February 2014 – The International University of Monaco has launched a new course for MBA students dedicated to design thinking for management. Similar to business schools such as Harvard in the US and Rotman in Canada, IUM’s MBA programme has now made “design thinking” a core part of its curriculum.


Design thinking for management pushes the frontiers of strategic decision making, opportunity spotting, and entrepreneurial vision. Rather than competing either along the dimension of “user centred market pull”, or “innovative technology push”, so characteristic of our hypercompetitive business environment, design-driven thinking embraces both dimensions.

The weeklong course at IUM, which begins today on February 17, will cover topics related to design driven innovation and design choices in different managerial contexts. The structure of the course showcases design thinking as a competitive and strategic lever as well as a particular sector – i.e. the design intensive industries. The course will focus in particular on design thinking for management as a new way to formulate managerial issues, and restructure the way vital decisions are made in managerial and entrepreneurial settings.

The course will in particular address:

– Design as competitive weapon

– Main features of design-driven innovation

– Design management: foundations and logics

– Product and service design strategies

– Design for entrepreneurship

– Design thinking: approach and tools

– Business model design.

Exercises, workshops and presentations will be critical activities throughout this course.

IUM’s Monaco MBA students are particularly fortunate to have Dr. Cabirio Cautela, one of the world renowned leaders in the field, as Visiting Professor leading this course. Dr. Cautela, author of numerous articles and books about strategic design and design management, has a PhD in Management, and is Professor of Strategic Design at the Politecnico di Milano. He also consults with companies around the world. The Politecnico di Milano has been one of the forerunners in the area of applying design thinking to management issues.  Dr. Cautela comes to IUM thanks to a special agreement between these two institutions, which involves the exchange of professors, competencies and expertise.

At the end of the course students will be able to re-train themselves to see things differently and to approach both managerial problems and opportunities in the way designers do: starting not from the offering, but from the “meaning” customers seek in offerings. They will learn how to move beyond functions, performance and features, and instead understand the “meanings” users give to products and services they use. Research is showing that this ability is the cornerstone for sustainable competitive advantage in a world with ever more demanding customers, and ever more meaningless features and performance built into all offerings,” said Dr. Marika Taishoff, Director of the IUM MBA Programmes.