Disrupt Together: How Teams Consistently Innovate

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The PhilaU story is captured in Disrupt Together: How Teams Consistently Innovate, a book that explains how innovation can and should be taught. Disrupt Together expresses the knowledge of sixteen different authors who are experts in fields focused on innovation, and the authors provide insights and processes for business entrepreneurs, business executives, and those in higher education to aid them in identifying problems and deliver high value solutions. It emphasizes the importance of creating interdisciplinary teams to achieve the loftiest goals: Disrupt Together, an elegantly assembled team of authors from a variety of fields, is a testament to the success of this method. The authors use case studies from higher education, healthcare, product design, and more to demonstrate how the team-based approach of opportunity recognition produces the greatest results. By showing the success of this creative, consumer-driven model, Disrupt Together memorializes Philadelphia University as the institution where innovation is happening best.

Philadelphia University purposefully created a curriculum and teaching methods to intersect collaborating academic disciplines. Our mission is to prepare our graduates for careers in the evolving global marketplace. PhilaU combines active, collaborative, real-world learning with an infusion of the liberal arts in a brand of education we call Nexus Learning. Nexus Learning is a higher education model that revolutionizes the way students learn and become leaders in their professions.

Our award-winning DEC curriculum in the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering, and Commerce embodies this model. Design thinking is necessarily consumer-focused, defined by an understanding of the complex environment and how human need interacts with the environment. In the context of innovation, design thinking involves working in teams to match people’s needs with a technologically viable and marketable solution. In PhilaU’s DEC curriculum, students learn how to engage in this process in an active way. They collaborate with members of all disciplines — design, engineering, and business — thus enjoying a multidimensional educational experience that prepares them to think critically about the world and their place in it as a professional. Student think deeply about problems and embed their learning by identifying and addressing value-creating solutions. PhilaU students focus on understanding human need, answering the necessary questions: “Is this solution desirable, feasible, and valuable?”

PhilaU’s model of teaching innovation shows how the entrepreneurial process is stronger when based on a foundation of design thinking. By using design thinking in innovative entrepreneurship, PhilaU shows that having a finely-honed lens on the nature of an opportunity is the best way to create a business model for addressing that opportunity in a way that is creative, effective, and efficient. The result of this team-based, transdisciplinary model is that bigger and better ventures solve more problems with fewer failures. By embodying this ideal, PhilaU proves that it is the model for professional education in the 21st century.

You can read about all the authors on the Disrupt Together website here.

Disrupt Together is released today. You can purchase it from the following vendors:

Safari Books Online

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Carson Kressley: Helping PhilaU imagine and build our future


In his commencement address to the Philadelphia University class of 2013 this past May, Carson Kressley had a lot of advice and a number of anecdotes for our graduates.  I believe the most important piece of advice was this: “Be true to yourself, invent yourself, and design your dream life.”

After graduating from college, Carson feared that he could not be the “real Carson” professionally because he would never be able to work as an openly gay man.  Luckily, Carson was able to conquer his fears and build the career he always wanted by living and working with passion and honesty.  He landed his career-making role in Queer Eye for the Straight Guy because he embraced his personality and displayed it on television for the world to see.  What he had once feared most became a great strength and professional brand.

PhilaU’s mission is to prepare students for careers in the 21st century global economy.  We urge our students to be true to themselves personally and professionally, building their future and their professional brand around their unique talents and aspirational goals.  PhilaU students invent themselves here.  They overcome their fears and hesitations to produce results.  This mature self-realization and self-fulfillment is what makes our students stand out in the work force: PhilaU challenges our students to stretch their limits and learn about themselves in the process, and it makes them great professionals and leaders in their industries.

As Carson said in his commencement address, doing only what is expected of you is a huge and common mistake.  PhilaU provides an environment for students to take risks and perform above and beyond what is expected of them.  This is why our students produce professional-level work while still in college.  They are not afraid to fail in the PhilaU environment, because we emphasize that failing is part of learning.  Students who never make a misstep do not work outside of their comfort zone.  We teach our students to embrace these failures and remember them as they move forward.

PhilaU treasures its friendship with Carson because his professional and personal values are lofty and noble, and we admire and enjoy his boundless enthusiasm for life and work.  His passion makes us better.  We look forward to seeing him tomorrow for Discover Fashion Day, as well as many more times to come as he helps PhilaU’s students imagine and build their future.

Carson’s Twitter account is here: @CarsonKressley

Carson’s PhilaU Commencement 2013 address:

An “It Gets Better” video made by PhilaU’s Gay Straight Alliance:

Pictures of Carson from PhilaU’s 2013 Commencement:







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PhilaU’s Interior Design program: in the country’s top 10

Yet another testament to the success of PhilaU’s Nexus Learning educational philosophy of preparing students for careers in the 21st century. DesignIntelligence‘s “America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools 2014″ has ranked PhilaU’s BS in Interior Design program among the top 10 Interior Design programs nationwide. DesignIntelligence is the Design Futures Council‘s bi-monthly report on design innovation and the future of the design community. Its rankings are highly regarded, and it is invaluable to design leaders; they use it to determine which schools best prepare their students for the professional world.

This accolade speaks to the talent and dedication of PhilaU’s Interior Design faculty and students and their commitment to the value of the Nexus Learning educational approach. It means that PhilaU is leading students to professional success. PhilaU is doing things right.

You can read the PhilaU Today story about this wonderful news here.