Redesigning Education

How can higher education curriculum evolve to better meet the needs of graduates and industry alike? 

Last month, Universities Australia shared a report highlighting continued demand for higher education, an industry worth $140Bn a year that sees 1.3 million students enrolled in Australian higher education institutions. As labour markets become increasingly competitive and challenging, this led us to think about the preparedness of graduates and how schools can better equip students to dive into a world of rapid industry shifts.

Recognising this need, The University of Technology Sydney developed the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII), an undergraduate programme, which focuses on the value that transdisciplinary thinking can bring diverse perspectives to a wider range of problems.  

BCII is open to students from all traditional (& non-traditional) core degrees for example, Arts, Engineering, Business, resulting in a cohort from varying backgrounds, which in turn creates a rich and diverse community of thinkers. The degree helps students explore uncertainty and complexity with the guidance of multidisciplinary staff and industry partners, who engage with the programme by providing real life briefs and problems; including a capstone project that explores how innovation currently exists and where/how boundaries in industry can be pushed and challenged.

Further abroad, INSEAD – one of the world’s leading graduate business schools formed a partnership with the Art Center College of Design, a global leader in art and design education. This partnership, now in its 12th year, sees students at the Art Center take part in an exchange program, spending a term abroad in one of INSEAD’s campuses in France or Singapore. Design students engage with MBA candidates, sharing knowledge from each other’s respective disciplines to merge design innovation with business strategy on a range of entrepreneurial projects.

To further encourage creativity and diverse thinking, INSEAD recently partnered with experience design firm Eight Inc. (the company also behind Apple, Tesla and Nike store designs) to open the Creative Garage: a 1,400 square foot space open to all students, alumni and friends of INSEAD to exchange ideas and foster new ways to learn.

So What?

We are in a world of accelerated industry evolution that sees new product offerings and product innovation increasingly at the centre of business strategy. Against this backdrop, traditional approaches to education on a standalone basis are only partially effective and there is a growing need for collaborations with industry partners to foster a consumer lens to business problems. With this in mind, what other ways can the intersection of design and business enhance our lines of enquiry and understanding, beyond education?