MFBS-520: Design Thinking for Food

Credits 3
Transforming the food system requires more than just passion and intent. Innovators need to move quickly from idea to plan to action-and do so with rigor, empathy, and effectiveness. By embracing a process that calls on collaboration, negotiation, and inquiry-based engagements with a diverse group of stakeholders, students in this course will learn to listen empathetically and act deliberately. These complementary skill sets are the hallmarks of design thinking, and this course is vital in strengthening visioning, planning, and execution capabilities, as students seek to create a positive impact at the intersection of food and health. In this fifteen-week online course, students will have the opportunity to work on a strategic sequence of design thinking challenges that will help them to solve complex and ambiguous problems. These skills will be applied to business concepts as students identify, develop, and test assumptions through the completion of a series of exercises that are designed to engage new ways of thinking, working, and learning. Individuals will partner with peers, faculty, and mentors in rigorous conversations and practice sessions that prepare them to apply design thinking methodology in diverse ways. Students will work individually, while sharing their projects in team-based forums, as prototypes are developed using design thinking methods. A process of rapid iteration will be used to modify concepts, and lean methodology will be used to engage in customer interviews and develop a minimum viable product. Students will also gain early practice in pitching a concept based on what they've learned.
Prerequisites
Orientation and Cohort Formation (MFBS-501A), Science of Food Systems (MFBS-510), and Ethical Leadership in the Food Business (MFBS-530).
Corequisites
Business Fundamentals (MFBS-500).