Inside the box

People all over the business world speak constantly about the need for innovation. The need for innovation in the design and transformation of our built environment is also brutally clear. But how to generate real innovation is much less clear. Some suggest that completely open-ended “brainstorming,” or “thinking outside of the box” is the solution, and that by encouraging people to come up with as many solutions to a problem as possible, the truly innovative one might reveal itself.

But there is alternative approach, and it is the one we use here at the School of Architecture to generate genuinely new versions of urban building types to address new challenges in cities. By encouraging students to focus deeply on why current practices are as they are, students understand the forces that shape our existing environment, and only by doing that deep research can they learn to “build a better mousetrap.”

Whether dealing with rising waters and coastal cities, integrating live/ work spaces, or developing market-driven urban housing, the School of Architecture encourages innovative solutions to major urban challenges. See this story on innovation in the Wall Street Journal.