Professor Sara Beckman creates and delivers courses on design, innovation and product management. Her 25 years of experience teaching design and innovation-related topics at the Haas School of Business culminated in creating a course, Problem Finding, Problem Solving, which draws from design thinking, critical thinking and systems thinking literature. That course is now offered to all business students at Haas, and prepares them both for their Applied Innovation projects as well as for their work in their own jobs. Her recent research focuses on the role of learning style diversity on design teams, and on the pedagogy of teaching design.

For the past two years, she leveraged her teaching and research experience in serving as the Chief Learning Officer of the recently founded Jacobs Institute of Design Innovation within University of California, Berkeley’s College of Engineering. Sara directs the Product Management Program for the Berkeley’s Center for Executive Education, serving 350 product managers from around the world each year. Before joining Berkeley-Haas, she worked in the Operations Management Services group at Booz, Allen & Hamilton and ran the Change Management Team at Hewlett-Packard.

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Books & Publications

  • Framing Innovation

    Negotiating Shared Frames During Early Design Phases


  • Infrastructure Meets Business

    Building New Bridges, Mending Old Ones

    Winter 2009

  • Innovation as a Learning Process

    Embedding Design Thinking

    Fall 2007

  • Self-Reflection

    Lessons Learned in a New Product Development Class

    February 2007

  • Workplace Design

    A New Managerial Imperative

    Winter 2007