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The Talent Hunt

Design programs are shaping a new generation of creative managers

On the campus of the University of Cincinnati, Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) employees are brainstorming with design students to create a fictional green-leaning family of three that lives in an energy-efficient solar-powered home. "We imagined a prototypical family that might live in a house like this and want to live sustainably," says Bob Schwartz, associate director at P&G's Global Design Organization. "What products might support that lifestyle 24/7?"

P&G already employs lots of innovative minds. So why is its global design unit looking to a troop of University of Cincinnati students for ideas? "Students bring naive innovation and alien eyes," says Schwartz. "They can inspire in a fashion that is more difficult to do in big companies. That's probably why a lot of big companies engage in relationships with design schools."