Oct 14 2009

Design Thinking Through MBA Partnerships


Sometimes the unlikeliest of marriages results in the most fascinating spawn. The collaboration between the Filene Research Institute and Design Concepts, Inc. is a case in point. What could a hip product development firm and a credit union research outfit possibly have to talk about over the dinner table? Quite a bit, it turns out.

In 2008, the University of Wisconsin School of Business partnered with Design Concepts to develop an MBA course titled “Design Thinking for Business.” The purpose of the course is to teach the foundational concepts of design thinking theory and apply them in a real-world business situation. Design Concepts, through Filene Research, approached the UW Credit Union (UWCU) about serving as the real-world business partner for the course, and UWCU accepted the opportunity. During the Spring 2009 semester, students in the class worked alongside Design Concepts staff and UWCU to address a number of strategic opportunities UWCU had identified using the design thinking paradigm. This report introduces the design thinking process, reviews the work of the Design Thinking for Business student teams, and concludes with a series of implications for credit unions.

Review Filene and Design Concepts previous collaborative report entitled, Why Choose a Credit Union? An Ethnographic Study of Member Behaviors.

Report Number 197