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National University of Singapore Business School

Custom Executive Education Case Study

In August 2018, for the second year running, the Royal College of Art hosted a cohort of Executive MBA students from the National University of Singapore Business School for an intensive one-day participatory workshop on ‘Design Thinking’.

Design Thinking workshops at the RCA provide skills and strategies that are essential to the complexities of private and public-sector businesses in the twenty-first century. Design thinking is a people-focused and user-centric approach to innovation that moves away from an ‘expert’ mind-set and differs from traditional management thinking because it is more democratic and participatory.

A group of 44 current Executive MBA students from Asia came to the RCA for this custom executive education workshop, led by Professor Jeremy Myerson. The participants were introduced to the principles of design thinking and real-world applications through which they can address business leadership challenges.

The workshop included an introduction to the core building blocks of design thinking such as empathy, observation, experimentation and visualisation. This was followed by theory frameworks to empower the students to use design thinking as a tool for change and practical exercises to apply the principles to real business challenges. A group task encouraged participants to apply design thinking to scenarios relevant to their own background experiences and context.

The National University of Singapore Business School Executive MBA is ranked among the top 20 global MBA courses. Students are required to have a minimum of eight years’ full-time postgraduate work experience to take part in the programme. The business leaders attending the workshop benefited from the RCA’s human-centred approach to design thinking and left equipped with tools and methods to implement change back in their own organisations.

Professor Jeremy Myerson said: ‘The students from the National University of Singapore are mature, engaged, entrepreneurial and open to the possibilities of Design Thinking. Their projects on finding new ways to address air pollution and traffic gridlock in Asian cities demonstrated a practical grasp. It was a pleasure to work with such a committed group. '

The feedback scores were excellent, with 100 per cent of participants saying they would recommend the course to a friend or colleague. 

Participant comments:

'The course allows me to fully understand design thinking and how to use it in real life. This is a very useful tool.’ 
Zhang Jian, 2018

‘The course allowed me to rethink the past and discover the future and I will use it for running my company.’ 
– Hongshi Li, 2018

‘It is a difficult challenge to introduce the concept of 'design thinking', but the RCA has done a great job.’
– Jui-chuh Yen, 2018

"We benefited from Professor Jeremy Myerson's passionate sharing on Design Thinking. The class enjoyed this fresh perspective and learnt a great deal from the insightful dialogue." Li Yuan

Assistant Manager, Programme Management (EMBA-Chinese), NUS Business School