Design thinking and management (Launch Programme Part II)

Written on March 23, 2009 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General

Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture´s professor Brett Steele talking about his experience with IE students


At the other side of London, IE has found another potent partner similarly committed to innovation and disruptive learning. The Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture, Europe’s leading architecture school that has counted Richard Rogers, Rem Koolhaas, and Zaha Hadid amongst its students, has teamed up with IE to develop a design workshop for MBA students. Design thinking and working processes associated with contemporary experimental architecture has become an increasingly powerful tool in management with its strong focus on innovation, creativity, and teamwork. The workshop, part of the Launch module, exposed students to this style of thinking and one of the forgotten parameters in business: the importance of quality work space and its relationship with creativity. Following an introduction to the program and an overview of the convergence of design and management theory by Brett Steele, AA School’s director, IE students designed an office space under the guidance of AA tutors. The hands-on workshop fostered creativity and team work as well as sensitize participants to the importance of design – and in particular spatial design – in the world of business. As would be common in an architectural setting, the workshop concluded with a design critique led by AA tutors and faculty of the new IE School of Architecture. “Today’s design and management worlds are intricately linked“, said AA’s Brett Steele. “Bringing MBAs and architects together is immensely enriching for both.”


At the heart of the Bernabeu

Written on March 23, 2009 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General

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Professor Raúl Respaldiza and the students of the Master in Sports Management visit one of the world’s best known sporting venues.

During the first face-to-face period in February 2009 in Madrid, the students of the Master in Sports Management and Professor Raúl Respaldiza had the opportunity of visiting the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. As part of the “Sports Facilities and Property Business” class, students and the manager of the facility analyzed the key success factors for the successful management of this large “multi-use venue”. It was not only soccer fans who were impressed with the professionalism
and range of facilities, as one of the students mentioned: “An amazing experience. It was an excellent field study of sporting facilities (and other MSM topics).”

Within the same module the students also visited the Telefónica Arena Madrid, another sports facility which is part of Madrid’s 2016 Olympic bid.

These visits are just an example of the IE learning experience, where learning goes beyond classroom education.


David Bach, Associate Dean of MBA programs talking about the new LAUNCH module (Learning, Awareness, Understanding, Networking, Communication, Humanities)


IE’s new MBA curriculum, launched this November, includes a number of exciting innovations. As part of a two-week, interdisciplinary module at the start of the program aimed to develop skills in communication, leadership, critical thinking, and creativity, participants will work with actors and coaches from Shakespeare’s Globe and tutors from the Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture in London.

Shakespeare’s Globe, the world-renowned institution dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare’s work through education and performance, had designed a half-day workshop in which IE’s MBAs were trained in voice, presence, body language, and improvisation techniques by the Globe’s top practitioners. The workshop, held at IE’s newly-acquired Segovia campus in a 15th century monastery, was highly interactive and aimed to take students out of their comfort zone. “We wanted to break out of the mold of ‘7 words per bullet, 7 bullets per slide’-type of communications workshops,” explains David Bach. “Working with the Globe’s internationally acclaimed actors and trainers is a real privilege. “For the Globe it was the first participation in a top MBA program: “Drama was used at schools in the 16th century to help develop the students’ rhetoric and confidence for their future political or business careers. Perhaps if Polonius had acted more than ‘once’ at the university or had had better training, he wouldn’t have got stabbed behind the arras” said Patrick Spottiswoode, Director of Education at the Globe.

Regarding the entire two-week module of workshops and activities, David Bach, notes that “what we are doing is soft skills 2.0 – challenge participants on the personal level and help them develop into multi-faceted and well-rounded cosmopolitan leaders. Each year our MBA students are better prepared and more impressive, so it’s imperative to venture beyond the field of management to really help them flourish. The arts and humanities offer tremendously fruitful terrain in this respect.”


The Wiki Experience

Written on February 10, 2009 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General

Professor Vanina Farber uses a wiki in the Economic Environment class

Let´s refer to the most well known encyclopedia: Wikipedia: “A wiki is a page or collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. “Wiki” is a Hawaiian word for “fast””Wiki Wiki” is a reduplication.”

This approach is used by Vanina Farber in her class “Economic Environment and Country Analysis” for the International Executive MBA Online. The various work groups had to collaborate with each other, writing and discussing different economic issues about the following 5 countries:Imagen Thumbnail para wiki2.jpg






This was the first time students and a professor have used this collaborative approach to learn from one another. The groups had to edit their own articles and post them on the learning management system. They could also coedit and add new material to the articles of the other groups. In comparison to the more traditional method of writing a report and sending it to only the professor, this approach is much more interactive and socially valuable for both students and professor, as Vanina mentioned::” The basic idea is to build a collaborative workspace to analyze different countries. The material is updated every session with the new material covered in class. Is the perfect tool for collaborative work and asynchronous communication. At the end of the course the students will have a country report as a deliverable of the course where all the concepts learned in class are applied. “

Students enjoyed the new learning experience and learned from each other as it was the first time such a system was implemented in the virtual classroom.


Trapped in the prisoner’s dilemma? Just take a dip in the lake!

Written on January 19, 2009 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General

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The Lake Simulator is used in online and face to face masters by 1500 students in some 40 classes around the world.

“It is much more powerful for students to find themselves trapped inside a collective action problem or prisoners´ dilemma, than to just study the theory behind it.” David Bach.

“The simulation is a great way to help students get into the mindset of thinking about public goods and how we manage them collectively. Each group represents a firm that is pursuing its own objectives, learning how its actions impact on the public good (the lake) and their profits. Students explore the relationship between individual and collective behaviour.” David Bruce Allen.

This is what strategy professors David Bach and David Allen think about the Lake simulation, also called the Uncommon Value simulation. The simulation is presented in a very simple format where students have to manage a common natural resource, “the lake”. Class sections are separated into 8 groups, each taking charge of an industrial plant, and are exposed to the struggle of achieving good business performance whilst maintaining the water quality of the lake, which affects directly the industrial process. It is not only professors that highly value the experience, but also students: “These types of games are very useful because they give us a real view of how things are going to be: although everyone in class knew which the right choice was, no one followed it.”


The enriching experience of attending an industry fair

Written on January 19, 2009 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General, Visits


Marketing Professor Manuel Alonso Coto and students from the Master in Digital Marketing attended AdTech (http://www.ad-tech.com/) in London, the most important digital advertising fair in the world.

The Fair lasted two days and the schedule was tight: two different keynote sessions at a time and several other side workshops overcrowded the event program; meaning many good conferences to attend in the little time available.

As Manuel A. Alonso Coto, Professor of Marketing and Associate Academic Director of Master in Digital Marketing mentions: “We had to do something to foster participation and to maximize the learning experience. We divided the class into two different teams: the agency and the advertiser ones. We read the Adtech program thoroughly and produced a series of questions for each team that required attendance to most of the conferences for them to be properly answered. We then left the students in each group to coordinate themselves, in order to be able to attend all the AdTech sessions they thought were necessary for preparing their report.”

Answers to the proposed questions had to be posted through a Wiki created ad-hoc: http://adtechlondon.wikispaces.com. The students could also feel free to add any info they judged to be of general interest for the rest of the class regarding the sessions they had attended.

The day after AdTech, a class session was held in our headquarters at the Milleniun Hotel in Chelsea to discuss each of the questions and the students’ answers to them. The success of the learning initiative was clear, as one student mentions: “AdTech was a refreshing experience. On the one hand it confirmed that our knowledge, as a result of our studies, was right up there with current industry practices and on the other hand we learned how some of the biggest companies in the world where using digital practices to reach and engage consumers”.


Hunting pig`s noses in Shanghai

Written on December 10, 2008 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General


Gamaliel Martinez, Operations Management Professor and Managing Director of the International Executive MBA Online invites students to get to know the city through an amusing scavenger hunt

During their two-week residential period in Shanghai, students of the International Executive MBA Online Programme acquaint themselves with the city in an unusual way, which aims to help teambuilding:

Gamaliel Martínez provides them with a list of 17 items in the morning. Students have to find these places, perform a particular task and/or take pictures of the different parts of the city:

“We invite the students to complete a list of actions, or ask them to gather information prior to the dinner, on the same day. Most probably they are not going to be able to complete all the activities on the list, but what counts is the Olympic Spirit.”

Some examples of these unusual tasks are:

  • To take a picture of a flying saucer, or something that looks like one.(For instance, the top of the Hotel Radisson)
  • To take a picture of a pig’s nose.
  • To buy the strangest thing you can find (that is not alive).

After an entire day of searching for the different products, photos and experiences, students vote for the winner of the scavenger hunt. As Novel, a student of the program mentions: “It was a great day and it helped a lot to build communication in the new teams.”


Simulations – feeling free to make mistakes in a risk-free “environment”

Written on December 10, 2008 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General

Operations Professors and MBA students use a simulation Global Supply Chain Management session.


The simulation (developed by Enspire Learning and used by Luís Solís, Ángel Díaz, Daisy Escobar, Jesús Morcillo and Daniel Corsten, among others ), is summed up as follows: “The learner’s goal is to manage the successful commercialization of two new products. Learners take control of managing product design, forecasting demand, and allocating production quantities among different suppliers. They balance competing priorities and create a supply chain that is flexible enough to react quickly to shifts in demand. Learners evaluate quantitative and qualitative data presented in dialogues with virtual characters.”

The simulation illustrates key concepts of supply chain management, including:

  • Creating a cost-effective, yet flexible supply chain, that uses domestic and foreign suppliers with different lead times accordingly
  • Building flexibility into the supply chain to avoid stock-outs and excess inventory
  • Evaluating and using demand forecasts correctly

For Daisy Escobar, head of the Operations Managament Department the simulation is “a very effective ‘decision learning’ exercise whereby the students strength their knowledge about supply chain management and gain the skills they need to design and manage supply chains in a global and uncertain market. The students have the chance to make many and diverse decisions on production adopting the systemic view necessary for coordinating and integrating cross-functional processes. I consider this simulation as one of the best complement to a general course of Supply Chain Management. It is definitely a practical, amusing, and stimulating simulation.”


Going Mobile: Podcasting hits IE

Written on November 11, 2008 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General


HR professor Aitor Larrabe uses the first in a series of podcasts with his Executive Master of Human Resource Management class.

In a 15 minute discussion about “How to manage your career in a multinational company” Aitor provides his point of view, based on both academic readings and personal experiences as HR Director. As he commented: “I really enjoyed the new experience and I think this could be an interesting approach for the future of distributing extra documentation to the learner.”

Students have been quick to support and to see the value of the initiative: “I think this has been a great idea, a new distribution format for complementary content of the programme. You have access whenever and wherever you want. I hope this great idea will be wide spreading throughout IE.”

Other episodes of the podcast series have also been produced, as for example two audio lectures from Professor Gayle Allard in the area of Economic Environment “GPD and the Happiness Index” and “The U.S. Dollar”. Those interested in the series just have to subscribe to the Podcast through this link or search for IE Business School in the iTunes Store.


Virtual World Experiences – the stuff of fiction?

Written on November 11, 2008 by uwe.spangler@ie.edu in General


Professor Cristina Simón experiments teaching in Second Life with International MBA students.

Professor Cristina Simón organised a role play in the Managerial Decision Making program. Students adopted roles as a priest, a pregnant woman, a sportsman, a female doctor and a scientist, each fighting for survival after a thermo-nuclear conflict. The characters were locked in a bunker with only enough resources for two survivors. The characters had to decide who would be the unlucky few to leave the bunker and confront death.

A great experience – I was amazed how the second life platform strengthened role-playing.” Similarly students were as receptive to the idea, “I found that I was much more talkative and outgoing in the discussions, probably because I felt completely submerged in the experience.”

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