TEACHING BUSINESS AS DESIGN:
BUILDING A "BUSINESS MODEL DESIGN" COURSE
This paper reviews experiences, perspectives gained and lessons learned in developing and teaching a "Business Model Design" course as part of an interdisciplinary university curriculum over a period of 2 years. This new course treats businesses as designed systems, subject to standard user-centered and iterative design methodologies, and it's part of a five-course sequential core curriculum for business, design and engineering students which won the Core77 award for educational initiatives in 2012.
The development and teaching team, as well as the students, are interdisciplinary, so differing perspectives of faculty and discipline-specific pedagogical traditions in developing the course had to be integrated. Business faculty, for instance, were used to offering non-sequential courses, so the idea and advantages of a sequential core curriculum had to be explained and demonstrated. Business and engineering teaching also tends to focus on "content" rather than process, and the ideas that the Business Models course might focus on a semester-long project, or use class time for team meetings while assigning lectures as homework, were surprisingly controversial.