Talent Hunt: The Methodology

How our panel of experts arrived at the list of institutions that made our list of the most forward-thinking design schools

Innovation is a tough thing to measure. To compile this list of the world's most forward-thinking design schools, BusinessWeek turned to an international panel of 22 expert design and brand consultants and academics from business and design schools. We also tapped executives at six forward-thinking companies with expertise in design or innovation strategy: IBM (IBM), Citigroup (C), Sears (SHLD), the Rockwell Group, Procter & Gamble (PG) and Electrolux. We asked them to recommend interdisciplinary design and business programs whose curricula they respect and whose graduates they hire. Jurors from academia were asked to look beyond their own instititutions—any self-nominations were discounted.

Then we conducted interviews with professors, students, and alumni from the recommended colleges, looking for design programs that incorporate business strategy and business programs that teach design as a tool for strategic advantage. We were looking for programs where interdisciplinary classes were the core curriculum, not fringe electives. Their input helped us refine the list to 60 schools, which are located all over the world.

Making the cut: programs that use the real world as their classroom, where students solve contemporary business programs for real clients, instead of tackling hypothetical scenarios in an academic setting; programs that were tuned in to contemporary business issues, such as the need to be global and environmental and socially sustainable; and those whose graduates have proved themselves capable of bringing creative talent to the corporate world, not only as designers but as strategists and leaders.

Comparing and contrasting schools and programs is an imperfect science, but this year's list provides a useful snapshot of the growing influence of design thinking within the world at large.


Ric Grefé, executive director, American Institute for Graphic Arts

Mark Breitenberg, dean of undergraduate education, Art Center

Barry Jaruzelsk, vice-president and lead marketing officer, Booz Allen

Jeff Semenchuk, executive vice-president, Consumer Group Innovation, Citigroup

Gianfranco Zaccai, president and CEO, Continuum

Domus Academy, group response

John Thackara, director, Doors of Perception

Henrik Otto, global head of design, Electrolux

Gabriel Patrocínio, director, ESDI

Yves Behar, president and creative director, Fuseproject

Lorraine Justice, director, School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

IBM, group response

IDEO, group response

Katherine Bennett, former Vice President, IDSA

Patrick Whitney, director of Institute of Design, llinois Institute of Technology

Manuel Sosa, assistant professor of technology, INSEAD

Jez Frampton, global CEO, Interbrand

Alonzo Canada, relationship lead, Jump Associates

Walter Herbst, director of product design program, Northwestern University

Jeneanne Rae, president, Peer Insight

Martha Depenbrock, Global Design Communications Group, Procter & Gamble

RitaSue Siegel, president, RitaSue Siegel Resources

Rockwell Group, group response

Jeremy Myerson, professor of design studies, Royal College of Art

Dev Mukherjee, senior vice-president for innovation, Sears

Smart Design, group response

Krisztina Holly, vice-provost for innovation, and executive director of the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, University of Southern California

Sohrab Vossoughi, president, ZIBA

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