Impact Studio: Translating Research into Practice --- The +Impact Studio teaches interdisciplinary student teams (e.g., MBAs, MSWs, MPH, MEng) how to use scholarly intellectual capital, business acumen and design methodologies to begin to address a wicked problem. Wicked problems are issues with societal import, that are difficult to understand, and are embedded within complex systems; for example, how might the financially precarious or the unbanked accomplish necessary financial transactions in society; how might citizens living with failing infrastructure be better served by municipality; how might we build enterprises that uplift rather than deplete their communities? To begin to address such an issue, teams will be seeded with novel, university-generated intellectual capital (e.g., new insights on FinTech or a machine learning algorithm from Marketing research) that may provide a critical piece of the puzzle to making a sustainable, scalable positive impact. There is a trove of such capital within the University that would otherwise remain disconnected from the pressing problems of our generation. Thus, this course serves as a nexus between this intellectual capital, a wicked problem and design.
In Winter 2022, the Impact Studio course will engage with IT-enabled changes that have transformed the raw materials of enterprise (labor, capital, supplies, distribution) and what that means for the company's stakeholders. Using the tools of design, we will prototype new forms of enterprise in an industry undergoing radical change around the globe right now: restaurants. Covid rapidly accelerated changes already underway, from a shift toward ghost kitchens and delivery by "contractors" to the use of QR codes in place of human servers. How might we use these same technologies to create equitable enterprises that provide a living wage and promote community?
The full design process will be covered in the Winter '21 term. As of this academic year, the Fall and Winter offerings of BA670 are no longer different, no longer focused on just one half of the design process. For a description of recent projects see: https://michiganross.umich.edu/news/award-winning-ross-course-showcases-impactful-prototypes-build-back-better