Research

Creating Value from “Design Thinking”

At a time when manufacturing and services are being outsourced, margins narrowed and the threat of commoditization a concern, organizations and their management need to foster what Assistant Professor Siobhán O´Mahony calls “design thinking” among their rank and file to maintain a competitive advantage. This spring, O’Mahony taught a new elective course, “Design and Business,” that explored the ways in which companies can create and articulate aesthetic value and apply design principles to create sustainable competitive advantage, address technical and customer challenges, produce enjoyable experiences and enhance customer loyalty. Cases and class examples included companies well known for their ability to create aesthetic value such as: Alessi, Starbucks, Apple, OXO Kitchen Tools, Porsche, Herman Miller, Target and Nike. Working in teams, the students considered design innovations for a product or service that has a negative environmental impact or one that could address the needs of 90% of the developing world. Using prototyping tools and researching customer needs, the students’ new product concepts included a solar toolbox, a solar stove, a composting service and even a solar cremation service. Guest speakers also shared how their companies apply design thinking concepts. Alumna Sungene Ryang ’04, who works in the Consumer Experience Design at IDEO, discussed how design thinking is embedded in the firm’s organizational culture. Strachan Forgan and Richard Tepp of Sasaki & Associates, the architectural firm that designed the School’s new building, Gallagher Hall, demonstrated their client-focused and multi-disciplinary approach to visualizing design and concepts for what is expected to be the first LEED®-certified Gold building at UC Davis. According to O´Mahony, managers don’t have to be trained as designers to practice design thinking. Her students learned to reframe problems by thinking deeply about the latent needs of consumers and by applying design concepts holistically to products and services with an eye toward business, aesthetic and environmental concerns.

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News Release

UC Davis Graduate School of Management partners with Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Labs to drive technologies from lab to market

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(Davis, Calif.) – With a joint goal of speeding the transfer of new technologies from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories have announced a new partnership for researchers to develop their entrepreneurial skills.

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MBA Student Consultants Make an IMPACT
Projects Put Business Needs Front and Center

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Agilent Technologies’ Electronic Measurement Group is a $3.6 billion business that over the past decade has seen a dramatic shift in its customer base from U.S., and Western European customers to predominantly Asia-based customers. Today, the majority of the division’s revenues are generated outside of the U.S., with an increasing concentration in China.

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UC Davis Part-Time MBA in Top 8%, Full-Time MBA in Top 9%
U.S. News & World Report’s latest rankings: This marks the 19th consecutive year our MBA program has been ranked among the best in the nation.

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(Davis, CA) — The UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s full-time MBA program has been ranked among the top six percent of AACSB International-accredited programs nationwide, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest graduate business school rankings released today.