Key Skills: design thinking, systems thinking, qualitative research methods, rapid-prototyping tools, rapid-prototyping methods, teamwork, growth mindset, self-assessment
Description: As the first course in the Online MBA program, Renaissance Manager serves as an introduction to the key systems thinking and design thinking methodologies that will guide students throughout their time at William & Mary. During this class, students will select the “wicked problem”—a complexly structured problem for which there is no definitive solution and little agreement as to how to solve it—with which they will engage constantly in the remainder of the program. They will then begin to develop the management and problem-solving mindset that will help them build an effective strategy for tackling their wicked problem through a collaborative, design-driven approach.
The Renaissance Manager course begins with an overview of the shifting landscape of 21st century business, with a focus on the kinds of problems that may emerge during a time of paradigm shift. It then introduces the design-thinking mindset and the rapid-prototyping tools and methods that enable this mindset, asking students to work in groups and utilize qualitative research methods to propose human-centered solutions to design problems. It continues to stress teamwork through a longer exercise in which students are tasked with thinking in systems to develop solutions to an exemplary “wicked” social problem and are challenged to productively critique each other’s methods and outcomes. Finally, the Renaissance Manager course concludes by emphasizing the growth mindset and constructive self-assessment necessary for a broadly effective management mindset in the 21st century.