Business Design: A Human Centered Approach to Problem Solving

Stephanie Grimbly is a current Rotman Morning MBA student. In this 2-part blog series, she shares her experiences in the Business Design Accelerator Series at Rotman.

Stephanie Grimbly, Rotman MBA '19

Stephanie Grimbly, MBA ’19, Channel Account Manager, Avaya

After many months contemplating exactly what it was that I was looking for in an MBA program I had an “ah-ha” moment when I discovered Rotman’s Business Design major. The concept of Business Design checked a lot of boxes for me in terms of the kind of work I wanted to get involved in – creative problem solving of complex issues – and therefore the kind of knowledge and skills I wanted to bone-up on via an MBA. I already knew I enjoyed the process of brainstorming and “ideation”.

Now two semesters into the program, I’m very pleased to report that my expectations of what the Rotman Morning MBA program would offer have been exceeded. My favorite aspect of the program is The Business Design Accelerator Series offered by Rotman’s DesignWorks.

Rotman DesignWorks


Designed for, and offered to MBA candidates who work full-time, the Business Design Accelerator Series is exactly the kind of extra-curricular opportunity an MBA student hopes to take advantage of while in school.


This six-part series is a step-by-step introduction to Business Design principles and tools (quite literally the building blocks of the problem-solving framework I was looking for!) The idea behind the series is that participants walk away with a better understanding of what Business Design is, and the value it can offer any professional looking to get creative and innovate at work. The absolute best part of this series is that, as working professionals, participants can immediately apply some of these principles and tools to the work they do today.


One of the primary reasons I decided to do a part-time MBA instead of full-time was I valued the opportunity to immediately apply what I was learning at school in my full-time job.


And this is exactly my intention for the strategies, exercises and protocols introduced during the Accelerator Series – to apply them in my current job!

Regardless of role, responsibilities or industry, Business Design Theory is inherently valuable to the individuals and teams who leverage it because it is a multi-dimensional problem solving methodology. When the problem is too complex, unprecedented or is actually the amalgamation of many smaller, intertwined issues, the most prudent approach to tackling that problem is not with broad strokes in management style, organizational structure, financial finessing or economic intervention – at least not right away. Instead, it begins with a thorough investigation into the factors that make up the problem, a systematic breakdown of primary factors into the human needs and emotions that perpetuate them followed by rapid iteration of many possible resolutions and, finally, a critical evaluation of each prototype to assess its viability.

The bottom line is that complex, unprecedented problems demand intricate investigation, creative consideration and deliberate solutions.


Stay tuned for part two of Stephanie’s blog posts on the Rotman DesignWorks Business Design Accelerator Series. Interested in exploring the Morning MBA at Rotman? Contact us to learn more!

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