Bob Kerrey Gets Innovation Right At The New School And Parsons.

Bruce Nussbaum

I spent a day at The New School, that wonderful antiestablishmentarian institution in Greenwich Village that now embraces Parsons The New School for Design, Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, the New School of Social Research, plus big programs in music, drama and liberal arts. I spoke to students in design management and they were GOOD. If you're looking for talent--for people who can think strategically in terms of innovation and design thinking, you might want to start checking out the New School.

I spoke with the President, Bob Kerrey (yes, the ex-senator from Nebraska) and was surprised to see that he "gets" innovation and design. I had lunch with Tim Marshall, Dean of Parsons, Meg Armstrong, chair of Design and Management, Mark Lipton, chair of management, Will Milberg, a professor of economics, Taylor Davidson, a grad student in Design and Management and Irish Malig, the program coordinator for that program and they all "get" innovation and design.

This was pretty stunning. Design thinking is seen as the integrative solvent that brings together the programs through a powerful methodology that solves a myriad of problems. It's the same perspect as Stanford has in its new d. school--the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design.

Kerrey, in particular, was right on. He is leading a major move to make The New School more innovative and to teach innovation throughout its programs. He's trying to establish a new institute/program of innovation. This is important. New York City needs an Institute of Innovation. It's economy is changing quickly to form a new media/marketing/finance/bioscience creative economy based on innovation. Columbia could do it. NYU could. But neither institution understands the role of innovation and design thinking the way The New School does.

Anyone out there with $30 million to set up an East Coast Institute of Innovation? Like the Hasso Plattner Institute at Stanford? I bet Kerrey would even put your name on it.