Innovative Workshops Give Students the Cutting Edge

Over the past two weeks, Professor Jordi Castells has been busy with both students from GBSB’s Bachelors of Arts and Master in Business Innovation programs orchestrating two very innovative workshops, Design Thinking and LEGO®SERIOUS PLAY®. Professor Castells is a licensed facilitator of both and not only works with students, but he also works with business professionals providing this training to better understand problems and focus on solutions through innovative thinking.

Design Thinking is a methodology created by Stanford University in the United States. Originally, interior design students in the at Stanford used Design Thinking to solve complicated problems, and realize appropriate solutions for clients. The main process in Design Thinking follows these steps:

  1. Empathize | "To create meaningful innovations, you need to know your users and care about their lives". This means that it takes a concerted effort to get to know the customer, to understand their habits and ways of doing things and why. It is important to question what physical or emotional needs they may have, how they view the world, their place in it and how it works. Delving into this phase helps to create a complete understanding of the consumer’s needs and will start the design process.
  2. Define | "Framing the right problem is the only way to create the right solution". In this step, it is crucial to identify the problem and possible solutions based upon what was learned from the Empathize stage. It is important to recognize any, and all challenges that might arise and navigate through them to the next step.
  3. Ideate | "It’s not about coming up with the ‘right’ idea, it’s about generating the broadest range of possibilities". This is the creativity stage, where any, and all ideas are viable. This is a process of tossing out hundreds of thoughts and ideas in order to find the best possible solution to the consumer’s wants and needs.
  4. Prototype | "Build to think and test to learn". The prototyping stage requires students to think about their questions and how to formulate quick and cheap solutions, then take action. With effective feedback from users and colleagues, the prototype can evolve. Creating the prototype for this project calls for students to use anything that is accessible, may that be sticky notes, cardboard, fabric, and tape.
  5. Test | "Testing is an opportunity to learn about your solution and user". Testing is all about taking the prototype directly to the consumer to get feedback and once again empathize with what they have to say. The process may not end here, it may have to go back to the drawing board, but without testing there is no opportunity to refine the project to make it better, more in line with customer demands.

In Professor Castell’s class, he conducted one of the crash courses on product design using the Design Thinking methodology. The Wallet Project required students to work in pairs. Each student worked independently following the step-by-step process in Design Thinking. He/she constructed a product by communicating with his/her partner. With the primary objective of making a product, a wallet, purse, or handbag, the student customized the item for the other person based upon their specifications. Students had one hour to perform these tasks and construct the product using various craft items, namely paper, scissors, and tape.

innovative workshop helping students understand innovative thinking in business development

The final goal of the Design Thinking process in this project was to create a product the partner could potentially want if designed to the consumer’s requirements (desirability), has real usability (viability), and can be easily constructed in terms of resources and technology (feasibility).

Professor Castell not only organized this event but also facilitated the LEGO®SERIOUS PLAY® workshop. The LEGO®SERIOUS PLAY® methodology is a tool used to help teams and individuals communicate effectively and look for innovative solutions by asking thought provoking questions. By using visual, audio, and kinesthetic skills, participants take to this hands-on project by developing a business model and ultimately a product, all with those colorful little bricks called, LEGOs.

The Master in Business Innovation at GBSB Global Business School Barcelona has been designed to give students the skills to turn thoughts into actions. GBSB’s Master in Business Innovation degree is aimed at unlocking students’ full potential as strategic, innovative managers for today’s demanding markets. Many companies are actively looking for managers who are able to monitor, measure and oversee their innovation and development procedures. This master program will take students through the creative processes of how to generate new groundbreaking ideas and how to evaluate these projects analytically in terms of potential added value.

Written by Emily Dawn Szajda, GBSB Content Manager

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Design Thinking workshops help students to think and look business development from different angle

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