In the 1950s Thomas Watson of IBM famously said, "Good design is good business." The heart of the matter in Watson's quote is that he didn't say, "Design is good business"; he said, "Good design is good business." In his assertion there is an assumption of design literacy that implies the ability to identify good design.

As we enter the 21st century it is becoming increasingly clear that design well conceived and well executed can make the world a better, more interesting place. The new Seattle Central Library designed by architect Rem Koolhaas; the last Gucci collection by Tom Ford; the clean graphics of Google; the renovated interiors of Radio City Music Hall; the Apple iPod—all of these are examples of design that enhance our lives and elevate our spirits.

In addition, design is emerging as a critical strategic component of American management and commerce. Design now is being used to establish corporate identities, to develop brands, and to differentiate products from competition.

A striking aspect of this trend is that it is occurring across an extraordinarily broad array of business sectors: computers (Apple), kitchen appliances and accessories (Kitchen Aid and Oxo), cars (the Cooper Mini, the Beetle, the PT Cruiser, and the Thunderbird), hotels (Ian Schrager Hotels and W Hotels), airlines (Jet Blue and Song), luxury products (Tiffany, Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton) and discount retailing (Target via Michael Graves), to cite but a few of the more obvious examples. Driving all this is the realization that good design can assist in generating revenues and delivering profits.

As a consequence of this heightened sensitivity to design, the ability to lead organizations to strategically sound design decisions—in other words, being "design literate"—is beginning to be recognized as an important and highly bankable management skill. However, design is not a priority in American education, and there are no graduate business programs that address design in a meaningful way. So it is easy for those in business to find themselves at a loss when it comes to design.

Design 101TM was developed to address this problem.

The general objective of the seminar is to provide an introduction to the history, principles, and practice of design—specifically the five core design disciplines of architecture, fashion, graphic design, interior design, and product design, which taken as a whole both define and are reflective of our fundamental cultural and commercial values.

The specific objective of the seminar is to assist participants to "see" the visual world more insightfully and to speak about it more articulately. By paving the way to design literacy, Design 101TM prepares managers to lead energetically, articulately, and effectively in the dynamic dialogue now taking place at the intersection of management and design.