Areas of Expertise (5)
Design and Systems Thinking
Integrating Design into Business
Innovation as Problem Framing and Solving
Teaming by Design
Sara Beckman has spent her years as a boundary spanner at UC Berkeley, where she has held faculty appointments in both the Haas School of Business and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She served as Chief Learning Officer for the newly formed Jacobs Institute of Design Innovation and facilitated the creation of a multi-disciplinary Certificate in Design Innovation. She teaches courses such as Collaborative Innovation which integrates Art Practice, Theater and Dance Performance Studies and Business perspectives on both collaboration and innovation.
Beckman’s research focuses on the pedagogy of teaching design and on the role of diversity on design and innovation teams for which she developed a Teaming with Diversity curriculum that is being used in classes in engineering, biological sciences, humanities and business courses at UC Berkeley as well as at a local high school. She has published case studies on design for sustainability, design roadmapping, and leveraging design approaches in sales processes.
Beckman directs the Product Management Program for the Berkeley Center for Executive Education, serving over 350 product managers from around the world each year and works with a wide variety of companies teaching and helping them implement design and innovation practices. In her time at UC Berkeley, she has received three Distinguished Teaching Awards at Haas, the campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2018 the Carol D. Soc Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award for Senior Faculty.
Before joining UC Berkeley, Beckman worked in the Operations Management Services group at Booz, Allen & Hamilton and ran the Change Management Team at Hewlett-Packard. She received BS, MS and PhD degrees in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management and an MS in Statistics from Stanford University.
Stanford University: PhD, Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management
Stanford University: MS, Statistics
Stanford University: MS, Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management
Stanford University: BS with Distinction, Industrial Engineering
Honors & Awards (3)
Carol D. Soc Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award for Senior Faculty
UC Berkeley Campus Distinguished Teaching Award
Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching
2003, 1992, 1990 (Full-time MBA) 1990 (Evening & Weekend MBA)
Selected External Service & Affiliations (6)
- Building Materials Holding Corporation Board Member
- Corporate Design Foundation Advisory Board
- Manufacturing Studies Board
- National Research Council
- Columbia University, Operations Management Advisory Board
- Leaders for Manufacturing, MIT, Operating Committee Member
Positions Held (1)
At Haas since 1988
Project Scientist, Haas School of Business Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment, Haas School of Business Chief Learning Officer, College of Engineering, UC Berkeley Faculty Director, Management of Technology Program, UC Berkeley Visiting Lecturer, Leaders for Manufacturing Program, MIT Visiting Assistant Professor, Operations Management, MIT Director, Product Generation Change Management Team, Hewlett Packard Consultant, Operations Management Consulting Practice, Booz, Allen and Hamilton
Media Appearances (5)
Online classes: The new normal for US university students
Collaborative Innovation, an undergraduate class co-taught by Teaching Professor Sara L. Beckman, is featured in this video about how online learning has become the new normal at UC Berkeley.
The Most Interesting New MBA Courses At B-Schools This Year
Poets & Quants online
What a time to be in B-school. Professors at the top 25 full-time MBA programs in the United States have crafted a fascinating slate of new offerings for the fall, winter, and spring — 182 new courses in all, in marketing, finance, operations, analytics, entrepreneurship, and much more. The range of subjects and the promise of robust debate are striking, making it a fun exercise to peruse the course summaries and imagine how the school year — now in its opening weeks — will unfold.
Dance and art, meet business: You’re more alike than you think
Berkley News online
"Other sections of the four-credit course are taught by Sara Beckman, founder of the class and a senior lecturer at Haas School of Business; Sean San José, a lecturer in the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies; and Takming Chuang, a visiting lecturer in the Department of Art Practice..."
How Does Language Influence Who Innovates?
"Learn early, learn often. Remember that the goal is to be constantly learning by doing. Learning happens when we try things and get feedback. Based on 20 years working with Silicon Valley innovators, University of California- Berkeley business school professor Sara Beckman likens the innovation process to learning. Innovators learn best when they try to do something they haven’t done before, get feedback on their work, and reflect on what they have learned..."
Welcoming the New, Improving the Old
The New York Times online
For decades, companies from Cisco Systems to Staples to Bank of America have worked to embed the basic techniques of Six Sigma, the business approach that relies on measurement and analysis to make operations as efficient as possible. More recently, in the last 5 to 10 years, they have been told they must master a new set of skills known as “design thinking.” Aiming to help companies innovate, design thinking starts with an intense focus on understanding real problems customers face in their day-to-day lives — often using techniques derived from ethnographers — and then entertains a range of possible solutions.
Selected Papers & Publications (11)
Design Roadmapping in an Uncertain World: Implementing a Customer-Experience-Focused StrategyCalifornia Management Review
Euiyoung Kim, Sara L. Beckman, Alice Agogino
What Green Design Activities and Mindsets Drive Innovation and Sustainability in Student Teams?21st International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 17
Jeremy Faludi, Alice Agogino, Sara Beckman, Alastair Iles
What Alumni Value from New Product Development Education: A Longitudinal StudyAdvances in Engineering Education
Cobb, Corie L.; Hey, Jonathan; Agogino, Alice M.; Beckman, Sara L.; Kim, Sohyeong
Design Roadmapping: A Framework and Case Study on Planning Development of High-Tech Products in Silicon ValleyJournal of Mechanical Design
Euiyoung Kim, Jaewoo Chung, Sara Beckman and Alice M. Agogino
Design practitioners' perspectives on methods for ideation and prototypingMudd Design Workshop IX
Agogino, Alice M.; Beckman, Sara L.; Castaños, Carmen; Kramer, Julia; Roschuni, Celeste; Yang Maria
Innovation as a Learning Process: Embedding Design Thinking (Accenture Award Winning)California Management Review
Sara L Beckman, Michael Barry
Designing Sustainable Solutions: Frameworks and Tools for Considering Sustainability Issues in New Product DevelopmentThe Handbook of Technology Management, 3 Volume Set, Hossein Bidgoli, Editor-in-Chief. John Wiley & Sons, Inc
Sara L Beckman, Nathan Shedroff
Infrastructure Meets Business: Building New Bridges, Mending Old OnesCalifornia Management Review
Nuno Gil, Sara L Beckman
Framing Innovation: Negotiating Shared Frames During Early Design PhasesJournal of Design Research, Undersciences
Jonathan H.G. Hey, Caneel K. Joyce, Sara L Beckman
Self-Reflection: Lessons Learned in a New Product Development ClassJournal of Mechanical Design
Sara L Beckman, Jonothan Hey, Alan Van Pelt and Alice Agogino
Workplace Design: A New Managerial ImperativeCalifornia Management Review
Sara Beckman, Jeffrey Chan, and Peter Lawrence
UGBA 190T Taught jointly with Theater and Dance Performance Studies and Art Practice
XMBA 290T and XMBA 296
Product Management Program
Berkeley Executive Education
Leading Innovative Change Program
Berkeley Executive Education