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Club Spotlight: Design & Innovation

Each month the MBA Blog will take a closer look at one of Yale SOM's 40+ student clubs. Clubs are an integral part of student life at the school, providing forums for discussion, opportunities for leadership, and fostering business skills through workshops, conferences, and consulting engagements.

Design & Innovation Club


Alex Apostolopoulos ’15, Rebecca Blum ’15, Michael Buzzard ’15, Benjamin Freedman ’15, Emily Harris ’15, Eric Rucker ’15

About the Club

The Yale SOM Design & Innovation Club (D&I) is a student-led organization and one of the largest clubs on campus. The club organizes weekly meetings, monthly speaker events, quarterly workshops, and an annual Innovation Summit. D&I complements SOM’s integrated curriculum through student-led curricular offerings, including: human-centered design, visual thinking, recruiting tools and strategies, storytelling, business model design, portfolio development, and ideation facilitation. The club also offers students hands-on learning through workshops and creative sessions that give students the chance to practice essential skills — and access to leading consultancies and clients. The MBA Innovation Summit (MBAIS), which D&I organizes with its MBA counterparts at Columbia Business School and the Wharton School, is a key opportunity for business students to learn from one another, from companies, and from clients about the latest ideas in the field.

Through the club, students learn human-centered design: an approach, mindset, and process that maintains that the end-user’s experience must always come first. They learn to ideate, empathize, and ask thoughtful questions. They practice telling compelling stories and becoming indispensable facilitators. Then they have the chance to practice these new skills with top firms and clients in hands-on, full-day workshops and at the annual Innovation Summit.

Club Events

Club Curriculum: The club designs and teaches sessions on Information Graphics, User Experience/User Interface, Business Model Design, Brand Design, Storytelling, Sketching, Rapid Prototyping/3D Printing, and Universal Design. 
Events & Speakers: The club bringshigh-profile speakers from public, social, and nonprofit sectors. Recent topics and speakers include “Designing for the Developing World,” PepsiCo, Starbucks, “Design Speak for MBAs” Panel (IDEO, Fahrenheit212, frog, ?WhatIf! Innovation Partners, Smart Design), Bruce Mau Design, Extreme by Design film screening, Urban Think Tank, Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH).
Workshops & Collaborations: Quarterly workshops with leading consultancies and clients and ideation facilitation training for 2nd years offer hands-on learning opportunities. 2013/14 collaborators included: Yale Center for Engineering Innovation & Design[s1] , Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Science[s2] , AfterViolet, Ziba, SY/Partners, The Epic Decade, ?WhatIf! Innovation Partners, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center.
MBA Innovation Summit: The annual Innovation Summit, now in its third year, brings together practitioners, clients, and MBA students for a full day of panels.
Careers: The club organizes an annual job trek to San Francisco, hosts student career panels, and will be adding in NYC studio visits this year – expanding students’ understanding of how they can incorporate innovation into their careers. 

What Club Members Have to Say:

It lends dimension to what we're doing at school, exercising new and different ways of thinking than we're traditionally doing in classes. It accounts for the diversity of the Yale SOM community. – Joan Kim ’15

Innovation is hot these days and D&I helps you get beyond the buzz words...Deviation is standard in the D&I club. What other club encourages you write on the walls or color outsides the lines? – Evan Colton ’15 

D&I is emblematic of SOM and what SOM wants to be and should be - creative, holistic, and multi-disciplinary. – Charlotte Wong ’15

Related stories

Design & Innovation Club Introduces Students to Growing Field via Yale SOM news
MBA Innovation Summit: Students Exploring the Intersection of Innovation and Business via MBA Blog
Video: Workshop Turns Design Lens on Students' Careers via Yale SOM News
Students Share Insights from Innovation Internships via MBA Blog