Tag Archives: Institute of Design

I’ve started my post-grad career

Last week, I started working full time as an associate strategist at gravitytank, a Chicago based innovation consultancy firm. Some sharp-eyed readers might remember that I’ve mentioned this company before. GT (wonder why the short form is capitalized?) is closely tied to school as more than half the employees are graduates and many of them choose to teach at ID. At one point or another, I’ve been taught by, on teams with or had colleagues who were from GT which makes switching from school to work a lot easier and lot more fun.

School continues, as class requirements need to be met but will be taken over the year, rather than finishing up by May. I’m glad in some ways to maintain some contact with ID. The transition is much less abrupt and I actually get to enjoy the classes more, enjoying their theoretical discussions as a sharp contrast with the practical and interesting challenges at work.

The purpose of this blog I hope, will start to include perspectives that show the combinations of the practical and academic world. If you have any questions about my experiences, please leave them in the comments.

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This semester at ID

So it’s the start of a new semester at the Institute of Design – and I finally was able to register for classes so I thought I’d give all of you a heads up on what’s going to be keeping me very busy this semester.

The first three classes are from the Institute of Design and the last three are classes towards my MBA. I do like how my classes cover different parts of user centered innovation process, from conceptualization of an idea to product pricing to leadership and management.

Product Form – The form of a product is a result of resolving technical conditions, organizing the product for use, and a means for communicating. In this course students examine what technical and social dimensions impact product form and conversely, how product form can be controlled by the designer to improve the product’s performance. Topics include the relationship between a product’s form and corporate identity, visual trends, new materials, manufacturing techniques, semantics, product architecture, ergonomics, specific industries, and others.

New Product Definition- This course introduces students to the professional and theoretical aspects of the product definition process. It covers the process of creating a new product definition in detail, the characteristics of new product definition documents and aspects of organizational structure and dynamics as they relate to developing new product definitions.

Research & Demo -Research and Demo projects are semester long consulting projects with real clients with real problems. I can’t reveal too much detail about this project since it’s still being scoped but I’ll be working with a couple of friends at ID, advising us will be Jeremy Alexis, a professor at ID and our clients are a design consultancy and a very very large aviation company.

Strategic Competitiveness – Understanding of the concept of Strategic Competitiveness (SC), with a command over powerful concepts including strategic positioning, industry clusters, the economic diamond, the corporate value chain, and the global supply chain. The student will apply the appropriate SC concepts through analysis of “real-world” situations.

Organizational behavior – Topics include individual differences in motivation, perception, culture and learning style; group and organizational dynamics; and the impact of organizational structure and culture on behavior.

Managerial economics – The behavior of firms and households and the determination of prices and resource allocation in a market economy. Topics include empirical demand, production and cost functions, monopoly, oligopoly, and pricing practices.
I’ll update this blog during the semester and let you know what I’ve been learning from these classes.

Heading to the Institute of Design’s Strategy Conference

I’m finishing my breakfast as I write, heading over to catch my school, the Institute of Design’s annual Strategy Conference. We have a great line up this year and I’m especially interested to hear what Bill Buxton has to say about Sketching User Experience. There’s a short interview with him which you can read here.

Other speakers who seem promising are Claudia Kotchka, EX-VP of Design and Innovation at P&G who has attended our conference in prior years as well. I say ex vp of design since Bruce Nussbaum reported this morning that Claudia is leaving P&G. I’m as surprised as Bruce is but more curious as to where she’s headed next. Talent like that usually can spot trends and opportunities ahead of others.
Speaking of Bruce Nussbaum, he doesn’t know it but he’s one of the reasons why I’m at the Institute of Design. It was his articles on Innovation and the Institute of Design that led me to explore further after which I decided to leave my job in Boston and move to Chicago for school. Thanks Bruce and if I get to see you in person at this conference, I’ll thank you in person.

Well, it’s about that time so I must head off. Thankfully, the MCA is 4 blocks away and I’ll keep you all posted on the conference.

The title says it all

Writing this inaugural post, I feel a little like the uninvited guy at the party who shows up 2 hours late wearing the wrong clothes. No really. Before I could summon up the courage to fill out the ridiculously short form on WordPress, I had to convince myself that I actually had something worthwhile to say. Well, I didn’t convince myself. My father who has blogged for the last 2 years explained to me that my experience and interests were unique enough to warrant starting a blog. Lets hope he’s right.

Once I had decided that i was going to blog, I then agonized about what i wanted to blog about. As a graduate student at the Institute of Design, the topic of design or innovation was obvious but I wasn’t sure what I would say that was unique. There an amazing variety of excellent blogs covering these topic including those of my friends Jon Campbell and Ash Bhoopathy who are excellent bloggers of their own right. So that was out, well not entirely.

One pearl of wisdom from my father was that unless I blogged about something I was interested in, I would never keep it up. With this is mind, I tried to come up with a list of some of my interests. I was sure that blogging about eating or partying would not be very productive but my other interests of military history and cooking seemed to hold some promise. After more ruminating and a conversation with my parents, I realized I actually had a common theme that ran through my interests in design, strategy games and cooking. They all had an element of strategy and innovation. Before you begin to yawn or think that I’m crazy, hear me out.

The reason why I’m fascinated with strategy games, design and cooking is that in each of these, you are given base ingredients (things that shoot, design methods and spices) and it is up to you, using your creativity and experience to accomplish a task. There are the right ways to go about and the wrong ways to go about it and at the end, you see your results and start it all over again, trying to improve yourself. That’s fascinating to me.

So what I hope to write about are these interests of mine, in some seemingly sensible fashion and to hopefully learn something in the process.

There was also another pearl of wisdom that my father gave me that I conveniently ignored in writing this post – to keep it short. Sorry. I’ll try better next time.