California College of the Arts has launched an M.B.A. in Design Strategy that brings together design techniques and business approaches to encourage “meaningful, sustainable social change.” This new program is meant to provide students with applicable experience in creating/managing projects that create social and environmental value.
The marriage of design, business, and sustainability in one program is truly unique in scope and practice. Traditionally, business students go to business schools and design students go to design schools. When they meet in the workplace, designers and business professionals don’t usually “speak the same language.” To create products and services for the green economy, however, aligned strategies in usability and profitability are more important than ever.
So what can one expect to learn in this program? The CCA website says, “Each semester, students develop individual and team solutions to a variety of economic and social challenges using design techniques (such as user-centered research, prototyping, critique, and iteration) as well as business metrics.” In their first semester, students take courses in effective communication, managerial accounting, managerial economics, and work in a design/innovation studio. Simultaneous instruction in market and creative design skills ensures that graduates develop a sound foundation in how each discipline influences the other in the “real world.”
This program promises to provide a rich environment for the incubuation of creative ideas with a practical focus to meet the societal challenges ahead. For more information on enrollment, see http://www.cca.edu/academics/graduate/designmba/admissions.php.