Design Thinking And Strategy The Focus Of New Harvard Business School Executive Education Program

Career Climbers / 1st December 2017

Harvard Business School (HBS) Executive Education will launch Reimagining Strategy: Applying Design Thinking to Your Organization on the HBS campus in Boston from February 11–14, 2018. The new program will examine design thinking, a powerful tool for revitalizing and rethinking strategy, and its applications for achieving and sustaining a competitive advantage. 

Organizations that stagnate due to a stale or obsolete strategy need inspiration to innovate and find new approaches to their business. Design thinking draws from elements such as experimentation and empathy and, in a business context, it can help leaders reframe strategic challenges by focusing on customers’ needs. This program allows executives to take a step back from daily operations, explore a strategic challenge facing their organization, and return to work with a fresh perspective on strategy.

“The most genius strategies are those that recognize latent user needs,” said Srikant M. Datar, Arthur Lowes Dickinson Professor of Business Administration, Faculty Chair of the Harvard University Innovation Lab, and faculty cochair of Reimagining Strategy: Applying Design Thinking to Your Organization. “Design thinking helps us understand what an organization’s customers, employees, and partners need but are not getting—particularly latent needs that are not obvious. Identifying these needs helps companies to innovate and design new products and services that spur growth. In this program, we study techniques for observing these critical unmet needs, identifying pain points, systematic inventive thinking to come up with new ideas, and prototyping strategies that have the power to move the needle for an organization.” 

The program curriculum provides senior leaders with a sophisticated understanding of design thinking and its applications for business strategy. Participants will work in small teams, interacting with faculty and fellow executives to identify their challenge, ideate solutions, and develop prototypes to bring back to their organizations. Three to four months after the program, a virtual check-in led by HBS faculty will provide participants with an opportunity to reconnect, share updates on their strategic challenge, and troubleshoot issues.

“While we value the predominant paradigm of left-brain strategizing, this program also emphasizes the role of creativity in strategy,” said Cynthia A. Montgomery, Timken Professor of Business Administration and faculty cochair of Reimagining Strategy: Applying Design Thinking to Your Organization. “When leaders only focus on the former, their organizations tend to get stuck with a strategy built for the past rather than today’s environment. We hope to give busy executives an opportunity to pause, see their challenges with fresh eyes, and gain the inspiration and tools they need to revitalize their strategy.”

Reimagining Strategy: Applying Design Thinking to Your Organization is designed for C-level leaders and other senior executives who play a key role in the formulation and execution of strategy within their organizations. Program participants will represent a broad range of industries, geographic regions, and areas of expertise to create a dynamic learning environment. Executive teams are encouraged to apply. 

As with other HBS Executive Education offerings, Reimagining Strategy: Applying Design Thinking to Your Organization will rely on research from leading HBS faculty, collaboration with industry peers, and learnings from real-world case studies from successful, innovative global companies.  

For more information, please contact: 
Jim Aisnerjaisner@hbs.edu, +1-617-495-6157

Program Details: 
Reimagining Strategy: Applying Design Thinking to Your Organization will take place from February 11–14, 2018 on the Harvard Business School campus. Please visit https://www.exed.hbs.edu/programs/rs/for complete curriculum and to apply.

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