design from form and style toward thinking and strategy. Plattner deserves tremendous credit.

David Kelley, Stanford engineering professor and co-founder of IDEO,is one of a small number of design academics who are working on new courses, case studies and other curriculae that take design's methodologies and people-focus to a higher level, making it much more valuable to industry and society as a whole. Roger Martin, dean at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto and Patrick Whitney, head of the Illinois Institute of Design, are part of that conservation.

Stanford's D-School will teach innovation by bringing students from engineering, social sciences, education and design together to form collaborative teams that solve problems. It will teach innovation as a process, not as magic or as a simple creative spark. It will teach design methodology as a way of thinking.

The idea for a new D-School came out of a "manifesto" written on a napkin at a Peet's coffee house some time back, according to Diego Rodriquez, who was there. The

handwriting belongs to George Kembel, who is the Executive Director of the Institute.

There is a vast migration going on in Corporate America today as companies seek to hire more innovation-champions, design thinkers, and researchers who know how to get close to customers. Six-Sigma types are in far less demand. But where to find this kind of new talent is a huge issue for CEOs. The Stanford D-school will be a major new school for companies to train their execs and educate a new crop of MBAs. The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design will start out as a certificate program, with enrolling business, education, design and other students getting their degrees in their own disciplines. A Stanford B-school graduate will come away with greater skills in innovation and design than comparable B-schools. As the U.S. moves toward a Creative Economy and companies strive to become more innovative, the new Stanford D-School may prove to be a major training ground for future managers. Good going Hasso!

03:44 PM

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design, dear bruce, in its beginnings had never been about form and style and much more about thinking and strategy, if you want to say so.

so the signs we can see here are by no means signs of a tremendous evolution. no. this here looks more like a home coming.

read your bauhaus lessons once again. and forget about all that foggy marketing talk that happened in the meantime.

Posted by: jk at October 4, 2005 02:50 PM

In some years they will be saying "Our success started with a napkin")

Posted by: School Teacher at November 23, 2005 02:48 PM

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