Design thinking for innovation, a product of the longest-running study abroad program at USU, received approval by the Board of Trustees on Friday to become one of two new certificate programs offered by the university.”This is a very exciting program that brings together two of our academic units on campus,” said USU Provost Raymond Coward, “the Caine College of the Arts and the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.”Professor Bob Winward of the Caine College of the Arts developed a successful study abroad program that focused on graphic design, said business professor Chris Fawson. The program – now in its 10th year – inspired a more creative approach to the business end of product design and marketing.Leysin, Switzerland, provides the setting for the five-week program which is a “buffet” of courses, said art major Jeremy Wilkins, that focus on concepts including human-centered design. He said this method focuses on designing things with the user in mind.”Last year we piloted the notion of changing the focus to more design thinking,” Fawson said, “which is really a mash-up between business methods and processes with the processes of creativity and innovation that are embedded in the way a designer approaches challenges.”Design thinking is simply a way of approaching various business-related problem solving situations in a way that will make professionals more proficient, said Chris Terry, professor in the Caine College of the Arts. The certificate will verify on paper that students completed the program, he said. He said it’s the course of study that will enable them to be more innovative.Wilkins was one of several art students who attended the pilot program last year. Fawson said this year the roster is already full with 20 art and 20 business students waiting their turn to board a plane to Switzerland. He said last year all of the students who went gave positive feedback.
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