Learn how to design better futures but at the very

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learn how to design better futures! but at the very same time it says, Designing never ends, it s practically impossible to agree what constitutes better, and the future is, by definition, unknown. And yet it is essential to try. A Curriculum for Designing Better Futures In terms of pedagogy, the M(B)A looks rather more like a course in a design school than one in a management school, even when it is teaching organization and management theory. The tradition of case-based teaching at leading business schools gives students a sense that with the right concepts and tools they can go out and refashion the world, or at least bits of it, although their conclusions are never tested during their education. Cases offer a constrained view of the world in which much of the
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messiness is taken away. Further, they privilege the student as knowledgeable actor. Students are asked to consider What would I do in this situation? reinforcing an identity of the manager as rational being, somewhat at odds with theoretical traditions in organization studies that emphasize deterministic ecological and institutional factors (for example, Astley and Van de Ven 1983) and without committing students to action or seeing the consequences of their decisions. Manifesto for Designing Bett er Futures 169 In contrast, influenced by calls for changes to management education to enable students to try out what they are learning away from the lecture theatre (for example, Gosling and Mintzberg 2006; Datar et al. 2010), this course will force students over two years to research, develop, test and iterate ideas by designing interventions into projects and organizations at different scales, from international policy to cities to the home, resulting in designs for future practices in the form of new policies, processes, organizations or other kinds of arrangement. Combining studio work and desk- based learning with research and practice outside of the academy, the course will create opportunities for students to learn by engaging with people, artefacts and structures in formal and informal projects and organizations. Conceiving of this as a design practice, students will come to think of their activities as enquiries into futures that serve to shape them, emphasizing social, cultural, political and ethical matters played out in the world. Depending on the learning goal of a particular part of the course, students will produce presentations, written and illustrated reports, sketches or prototypes and supporting research materials, but also fiction, performance, film or animation and web resources. Their work will be assessed by stakeholders of the organizations with whom they engage as well as their peers and teachers. Part of the assessment will be deferred because the impact of the students activities may not be clear until some time after their designs have been introduced, adopted, adapted or ignored.
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