Think NewB+NewD: Understanding the New Zollverein School

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GK VanPatter and Dr. Ralph Bruder, President of the new Zollverein School in Germany discuss the design and construction of the first dedicated design/business graduate school hybrid. While many academic leaders have thought about creating design/business combination programs within existing graduate institutions, Zollverein has launched an entirely new school based on a pioneering "model of mutual respect"

Many thanks to Dr. Ralph Bruder for sharing his perspective from Zollverein, Germany with us.

Excerpts from Think NewB+NewD!

Ralph Bruder: "The purpose of the Zollverein School is to create a platform for the mutual exchange between the often separated fields of business and design."

Ralph Bruder: "From my point of view, there is a difference between the introduction of a new program into an already existing school and the foundation of a completely new school."

Ralph Bruder: "What makes the Zollverein School very special and unique is that it is neither a business school nor a design school, but rather an institution where those different disciplines define a space of mutual respect."

Ralph Bruder: "At the Zollverein School management is not restricted to the administration of day-to-day tasks in companies, but is seen as a design task."

Ralph Bruder: "In 1999, the idea was born that a new school is needed at the Zollverein area that can work as a stimulator for creating new jobs in the so-called creative business sector."

GK VanPatter:"As more innovation-focused graduate programs emerge, differences also come into view internationally. Zollverein will likely enjoy a few short-term advantages as you jump ahead by more deliberately combining business, management and design. Several American graduate design schools are also moving in that direction rapidly, assembling hybrid program combinations rather then entire new hybrid schools. While that hybrid dimension of difference will likely fade rather quickly as others join in, we are already seeing more deeply rooted and probably more important differences emerge as well."

GK VanPatter:"The emerging Europe based innovation schools seem to be much more interested in the social fabric of innovation in organizations, how sustainable innovation capabilities are constructed in organizations and how organizations skill-up for continuous change. The Europe based innovation schools also seem to be more attuned to and interested in the large complex social and environmental issues facing the planet. These differences in roots and scale focus have enormous impact as they cascade into many interconnected issues including the degrees of reinvention occurring within and perspectives on the future."

GK VanPatter:"I was struck by your description of a "mutual respect model." This vision has the potential to be a huge, paradigm shifting idea and a significant differentiator for Zollverein if you can realize this goal. It¹s a great optimistic innovation vision Ralph and one that will hopefully inspire others."

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