Innovating design management education

Next month the Universities Act of the Finnish Aalto University will come into effect, which was approved by the Parliament a month ago. According to the new law, the Aalto university will become effective in January 2010 and this is an important step for the new institution which is a merger of three established finnish universities: Helsinki’s School of Economics (HSE), University of Art and Design Helsinki (TaiK), and University of Technology (TKK). The three universities are already cooperating for the International Design Business Management Programme (IDBM) since 13 years. IDBM aims to bring together experts in different fields within the concept of design business management.

The new innovation university brings the concept of the IDBM program further and plans to be the leading university in certain research areas (i.e. design management) in 2020. The institution plans a 50 graduate master course in design management, an extensive research portfolio in innovation and strategic management of design and a 4-years doctoral program starting in 2011.

I am very pleased with this development, which goes beyond the MBA programms that are currently developed mostly by management universities (e.g. Rotman School of Management, Wharton University of Pennsylvania and MIT Sloan Executive Education). Design universities have to be conscious to not drop behind the management schools in leading the education in the intersection of design, innovation and business. The article “Finland – world´s innovation hot spot” in the Harvard Business Review shows the interest of business leaders as well and I hope to see similar concepts in the future also in other countries.