Why Design Thinking in IT Business Management Program?: An Exploratory Study on Students' Design Thinking Learning Experience

Why Design Thinking in IT Business Management Program?: An Exploratory Study on Students' Design Thinking Learning Experience

Vijayakumar Bharathi S. (Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology (SCIT), Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Pune, India) and Mandaar Pande (Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology (SCIT), Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Pune, India)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTE.2019100106

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to explain the goals and process of administering a design thinking course in management education with particular reference to MBA-Information Technology Business Management (ITBM) stream. The study is unique and contributes to the existing body of knowledge in two significant ways. First, from a qualitative perspective, it presents a detailed narration about the planning and execution of the design thinking course to techno-management students which is a rare find in the existing literature. Second, from a quantitative perspective, the design thinking learning experiences from multiple dimensions are presented through an empirical study administered to the students. We applied exploratory factor analysis to identify certain key influencers (constructs) for learning design thinking, namely adoption willingness, empathy, collaboration, ideation, holistic learning and problem-solving.
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1. Introduction

Design Thinking as a tool for creativity, innovation and a human-centered approach to problem-solving, has a broad spectrum of applications to industry, research and academics (Brown and Wyatt, 2010; Meinel and Leifer, 2010). Design Thinking is the process of raising several questions, brainstorming to identify the most appropriate ones towards innovation (Wylant, 2006). Design Thinking as a practical toolkit for innovation was examined by Tschimmel, (2012). Teaching-learning experience in business schools need a broader, focused approach and should blend both problem-solving and humanistic skills. The social, emotional and cognitive intelligence competencies need to be brought out (Dunne and Martin, 2006; Boyatzis, and Saatcioglu, 2008; Bharathi and Joseph, 2017), to prepare students for addressing business solutions in the current digital era. Globalization of business has impacted internationalization of management education to a great extent (Altbach and Knight, 2007). However, the current teaching-learning pedagogies of business schools have been critically deliberated primarily due to the varying degrees of industry relevance, the widening gap between theory and practice, resulting in career on-boarding delays (Bennis and O’Toole, 2005; Mintzberg, 2004; Pfeffer & Fong 2004; Gaikwad and Bharathi, 2018). Business Management education should target development of competencies than just skill development, to enhance the employability and sustaining the students’ capabilities in the career life cycle (Azevedo et al., 2012). Information Technology brings in higher degrees of pedagogical flexibility in both teaching and learning (Ladyshewsky, and Taplin, 2013).

We draw research motivation of this study from the fact that there are numerous research interests and avenues for exploring innovative teaching-learning methods, to enhance students’ engagement and thought processes. In the recent past Design Thinking has been exciting not only in industry but also in academia to explore creative ways of learning and problem-solving.

Keeping the above perspectives in mind, we focus on the following research questions (RQ):

  • RQ1: “How can we teach Design Thinking to techno-management MBA students?”

  • RQ2: “What drives students to learn Design Thinking?”

Based on the research questions stated above, we define the objectives of this paper as follows:

  • To narrate the conduct of a Design Thinking course in a techno-managerial MBA program.

This objective is accomplished by defining the end-to-end process of planning the Design Thinking course in the techno-managerial MBA program, explaining each step of the Design Thinking process in detail and illustrating the relevance of unique activities in each phase of the Design Thinking process.

  • To explore and analyze key impact factors that drive students to learn Design Thinking course.

This objective is accomplished by conducting an empirical survey of the students’ learning experience as an outcome of the Design Thinking course.

The techno-managerial MBA is offered by sectoral business schools. Unlike general business schools (offering specialization in finance, HR, marketing and operations), sectoral business schools offer MBA programs which fulfill talent requirements of specific industry domains including Information Technology, Hospitality, Telecom, Healthcare and so on.

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