Sara L. Beckman

Sara L. Beckman

Teaching Professor | Earl F. Cheit Faculty Fellow
Innovation and Design | Operations and IT Management

Expert in integrating design, critical and systems thinking skills for framing and solving problems in multi-disciplinary teams


About

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.

Expertise and Research Interests

  • Design and Systems Thinking
  • Integrating Design into Business
  • Sustainable Design
  • Innovation as Problem Framing and Solving
  • Teaming by Design