Shaping a Creative Future: A Conversation on Sustainability and Innovation

Recent Yale School of Management graduate, Alex Bigler '17, shares her perspective on her experiences during two conferences in Milan, Italy this past March held jointly by The Prada Group, Yale School of Management, and Politecnico di Milano School of Management.

July 20, 2017

This past March, I gleefully found myself walking the runway at Prada Headquarters in Milan. No, I was not making my modeling debut (I lack the stature for that) but was instead participating in Sharing A Creative Future, a conference organized by The Prada Group, Yale SOM, and Politecnico di Milano School of Management that explored the forward looking role of creativity and innovation in business and academia. 

As part of Professor Jessica Helfand’s Design Practicum course at SOM, my classmates and I spent the spring semester studying the DNA of The Prada Group and working with global teams of design students to envision what the Prada store of the future might look like. The unique challenge for the project was that instead of leading with a business plan, the proposals were completely design led – an experimental process questioning whether reverse-engineered briefs could be viable.  Our teams met in person for the first time in Milan, where we had three hours to finalize our proposals and present them; the results were compelling, and emphasized the possibilities of design led business.

The following day, students and professionals convened for the culmination of the conference: a series of conversations with industry experts (including SOM professors Ravi Dhar, Jessica Helfand, William Goetzman, and Jonathan Feinstein) that spanned topics like sustainability and fostering creative excellence. The opportunity to hear these thoughtful and diverse perspectives was invaluable and the message was clear – the element of creativity is the common thread critical for all fields in the building of a lasting future. This made an impression on me, and I am excited to continue fostering this as I leave Yale. I am incredibly grateful to SOM for allowing me the opportunity to participate in such an experience – even if my modeling career didn’t pan out this time around!

Click here to view the conference website which includes videos and photos taken by the Prada Group.

See our photos below from the exciting and innovative conferences!

Jessica Helfand, Lecturer in Design and Management, gave an overview and presented a video compliation of the highlights from the student workshop held jointly with Yale School of Management, Politecnico de Milano School of Design, and University of Hertfordshire School of Design and Architecture.
 
Ravi Dhar, George Rogers Clark Professor of Management and Marketing & Director of the Center for Customer Insights, gave the keynote speech on brand heritage.
William N. Goetzmann, Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies & Director of the International Center for Finance, was part of a panel that discussed how organizations can encourage and sustain the creativity and creative process within company organization and business restrictions.

About the author

Alex Bigler