This field-based case is one of three available case-based simulations that can be used as the basis for a multisession course on design thinking (alongside “Design Thinking at Arena Industries: Designing an Employee Wellness Approach” [UVA-S-0240] and “Design Thinking at Trenton State College: Designing a Faculty Retirement Experience” [UVA-S-0241]). A teaching note for all three cases, “Design Thinking Course Module (TN)” (UVA-BP-0550TN), offers additional essential pedagogical tools to the course instructor—including several hours of video content and a set of posters for each case that summarize ethnographic interview findings. Altogether, this set gives students a unique opportunity to get case-based hands-on practice with design thinking tools. The course emphasizes deep user understanding, iteration, and a focus on the possibilities as a way to enhance value creation for stakeholders.
In this case, the CEO of Land O’Lakes (LOL), a Fortune 200 company and one of the world's largest dairy cooperatives, reflects on the challenges and opportunities the company faces as it considers how to tap into a bigger slice of the lucrative market for snack foods for millennials, an area LOL’s research had identified as a promising first target. Students play the role of members of a handpicked innovation team chartered to explore and develop profitable revenue growth opportunities.
For those interested in adding self or peer assessment to students’ design thinking learning journey, Professor Jeanne Liedtka, working with coauthors Karen Hold, Jessica Eldridge, and Treehouse Design, has synthesized more than a decade of research at Darden to create the Innovation Impact Assessment. This tool will help students identify personal development opportunities and provide them with practical guidance (in the form of detailed individual feedback reports) to accelerate skill development. The instrument identifies a set of five core competencies based on 44 behaviors that successful design thinkers have in common. It is available for individual use and bulk purchase via Darden Business Publishing at this link: https://store.darden.virginia.edu/innovation-impact-assessment.