|Disney's Beauty and the Beast|
If you've been following the media you've probably noticed that news coverage of Design Thinking has taken off. A recent search of Google News returned several stories mentioning organizations from Apple to Whirlpool and fields from Medical to Offshore Oil and Gas turning to Design Thinking to solve all types of "wicked" complex, ambiguous problems and open new markets. With all that hot press, you'd think that the most uniquely American enterprise; Themed Entertainment would take to DT like a duck to water.
|Design Thinkers at Innovation Powerhouse IDEO|
|Six Flags Justice League|
When the US Navy launches an F-18 fighter off an aircraft carrier, there are dozens of young men and women at the ready, making sure everything is good to go before launch. It's a precise dance, choreographed and triple checked to the last detail, which costs millions of dollars per hour. Maybe thats why so many seasoned ride system designers are also veteran aerospace engineers.
|USS John C Stennis Flight Deck Operations|
Which is all the more reason that Design Thinkers are perfectly suited for the Themed attraction industry. They have the analytical skills to build the ride and the emotional skills to know why a ride makes kids laugh and cry.
The good news is, over the past ten years, several colleges and universities have added classes in Design Thinking to their curriculum. Once the exclusive product of Stanford's d.school, classes in DT are now offered at MIT, Smith, Washington University, UVA (Darden) and the University of Minnesota.
|Darden's Jeanne Liedtka|
That being said, many of the courses are hosted by Business schools, but given DT's three point power stance, finding the viable intersection of Business, Humanity and Technology, it may not matter what major your next hire at Disney, Universal, 20th Century Fox, or one of the 150 other member companies of TEA, had as an undergraduate major. Asking what they know about Design Thinking might be a very good interview question.
|Gatekeeper at Cedar Point|