Business to Transform Society: Product Design and Marketing

Winter Open
Class Standing
Taki Hirakawa

Technology is now influencing our lives at a level that is unprecedented. Many problems have emerged with the rise of new media and frontier technologies, from effects on our individual mental health, manipulative product recommendations, social influence on individual beliefs, to controversial use of generative AI-based chatbots. This course asks students to address unforeseen challenges in our evolving society and businesses, identify underlying problems in different types of platforms, contents, and consumer and customer experiences. 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. Leveraging on frontier technologies, our goal will be to create novel solutions that will help transform society to foster more meaningful experiences, and inclusive and equitable practices in the marketplace.

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 platform, content, user experience and interaction, are the medium of solution design. In this experiential class, students are encouraged to explore how we interact with these systems on the psychological and social level.

This class will ask students enrolled for 8 credits to build multi-disciplinary teams from all fields to collaborate and develop a new business from the ground-up by applying human centered innovation approach 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 under the guidance of coaches and entrepreneurs, student teams will choose a project topic that falls in the broad set of issues so that they can leverage their entrepreneurial journey into a area of their interest. Student teams will invent novel solution concepts that leverage tech, 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 social innovation. Our class will culminate with a series of fast pitches to industry executives to present the startups students worked on during the program.

To successfully participate in this remote offering, students need a computer and high-speed internet access that allows video streaming. Students are expected to participate in 3 1/2 hours of synchronous instructional activities (scheduled on Zoom Meeting) each week. In addition, students enrolled at 8 credits should expect 4 hours per week of asynchronous learning activities, including group work. Students enrolled at 12 credits should expect 8 hours per week of asynchronous learning activities, including group work.

Winter Anticipated Credit Equivalencies

Enrolling at 8 credits:

4 - Foundations of Design and Entrepreneurship

4 - Needfinding and Marketing Strategy


Enrolling at 12 credits:

4 - Foundations of Design and Entrepreneurship

4 - Needfinding and Marketing Strategy

4 - New Business Ventures Capstone 


Course Reference Numbers
So - Sr (12): 20022
So - Sr (8): 20023

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, Marketing Consulting


Remote (W)

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

Schedule Details


Date Revision 2023-11-16 Program can no longer be taken for only 4 credits, only 8 or 12.