January 2021

IMD and ECAL expand partnership with the signature of an agreement and a new executive program. Vaud neighbours will co-create design-focused executive program as they strengthen collaboration in teaching and knowledge exchange.

IMD, the Institute for Management Development, and ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne will develop a new design-oriented executive education program as part of an expanded partnership which positions both institutions for the interdisciplinary evolution of business and design in a rapidly-changing world.

The two Vaud-based schools of international renown, which already work together on a range of activities such as IMD’s flagship OWP program, MBA Innovation Week and Foundations of Business program, have also committed to explore ways in which innovation and practice in their respective fields could trigger further collaboration and shared projects.

“As collaboration becomes increasingly important in addressing the opportunities and complex challenges of our time, IMD is pleased to expand its partnership with ECAL,” said IMD President Jean-François Manzoni. “There is much that IMD’s faculty, students and corporate partners can learn from the world of design, and vice versa. We look forward to sharing our expertise in areas such as innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership, while ECAL’s creative faculty will offer our participants a diversity of perspectives and methods that can transform the way they work and lead.”

Alexis Georgacopoulos, ECAL’s Director added: “Our objective has always been to build, for both the IMD and ECAL communities, an exchange platform where the creative, entrepreneurial and innovative minds of tomorrow can meet and start collaborating. The expansion of our partnership, with the creation of a new program, is a major step in that direction and a fantastic opportunity to showcase the key role that design plays in business and society.

Under the IMD-ECAL Memorandum of Understanding, the enhanced collaboration focuses on seven areas, building on a partnership first formalised in 2018:

Common executive program

ECAL and IMD will launch a multi-day common executive program within IMD’s open programs portfolio, exploring the integration of design and its multiple facets within the business world. Targeted at individuals and teams in mid-to-senior level management, the course will equip executives to leverage the power of design within their teams and organizations.

Foundations of Business program

The partnership will continue to facilitate a three-day program delivered by IMD faculty to ECAL design Masters’ students covering essential business concepts to prepare designers for professional life, from freelancing to launching a start-up or working in-house for an established brand.

Coaching sessions

A member of IMD’s faculty will provide personal coaching sessions to selected ECAL graduates of the Foundations of Business course to offer guidance on business projects as well as the ins and outs of starting a company.

MBA Innovation Week – Challenge

Over the last three years, selected ECAL MA design students have joined IMD MBA students for its MBA Innovation Week to work together on an innovation challenge for real-world projects set by external partners, including generating ideas, gathering insights, prototyping and pitching. For example, in 2019, the students participated in the custom-made UEFA Innovation Challenge

Orchestrating Winning Performance

ECAL and IMD will co-create a theme for one of the streams of IMD’s flagship, three-day program, focusing on the intersection of the worlds of business and design. This will include guest speakers and workshop leaders as part of the dedicated ECAL x IMD OWP stream. In 2020, the session was titled “Create a working space: strategies to activate collaboration and innovation in organizations”.

Information exchange and network enhancement

The two institutions will work together to define and explore areas of mutual benefit and opportunity, from knowledge exchange to career development and conferences.

Future opportunities and exchange of services

The two institutions will continue to explore areas of future collaboration. This could include ECAL studio visit packages as well as participation of design experts in selected IMD programs.

The partnership is coordinated by IMD Professors of Innovation and Strategy Cyril Bouquet and Mark Greeven, with support from other faculty on areas such as retail, innovation, marketing, sustainability, strategy and entrepreneurship. On ECAL’s side, the collaboration is overseen by the school’s Head of Strategic Partnerships Cécile Vulliemin and the Heads of Departments, notably Nicolas Le Moigne for the MAS in Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship and Camille Blin for the MA in Product Design.


The Institute for Management Development (IMD) is an independent academic institution with Swiss roots and global reach, founded almost 75 years ago by business leaders for business leaders. Since its creation, IMD has been a pioneering force in developing leaders who transform organizations and contribute to society. Based in Lausanne (Switzerland) and Singapore, IMD has been ranked in the Top 3 of the annual FT’s Executive Education Global Ranking for the last nine consecutive years and in the top five for 17 consecutive years. Our MBA and EMBA programs have repeatedly been singled out among the best in Europe and the world. Challenging what is and inspiring what could be.


Jean-François Manzoni, IMD President, and Alexis Georgacopoulos, ECAL Director, announce the expansion of the partnership between the two institutions with the signature of an agreement and new executive programme. ECAL/Jimmy Rachez.


May 2019

ECAL partners with IMD’s MBA program, UEFA and ThinkSport to innovate fans’ experience. Jury selects project from IMD/ECAL team about wearable tech to be considered for UEFA EURO 2024 in innovation challenge for IMD and ECAL participants (MA Product Design and MAS Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship), organized in partnership with UEFA and ThinkSport.

Two schools, two leading sports organizations, ninety MBAs, eighteen design students, one challenge: to come up with an innovative new way for fans to improve their experience watching live football. 

The winning project was Euroband – a wristband with RFID technology, which fans can use to track their families’ locations and purchase refreshments and other items during football matches at stadiums and fanzones. The team was comprised of Anita Lee, Joseph Pineda, Peter Shibaev, Maki Shimizu, Tamil Varda Thamizharasan all from IMD, and Benjamin Bichsel from the Master in Product Design at ECAL. 

18 teams pitched their projects to the jury and six teams were chosen for the finals. The teams combined IMD’s MBAs with a student from ECAL’s MA program in Product Design and MAS in Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship to reproduce the mix of business and design expertise to replicate the makeup of multidisciplinary teams in the real world of innovation. Many of the projects focused on improving the football experience for families and people with special needs.

More info:


UEFA Innovation Challenge 2019: équipe gagnante composée de Anita Lee, Joseph Pineda, Peter Shibaev, Maki Shimizu, Tamil Varda Thamizharasan (IMD MBA) et Benjamin Bichsel (MA Design Produit). Image ECAL.
UEFA Innovation Challenge 2019, siège de l'UEFA à Nyon. Image ECAL.
UEFA Innovation Challenge 2019. Image ECAL.
UEFA Innovation Challenge 2019. Image ECAL.


November 2018

The Debiopharm-Inartis 2018 Challenge gave a prize of 25,000 francs to a Vaud team, made up of students from the IMD business school, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and ECAL (Georg Foster, Garance Krengel - MAS in Design for Luxury & Craftsmanship). With 80,000 francs, this third contest of ideas and projects was a great success with 100 participating teams.

The first prize for the 3rd Challenge for Patient Quality of Life was the "Self-up" project, an ergonomic cushion that helps the elderly or people with reduced mobility to get up from a chair.



“Self-up” by Muhammad Atif, André Cepeda, Georg Foster (ECAL - MAS in Design for Luxury & Craftsmanship), Rafael Freixo, Mohamed Jerad, Garance Krengel (ECAL - MAS in Design for Luxury & Craftsmanship), Oriane Perryman-Holt, Parth Reddy & Joyce Tsuchiya. Image ECAL/Calypso Mahieu.
Debiopharm Inartis Challenge 2018. Image Younès Klouche.
“Self-up” by Muhammad Atif, André Cepeda, Georg Foster (ECAL - MAS in Design for Luxury & Craftsmanship), Rafael Freixo, Mohamed Jerad, Garance Krengel (ECAL - MAS in Design for Luxury & Craftsmanship), Oriane Perryman-Holt, Parth Reddy & Joyce Tsuchiya. Image ECAL/Calypso Mahieu.


January 2018

Two of the Vaud region’s leading academic institutions join forces to deliver programs on business and design

IMD and ECAL, the University of Art and Design Lausanne, have established a partnership agreement and are currently working together on a series of joint initiatives. The two leading academic institutions recently jointly delivered a three-day program on Foundations of Business at IMD for students undertaking ECAL’s MAS in Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship. The program focused on the major facets of branding and the creation of products and companies. Several other joint initiatives with IMD and ECAL are planned for the current and upcoming semesters. The current line-up of joint programs includes:

Foundations of Business
This three-day program is led by IMD Professors and is destined for students in ECAL’s MAS in Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship. Through practical exercises it focuses on familiarizing students with the creation of products and companies as well as the many facets of branding.

IMD Professors provide personalized coaching, advising ECAL students on business projects the students undertake as part of their diploma and with a view to kick-start their careers.

MBA Innovation Lab
From 23 to 28 April, ECAL students and participants in the IMD MBA program work together on the Debiopharm Inartis Challenge, a competition organized to harness innovation and tackle a societal challenge: to improve the lives of healthcare patients. During the week, the IMD and ECAL students will explore the processes of creating new ideas, insight-gathering, prototyping and pitching.

Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP)
On the occasion of IMD’s signature program, Orchestrating Winning Performance from 25 to 29 June 2018, several graduates from ECAL will participate in discussions in the design thinking stream led by Cyril Bouquet and will focus on what business can learn from the art world.

Professor Cyril Bouquet leads IMD’s participation in the partnership and focuses on teaching innovation and design thinking notably in the MBA innovation Lab. Professor Stéphane J.G. Girod delivers teaching on the luxury industry and Prof. Professor Peter Vogel shares his expertise in entrepreneurship and start-ups. Other focuses include business model strategy, marketing and sustainability. Nicolas Le Moigne is in charge of the MAS in Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship at ECAL.

According to IMD President Jean-François Manzoni: “IMD is delighted to partner with ECAL. We look forward to sharing our expertise in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship and to contributing to developing up-and-coming leaders in the art and design sector. We also warmly welcome ECAL’s contribution and participation in several of our programs, including the MBA and our signature program OWP. Our region is rich in outstanding academic institutions and our growing interaction with several of them is extremely promising.”

Alexis Georgacopoulos, ECAL’s Director said: “I am glad to collaborate with such a prestigious institution as IMD, thus connecting two worlds, business and design, that are not always taught together at the academic level. “