User-Centered Innovation & Design

This graduate course introduces students to various approaches, methodologies, and most importantly to underlying human and organizational factors in user-centered design and innovation, often referred to as Design Thinking.

We will also introduce students to the increasingly prominent role of design and design thinking in creating memorable experiences, and emotional connections with a product and/or the brands behind them. Students will learn how to identify opportunities, transform these opportunities into product concepts that cast an optimum balance between feasibility, viability, and desirability. We will try to reflect, feel, empathize, listen, brainstorm, collaborate, excite, get excited, and engage in some of the activities that are considered essential as part of the development of successful products from all stakeholders’ perspectives. We will study success and failure cases, do a semester-long project, and will enjoy perspectives of some industry thought leaders through readings, videos, and in-class visits.

The objectives of the course are along two dimensions: individuals leading teams and organizations through market/user insights, inspiration, and innovation. In this course we attempt to enhance the capabilities of managers in each of the intersections. This is a very ambitious goal that is mostly achieved by teaching foundations and increasing awareness and motivation for lifetime of learning.

Course objectives are:

  • Understand and appreciate the diversity of roles, disciplines, and mindsets in cross-disciplinary teams that are vital to bringing to market successful products.
  • Understand the broad ideas and issues related to creativity and innovation, the user-centered approach, and the relationships among them.
  • Use and deploy basic user insights and innovation methods and successfully recruit other resources to further develop those capabilities within organizations.
  • Be an advocate of the user-centered approach and contribute to organizational cultures and processes.
  • Most importantly, join the world-wide exchange, thinking, and practices towards better meeting of human needs through engineering and technology management.