Business of Design

Designers need to understand the fundamentals of business strategies and economic models to engage their profession in a muscular way. This course introduces students to business models for both for-profit and non-profit constructions as well as individual entrepreneurship. The position of ethics and social responsibility will be studied through case studies and discourse. The rapidly changing landscape of intellectual property - from patent and copyright to open source - will be examined. Students will create speculative business models focused on how they may manifest their professional design goals.

This course teaches design students essential business concepts and skills in a relevant and understandable manner. Using a combination of theory, discussion and "hands-on" approaches, we teach students to create sustainable, realistic business models. We explore the role of ethics and social responsibility, along with traditional management functions of marketing, sales, operations and financial management. Students form partnerships to identify and refine an idea for a new business, then create a business plan to deliver that idea. Final presentations are made to a panel of leading designers, VCs and business execs. Students who successfully complete this course will be more capable advocates for design because they will understand how business works and where they can have the most impact within a company, an organization or a community.