October 12, 2021

Tisch Center Course Spotlight: Design Thinking and Innovation

Design Thinking and Innovation is a new core course in MS in Global Hospitality Management and the MS in Travel and Tourism Management. Professor Elizabeth Haas, the instructor, tells us more about her background and the course in this post.

What is your background?

In my career, I accrued over 35 years of experience as a management advisor in a multitude of private and public sectors. I was one of the first female partners at McKinsey & Company and am the founder of New York Consulting Partners (now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers). In my work, I apply my skills and experience to advising leadership (often using design thinking), while teaching at NYU’s Jonathan M Tisch Center of Hospitality and the Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport. My NYU responsibilities include co-leading the research and consulting partnership with the Conference of Mayors and vice-chairing the Faculty Council.  

At the Tisch Center, you teach the Design Thinking course. What are the objectives of the course?

This course prepares students to deliver value, through their contributions to the hospitality profession, the world, and their personal lives. These contributions are guided by:

  • Mindset: A mental model to approach and solve problems regardless of size, shape, or complexity

  • Experience: Immersion in a problem space that requires each student to think through and around pain points and opportunity areas to deliver novel solutions and innovations

  • Capability: A creative muscle that has been exercised and has a sustainable advantage on a range of challenges – from professional to personal, and from local to global

Why is this an important and interesting subject area in our fields?

Design thinking is an incredibly powerful mindset to problem solving/strategic opportunity defining.   With the shifts in hospitality – from a technological and a sustainability perspective, as well as the shifting demographic and global needs, the opportunities are great.   This is an ideal time to bring a design thinking mindset to our industry.

 What impact do you hope to have on your students through this course?

This course will instill an ability in students to apply Design Thinking principles to every problem they face as soon as the course concludes. It will teach them where, when, and how to use Design Thinking and supporting tools such that the model becomes second nature in their daily lives. Finally, the course offers students the opportunity to identify and solve a problem that matters to the them and to the world.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Design thinking is a rich dynamic interplay between two schools of thought:  Analytic thinking, which harnesses deductive and inductive reasoning to declare truths and certainties about the world with mastery of rigorous analytic processes; and Innovative thinking, which is the world of intuition and originality.  Design thinking enables movement along the knowledge funnel, and the individuals that master it will provide real value to our industry.

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