Connecting Design to Strategy

Written by Ron Gabay, Full-time MBA student at HHL

My belief is that doing an MBA is far beyond classroom learning.  At HHL we are encouraged to explore opportunities that enrich our studies outside the classroom.

Just as we were about to finish our second term, I had the privilege to attend the “Smart Innovation: Connecting Design to Strategy” symposium. The two-day symposium was organized by the Design Management Institute (DMI) and took place at the BMW Welt Business Center in Munich. The event was a part of the Munich Creative Business Week (MCBW) and attracted keynote speakers from leading organizations around the world. The speakers shared best practices and addressed the role of Design Thinking and its increasing value in today’s dynamic business environment.

Design Thinking is a human approach to problem solving which aims to cultivate creativity and innovation.

Representatives from organizations and companies such as BMW, Frog Design, GE, Luma Institute and many more, presented their experiences and perspectives on how design strategy has become an integral pillar in the process of evaluating and making strategic decisions. It is now clear that Design Thinking is no longer perceived as a tool for ‘form or color development’, but rather a process which can help companies maximize value. Multinational corporations, startups, NGO’s and governments adapt Design Thinking as a means to deal with the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) of the 21st century.

Participating in this event was an extraordinary opportunity for me to gain new knowledge, new tools and learn first-hand from experts about the role of Design Thinking on a global scale as well as in the context of the German market. The symposium was structured in such a manner that each presentation was followed by an interactive breakout session. In these sessions, small groups were formed and allowed the participants to apply some of the newly learned tools and exchange ideas. These collaborative sessions were meaningful to me in  the sense that I was able to connect MBA classroom topics with Design Thinking.

Eric Quint, the Chief Design Officer of 3M, said: “Speaking the language of business makes it easier to connect and demonstrate the value of design”.

Before joining HHL, I worked as a design and innovation consultant. I aimed to create innovative business solutions by applying Design Thinking. Nonetheless, I realized that to fully exploit the potential of Design Thinking in the business world, it is imperative to acquire an additional skill, namely the business language, to further develop my expertise.

HHL’s MBA program enables me to learn the business language and position myself in an exciting place; a place where I can use both languages to drive change and lead organizations into the future.