Parsons Paris

Applying Design Thinking in the Strategic Design and Management program with faculty Maurits Montanez

So what is design thinking and why has it been such a popular topic of conversation in the last 5 years? I sat down with Strategic Design and Management professor, Maruits Montañez to talk about the new creative approach to business and much more. I learned so much about the importance of applying design strategies to business and more complex problems and I hope you all do too!

Maurits is originally from Michoacan, Mexico and has been teaching at Parsons Paris for a year. He is not new to campus however, as he completed his masters in the global executives program. He moved to France 3 years ago as his company MANUVO, began to expand and spread globally. He now spends his time planning classes, teaching major SDM courses and at STATION F, the tech incubator here in Paris.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is adopting the ways of solving a problem from the design world. The same way you would design a building for instance, can be applied to designing systems, processes, mindsets. The methodology is very interdisciplinary and offers various ways to solve a problem.

Why has there been such a demand for it?

Throughout the years, the world has become increasingly global and interconnected. There has been more emphasis on innovation due to the drastic and fast changes the world has endured. These include demographic changes s more people are moving into cities. In turn, this has caused more focus on entrepreneurship and competition.

Why design thinking?

Design thinking is a great response to these changes as it is a human-centered design strategy and therefore it focuses on the customer and the people. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, it is much more effective and dynamic. For instance, if you have a team with an engineer, a businessman and a designer, they each will have a specific way of solving a problem. The engineer will be very technical, whereas the designer will have a more aesthetic point of view and the businessman will only consider profit, management and organisation. However, when these people come together, they can solve the problem in an effective and creative manner.

Strategic Design & Management

How is this applied to Strategic Design and Management here in Paris?

SDM embraces the interdisciplinary nature of design thinking and therefore students learn how to balance management, strategy and design all in one program. Through this major, students acquire a more flexible mindset and master seemingly opposite skills. It is a unique program because it merges a business mindset with a design framework. Before design thinking was popularised these two careers seem separate, SDM is bridging the gap between them.

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