Business to Transform Society: Designing for the Socialverse

Winter Open
Class Standing
Taki Hirakawa

Technology is now manipulating us at a level that is unprecedented. Many problems have emerged with the rise of new media and technology, from effects on our individual mental health, manipulative product reviews, to social influence on individual beliefs. This course asks students to address unforeseen challenges in our evolving society and businesses, identify an underlying problem in different types of platforms — social networking, social audio platforms, disappearing stories, social live streaming, shoppable social platforms (finance, music, health and wellness, games, etc.) In this highly interactive class, we will be exploring how to predict and invent the future where interactions between individuals can happen via real self as well as via digital representation in the online world — the socialverse. Leveraging on frontier technologies, our goal will be to create novel solutions that will help transform society to foster more meaningful experiences, and prevent mass social level manipulation.

Traditionally, customer discovery centers on individual user experience. In this class, we are looking at the ways in which user experience can help us identify the problems in which participant behavior, culture, and complex systems of new media and platforms, are the medium of solution design. In this experiential class, students are encouraged to explore how we interact with new media and technology on the psychological level.

This class will ask students to build multi-disciplinary teams from all fields to collaborate and develop a new business from the ground-up by applying design thinking and other innovation frameworks to see through wicked problems and come up with innovative solutions. How might we imagine a social network that appeals to our better natures than Facebook does today? How might we design a stock trading product like Robinhood that avoids the mass purchase of worthless stock? Working in teams, students will invent novel solution concepts that leverage tech and prototype solutions and explore customer value propositions and business models, all while gaining fluency in the behavioral and cultural principles that might shed light on how these tools can be applied to the work of ethical innovation. Our class will culminate with a series of fast pitches to industry executives to present the startups students worked on during the program.

This course will be on-line (using Zoom, and other digital platforms for collaboration, engaging in small group activities and hands-on projects, and posting your work). To successfully participate in this program students need a computer and internet access. 


Course Reference Numbers
(8): 20066

Academic Details

Business, Entrepreneurship, Product Design, Interactive Media, User Experience (UX) Research, Social Marketing, Digital Marketing, Strategic Branding, Business Social Media, Corporate Innovation, Teaching, Digital Business Strategy, Interactive Technology



Remote (W)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details