Design Thinking is a Year 1 fundamental course of our Global BBA curriculum, laid out to provide students with an understanding of this concept as a methodology for creativity and to adopt an innovative and customer-centric mindset.
Taught by Prof. Goi Hoe Chin of NUCB Business School (our Graduate School of Management), students experienced Design Thinking through famous cases of companies that deploy this method, such as IDEO or Apple, and ultimately engaged in a group project throughout the course. For this year’s edition, we worked with Mr. Yasuo Nishikawa of Nagoya City’s Togokusan Fruits Park to create digital solutions to promote and market the park to locals and foreigners.
This conceptual and practical methodology is an iterative and human-centered approach that enables us to better understand users, their problems and to build innovative solutions for it.
To summarize, the human-centered approach originates from the first step as we empathize with the users, observing and engaging with them, to understand them better, their experiences, and pain-points. Information and data gathered here would lead to better define (and redefine) the problem through analysis and synthesis.
From hereafter, ideation techniques are used to think outside the box and to come up with various solutions (divergent thinking) and they will be prototyped in order to be investigated further. As the investigation moves forward, the prototypes will be either accepted, improved or rejected before the final test phase where the solution will be thoroughly tested to be further refined.
The project involves employment of the Design Thinking methodology in collaboration with our stakeholders for a duration of 2 months. About 37 international students from 20 countries participated online to create innovative digital solutions and launch their influencer marketing campaign to promote the Togokusan Fruits Park to community at large.
The project has been supported by our stakeholders: Mr. Yasuo Nishikawa as the Park Manager, Mr. William Romine as the Marketing Consultant, Mr. Kishore Kumar François as the Management Advisor and Mr. Robert Speirs as the Park Ambassador. Both Mr. Romine and Mr. François are MBA students from the NUCB Business School while Mr. Speirs is a current undergraduate student in the Year 3 of our Global BBA program.
The innovative solutions by the students included designing “digital hunt” around the fruits park through stamp collection and virtual reality, creating story telling through fruits and human memories, building relationships between users and park through fruits mascot and icons, marketing fruit park through digital QR codes that also provide detailed information and facts about fruits.
Students felt a strong connection to this project as it provided a non-corporate experience, with everyone drawing on from their experiences and memories of fruits all over the world, as well as botanical gardens in their own countries. This project also enabled the students to connect the Design Thinking methodology and Influencer Marketing.