Dublin Airport and Design Thinking

During our ‘Performance-Driven Marketing’ course we had the pleasure of working with the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) on marketing solutions within Dublin airport. This kicked off with an initial ‘design thinking’ brainstorming evening. Design thinking uses creative thinking-in-action design principles to solve management problems. Some of us are taking an optional course in ‘Design Thinking in Business’ next semester and are looking forward to exploring it some more. I knew that brainstorming with this bunch of MBAs would produce some pretty interesting and innovative ideas. I’ve previously seen the class make very short work of a task to come up with 100 uses for the paperclip, which included such innovative uses as lock-picking and creating snow shoes for mice. Their creativity would put MacGyver to shame. The marketing ideas generated were great and really showcased the wide variety of backgrounds in the class. Being a keen technologist (nerd), I pitched ideas involving smartphone interaction using geospatial location-based services.

To really understand how our ideas would work in the environment, a group of us arranged to take a trip out to Dublin airport to meet the client and get some additional inspiration. The security team at the airport run a tight ship and rightly so. Some of us discovered that, while a student card will get us a 10% discount in Boots, it’s not enough to get us through airport security. For our particular expedition we might need something more along the lines of producing a DNA sample or a signature from the pope, or solving a series of cryptic riddles. Once we got through security (well most of us) we were given a full tour of terminal 2. The economic timing may not have been ideal but terminal 2 really is a fantastic foyer to the country that we should all be very proud of. It’s great that the MBA gives us the chance to learn new ways of thinking and to apply what we’ve learned by working with organisations such as the DAA.

– Dave Byrne, FT MBA 2011/2012