Innovation and Design

Xinhe Zhang & Wendy Xiao

IMBA Candidates '19


Yale University, one of the famous Ivy League colleges in the U.S, is our base camp for GNAM week of study from Mar 12th to Mar 16th 2018. When we arrived at Yale on Mar 12th, a quite strong academic research atmosphere emitted from each building in the campus impressed us very much, which also conveyed a signal that Global Network Week is approaching. The whole learning session of innovation and design can be divided into several parts: lectures, campus tour & company visit.


On the first day of week, Creativity topic was taught by Jonathan who is the Professor of Economics & Management from Yale School of Management. After three hours interaction learning in the morning, we had a better and more specific understanding on the concept & origin of creativity, creative connections, culture hybridization, and creativity development. Wild ideas are supposed to be the driving force of much creativity.

In the morning on Mar 13th, another interesting topic Reframing the Problem sparks our internal initiative inspiration. All of the students were separated as four big groups to discuss how we can convert a general problem into a much more targeted and practical problem through reframing thinking. In that afternoon, Blockchain which is probably the most popular terminology discussed very often during the past whole year 2017 is introduced to us via an intensive workshop. It gave us a feeling that Blockchain would lead, even dominate the next technology revolutionfor human beings.

Workshop for Presentation Topic 2

On the third day of this week, Lean Design Thinking was the topic which told us to hold an overall judgement no matter what comes up in our mind by drawing the problems, solutions and rewards and also evaluating the feasibility, desirability and variability of each solution.

Campus & Company Visit

On Mar 14th afternoon, we went to the Art Gallery in Yale University which is a great platform for current students, faculties, alumni and the public. Sustainability development and creativity beyond imagination is what I thought of Yale by exploring artwork in the Gallery. The day of Mar 15th is unforgettable, because we spent the whole day discovering innovative companies in New York City. One company is an e-commerce company called Etsy who mainly sells handmade artworks and crafts. True, when it comes to e-commerce platforms, what shows in our mind immediately are Taobao, Amazons, JD, Dangdang, so on and so forth. We've never heard of Etsy before. However, Etsy values art a lot and it has a precise market orientation on customers who love art products. When visiting Etsy, I saw a group of creative people working together and building fertilized soil for invention and innovation.

Another company is a consultancy company who provide ideas to innovative companies called Whatif. During the past few years, it has some influential impact in many powerful companies all over the world like Unilever, Amazons, Citi, Pepsi and so on. It advocates on Bringing ideas to life and 5I principles——Identity, Insight, Ideas, Incubate and Impact. Sometimes, they prefer to enhance skills by providing proposals on diversified industry.

Renmin family at Yale SOM GNW

After visiting these two companies, I finally realized big differences of consultancy work between eastern China and western America. Every idea is brilliant and every company can definitely find its own unique and competitive thoughts.

One week passed so quickly, we even thought the study time for GNW should be extended much longer. However, it is still very grateful for Renmin's Business School giving us this fantastic opportunity to involve in the study with students from many other countries.

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