Tina Dhingra on MA Innovation Management.

Posted on September 18, 2010


Photo Credit: William Luken

Tina Dhingra, a student at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London, talks about Innovation Management.

MAIM is all about bringing together open-minded individuals from a range of academic and professional backgrounds to encourage creative collaboration in pursuit of innovation. The focus of the course is to develop managers, leaders, producers – those who take the initiative and proactive approach to developing strategic approaches to develop innovative business and public sector opportunities.

The Design Critic: What should prospective students expect from this course?
Expect the unexpected in this course. It’s not just all about what you know but expanding the kind of design thinking you could achieve with the collaborations in this kind of (multi-disciplinary) class. I’ve worked on several briefs with people who have backgrounds in architecture, finance/business, advertising, graphic design or industrial design. It really is a melting pot of smart and fresh ideas and culture.

TDC: How does the design process of a MAIM project differ from typical design projects?
Tina: First off, the design process is so unique in MAIM because of the diversity of academic and cultural backgrounds. Students come from India, China, Japan, America, Wales, Malaysia, Thailand, Mexico, Germany, Sweden. In addition to that, MAIM students have real-world experience after their bachelors degree. When working in a team, it’s a great advantage to have team members that not only have the knowledge and ambition to bring innovation and creative design thinking forward, but also have the real-world experience in working with others.

Bringing in anthropology, philosophy and sociology into the design process is very useful, it’s not just about aesthetic design. We go under the surface to understand what the root of the brief is all about, what the problem really is, with the stakeholder in mind. In order to do that, we do have to understand human behavior, by getting out on the field and talking to people, asking them questions and really listening to what they are saying.

A final aspect of this course that differs from any other course is perhaps the sheer fact that it is set at Central Saint Martins. We are able to do projects that complement the kind of energy you get when you walk into an art college. Doing a course that is based around business and social innovation at a prestigious art school with the resources and tutors we have access to just doesn’t compare.

The course (MA Innovation Management) challenges you to think not only outside the box, but also strategically and holistically.

The Design Critic: What are your views on design and innovation?
Tina Dhingra:
I believe designers can do more than what they are currently offering and that there is a huge opportunity for innovation in the current design community’s education landscape. There is a huge opportunity for designers to re-think, re-tool, re-work the way they view themselves and the services they offer in the future world. More than ever, a grounded kind of education and purposeful one is necessary for designers to move forward successfully.

TDC: What are you working on right now?
In the upcoming year, I hope to capture and examine the relationship between designers and sustainability (both as an individual and corporate level). I hope to learn, examine and challenge the core values of what a designer/organization knows now, wants to know, and needs to know in order to be a successful designer or organization in the future years to come.

TDC: What kind of projects do you engage in?
Tina: We finished off the first year with a team presentation where MAIM worked with Central Saint Martin’s Innovation Centre to choose six final degree projects and provided resources and expertise to further develop the commercial potential of their ideas (images here).

Innovation to Industry 2010

Innovation to Industry 2010

Innovation to Industry 2010

These are some of the projects that Tina has worked on:

-Collaboration with the Design Against Crime Research Centre (DACRC) for Audi Design Foundation’s Sustain Our Nation competition. This project’s aim was to understand issues surrounding social innovation and social enterprise and how a creative process can have an impact in these areas. The team I was part of ended up winning in the regional finals. (Read more here).

Urban Green Line

Uncertainty Project, in which each team was able to work on a brief set by an organisation outside of the course, in the pursuit of innovative strategic opportunities. In this project, we were expected to experiment, to understand and test the erosion factors of any outcomes our team produces, to negotiate these failure points and finally to come up with clear strategies in a presentation format to the client.

More info on MA Innovation Management can be found here:
Central Saint Martins MA Innovation blog
Course info

-The Design Critic

About Tina Dhingra:
I am originally from Los Angeles (more precisely Pasadena) California and spent my BA year studying Marketing and Media Studies at Boston’s Emerson College. My past expertise lay in graphic design, advertising, and music branding. I studied in Boston at Emerson College with majors in Marketing & Media Studies, and while studying there I worked at a non-profit radio station where I DJed electronic and ‘world’ music, managed and founded the website (www.wers.org) and staff. During my fourth year at the college I was given a really great opportunity in music branding and programming for the whole station. At this time, I was also still pursuing my goal as a graphic designer, but as I began to manage websites, my interest grew into art direction for the web. Thus, my internship at Y&R. But of course, I didn’t think this was enough! And I found my way in utilizing my resources at the radio station to start music consulting at a fantastic ad agency. Through this experience, I started investigating on my favorite radio DJs and music consultants, whilst still doing freelance graphic design.

So, at the end of my BA career, my interests varied fields.. art direction, music consulting. I ended up choosing music consulting and stayed there for two years before starting my MA at CSM. It was a really fantastic outlet for me to scout out emerging talent in Los Angeles’ music scene to write for commercials and short films. These were not the typical composers, but they were musicians that I would go scout out at shows. It really was a great time and I found myself really loving managing and understanding underground and emerging talent and connecting them to mainstream umbrella.

I decided to come to CSM because towards the end of my time in the music industry, I realized that I was using design thinking in an industry that had a different social agenda than mine. I knew that I was always good at connecting creatives and finding opportunities and I wanted to go one step further than graphic design or music branding. I wanted to design in a socially responsible way. I think the course so far has a great way to better communicate my ideas with strategic purpose. As far as my interests now, they do vary, and perhaps my blog showcases that at http://www.scoutminami.blogspot.com, and will be launching http://plantedlog.wordpress.com, which is a blog that will focus on my research for the upcoming year with MA Innovation Management.