March 12, 2019Print | PDF
According to a recent report by Deloitte, “advanced technologies are driving disruptive innovation that will bring significant, permanent change to Canada’s business landscape.”
Its authors tracked five specific technologies that have “tremendous potential to wreak havoc on businesses across the country. Those include:
The study surveyed more than 700 business leaders across the country and determined the concrete steps they can take improve their capacity to “anticipate, respond and capitalize on the disruptive forces already underway.”
The key to finding a path to success in the age of disruption will depend on your mastery of three things – data literacy, innovation management and design thinking.
"Take computers for example. 30 years ago, we used computers, now we use computers to use the world."
It is these three skills that are the pillars of the Executive Master’s in Technology Management (EMTM) program at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. Part of the program is delivered in California’s Silicon Valley and immerses learners in the foundations of design thinking. This annual residency to UC Berkeley and Stanford’s d.school is built into the EMTM curriculum as a way to expose learners to the universe of applications available to those in the tech sector who are capable of design thinking.
“The Silicon Valley residency is a critical component of the EMTM experience,” says Executive Director, Hamid Noori. “During this week, our learners are exposed to a new way of thinking in an environment that fully embraces innovation and creativity in a way that is centred around designing thinking and innovation management.”
At the core of design thinking is the process of applying different frameworks to a problem in order to determine if you’re even defining the right questions, let alone the right solution.
Prof. Sara Beckman at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business led the EMTM cohort through an intensive conceptual journey into the design thinking process before providing them with the opportunity and tools to apply it to specific problems they had at their organizations.
“Design thinking is a complex process that trains you not to solve the problem but to define it, and through defining it, finding new ways to solve it that may not have occurred to you before.”
The EMTM cohort also had the benefit of learning from Prof. Michael Barry, a leading expert in Needfinding and Cross Cultural Design at Stanford University’s d.school.
“Once you’re defined the problem, what comes next?” asks Barry. “A problem is seldom self-contained, so by creating a system of needs we can create an interconnected hierarchy that leads to many possible outcomes. Once this is done, you can then ask ‘why’ to make sure all your systems are interacting effectively.”
As the world grows more interconnected, the complexity brought on by convergence and emergence can paralyze decision-makers who are used to more analog ways of thinking.
“Take computers for example,” says Barry. “30 years ago, we used computers, now we use computers to use the world.”
The value of this kind of hands-on, applied learning was not lost on the EMTM cohort who came back to Canada with news tools at their disposal to define and solve problems.
“One of the reasons I was attracted to the EMTM program was its focus on innovation as a discipline…after a week of residency at Berkeley and Stanford, I can say this experience has met and surpassed my goals,” says EMTM 2019 cohort member, Dean Pacey.
If the Deloitte report on the need for Canadian companies to embrace innovation is to be believed, there is no shortage of opportunities for advancement by those who have used design thinking to change the way they think.
The Executive Master’s in Technology Management program is an 11-month Master’s of Science degree designed for working and aspiring executives who want to harness technological advances within their industry. We are currently accepting applications for our Sept. 2019 start date and encourage you to contact Jenny Adamthwaite at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.