This course focuses on the social dynamics of design as an agent of change and innovation, introducing students to simple frameworks to help them get ideas off the ground and gain support within their organizations.

As leaders in large organizations wonder where their next big idea will come from, individuals and teams within these organizations wonder how to get their great ideas to gain traction and attention among executives and peers. The void between ideas and sponsorship gets wider and wider the larger and more hierarchical organizations become, and designers usually struggle to get their ideas to “speak for themselves” in the midst of conflicting priorities.

Learning Objectives
The course will explore cognitive models and simple methods to engage key stakeholders and facilitate organizational buy-in. This is not a process of “idea socialization” or “checking boxes,” but rather of iterative engagement and ongoing organizational dialogue through design leadership to increase the probability that innovation efforts will have consistent and robust sponsorship across different levels of the organization.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Use methods and frameworks to gauge objectives and expectations of different stakeholders around innovation investments and efforts
  • Be comfortable designing and facilitating innovation sessions with different types of stakeholders
  • Create “boundaries” and “white space” around design projects and innovation portfolios in order to guide stakeholders and give them room to contribute ideas in order to create buy-in