IBM and UT Austin's College of Fine Arts Join Forces to Create a Design Thinking Curriculum to Prepare Students for the Creative Jobs of the Future

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"IBM is committed to preparing students for the careers of the future, including the jobs that will be critical to our future success as a company," said Doug Powell, Distinguished Designer at IBM."We want to help students think critically about problems that matter today, gain experience that will form the foundation of future knowledge, and most importantly, learn how to work collaboratively with people who are different than they are."

Each week students are shuttled from UT to IBM's Austin campus, where they are given actual IBM problems to solve as they partner with IBM project sponsors, in a similar manner that new employees are introduced to the company. Students engage in projects that have unique constraints, far-reaching applications, and require intense collaboration to solve. IBM employee mentors and guest speakers are on-hand to facilitate research and help students wrangle with challenges. At the end of the semester, students will give final group presentations on their project findings, a unique experience to add to their professional portfolios.

"The format of the Radical Collaboration class was particularly exciting. Working with students from different disciplines is something we don't get a lot of exposure to in a typical major-specific course," said Rachel Downs, a senior Management Information Systems major and Marketing minor at UT who is currently enrolled in the course. "Pairing that with a long admiration of IBM, their innovative design studios, and the chance to learn their best practices, I was sold."

"We are thrilled for our students to work directly with IBM designers and learn first-hand about design thinking in a way that is practical and relevant," said Doreen Lorenzo, Assistant Dean of School of Design and Creative Technologies. "Teaching design thinking to undergrads helps better prepare them for the professional world, regardless of major. The IBM course reveals the current shifting academic models and the value of challenging educational conventions. This is precisely why the new School of Design and Creative Technologies was founded."

The School of Design and Creative Technologies (SDCT) plans to host similar collaborations with other organizations and companies as it prepares undergraduate students to learn and execute design thinking, embody entrepreneurship, and collaborate both inside and outside the classroom.


The IBM business model is built to support two principal goals: helping clients succeed in delivering business value by becoming more innovative, efficient and competitive through the use of business insight and information technology (IT) solutions; and, providing long-term value to shareholders. The business model has been developed over time through strategic investments in capabilities and technologies that have the best long-term growth and profitability prospects based on the value they deliver to clients. The company's strategy is to focus on the high-growth, high-value segments of the IT industry. The company's global capabilities include services, software, hardware, fundamental research and financing. The broad mix of businesses and capabilities are combined to provide business insight and solutions for the company's clients.

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