The World's Best Design Thinking Programs

Looking for innovative thinkers? Check out the 2009 list of the Best Design Programs in the World by Business Week. It has both business-based and design-based programs that integrate the best of both methodologies and cultures—39 masters and MBA programs that significantly integrate Design Thinking and Business.

The list includes two schools in China, and one each in Taiwan, South Korea and India.

When I first started this list several years ago, the choices were very limited. Today, colleges and universities in the US, Asia, Europe and Latin America are making big strides in building new programs that integrate design, business, engineering and marketing programs to create new learning plaftforms for creativity.

That’s good because there is huge demand for graduates who know Design Thinking and how to work collaboratively. Increasing that is how all knowledge work is being done. The Design part gives students the methodologies and tool kits to go into new cultures and situations, quickly understand the human needs there, create new options that could satisfy those needs and then iterate quickly to make the right choices before hitting the market place.

The collaborative part is crucial because increasingly people have to know how to manage participation of not only team members but the consumers your are making new products and services WITH. They are now members of the brand, members of the company. “Users/Producers.”

In the US, despite the great strides being made, design education is still lagging design practice in the real world. Silos in American universities still separate Social Sciences from Design

even as Design absorbs Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology and other fields into its methodology. Incentives for professors to team teach in design Design/innovation programs are still lacking while tenure and promotion are still primarily based on traditional academic activities within the traditional academic silos.

If the US is to reverse it's slide in the global economy, it's universities have to do a better job at Design Thinking.

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