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Erin Cho

Faculty / Erin Cho


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“Innovation is no longer an option in business,” says Erin Cho, associate professor of strategic design and management at Parsons. “Today’s marketplace is fiercely competitive, and companies must invest in creativity to thrive. That opens up career opportunities for those who can bring together diverse perspectives, facilitate collaborations, and come up with effective solutions.”

Combining business and innovation is a familiar practice for Cho. “My background is unique,” she says. “I trained in design and focused on business for my PhD. In my career, I delved into supply chain management, consumer behavior, design management, social enterprise, and brand development. Early on, I understood the value of merging different ideas and perspectives.”

According to Cho, design thinking is fundamentally transforming the way businesses develop solutions. Design thinking is a methodology derived from design industries that is used to creatively solve problems and facilitate innovation. “Every day, companies come up with new, unconventional methods of producing goods and delivering services to satisfy customer demands,” says Cho. “But innovation remains a risky business. Firms often expend significant resources on new projects that fail within three to six months. So we constantly challenge students to figure out the right way to innovate, and that means developing intuition, creativity, empathy, and a sharp business mind.”

When asked about the business schools that are integrating design thinking into their undergraduate and graduate programs, Cho remarks, “In the end, these schools can’t offer a deep understanding of design. That is the hallmark of Parsons.”

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