The ABDC has selected UTS for one of three Innovative Practice Trials that it is co-funding with the federal Workplace Innovation Program to promote management education innovation and ultimately Australia’s productivity.
Associate Dean Postgraduate Programs, Associate Professor Chris Burton, said UTS Business School had embarked on an ambitious program of postgraduate educational reform to produce graduates who are innovative problem solvers. She said the UTS Innovative Practice Trial would involve a two-pronged but complementary approach, developing an Integrated Business Consulting subject in collaboration with Fox Business School (Temple University USA) and testing the application of design-led innovation and entrepreneurship in subject development.
“Building on our existing work with Fox Business School we are investigating a model that challenges the dominance of case studies in management education and extends current concepts of ‘live’ case studies and consultancies with industry,” Associate Professor Burton said. “UTS is uniquely introducing project advisers drawn from industry who guide, mentor and work alongside students to solve a complex problem sourced from industry. While the approach is anchored by an academic, industry advisers act as support resources for students and academics.”
Associate Professor Burton said the second strand of the trial was to develop the prototype u.lab approach to innovation and entrepreneurship as a methodology to inform new postgraduate subjects.
“u.lab is an emerging interdisciplinary framework for innovation projects at UTS that is modelled on initiatives like the d.school at Stanford University,” she said. “The u.lab method aims to teach business students user centred problem solving. While it is experimental, it focuses on the idea that innovation occurs between people, not in isolation. “In that environment students use creative and design thinking to develop solutions for industry, government and social organisations.
“Both approaches we are testing work in tandem with industry and have the potential to disrupt the conventions of how business schools are viewed by industry, the education profession and the community. “In piloting the Integrated Business Consulting subject we will consult with global corporations, start-ups and not-for-profits to identify suitable projects for students and businesses to solve. “Under the guidance of project managers and industry advisers, students will be producing professional quality results of real value to the industry partner.
“The overall objective is to develop students who can think and act innovatively and develop entrepreneurial skills based on a rigorous understanding of the conventions of business practice.” Associate Professor Burton said UTS would work closely with the two other Innovative Practice Trial teams – at Swinburne University and RMIT. “Our projects have clear synergies, for example RMIT is trialling interdisciplinary creative approaches in undergraduate subjects,” Associate Professor Burton said. “The ABDC is looking for the three projects to produce a common outcome – a model for the transformation of management education.”
UTS Business School is due to deliver a report on its trial to the ABDC in the middle of 2013.