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David Dunne

Gustavson's David Dunne

Teaching Professor

BCom, University College Dublin; PhD in Marketing, University of Toronto
Area of expertise:
Branding, creative problem solving, design solutions to improve service, international marketing, strategic management


Dr. David Dunne joined the Gustavson School of Business in 2014, bringing with him a fascination for human behaviour and creative problem solving. These twin passions have shaped his professional life.

His research explores how designers apply in-depth user research and creative thinking methods to "wicked problems," critical, chronic problems in society and business with no clear start or end point, problems in the health care system for example.

David’s research can be read in business and design journals, including Harvard Business Review and Academy of Management Learning & Education. He has held appointments at design schools in the Netherlands, the US and Mexico.

From his early years in marketing with Unilever, London, David learned the value of questioning assumptions and deeply understanding customers. He took this knowledge into advertising, where he worked on global brands with Young & Rubicam, and to new product development at Lipton and Lever in Toronto, where he managed global brands such as Sunlight and Dove.

Following a mid-career PhD at the University of Toronto, he taught at Queen’s University, the Rotman School of Management in Toronto and Simon Fraser University. He has won many teaching awards, including the President’s Teaching Award, the highest award at the University of Toronto, and Canada’s most prestigious teaching award, the 3M National Teaching Fellowship. He co-founded the Rotman Teaching Effectiveness Centre.

David teaches design, strategy and marketing to students and executives worldwide. His recent executive teaching/consulting clients include AstraZeneca, Corus Entertainment, GlaxoSmithKline, Mt Sinai Hospital and Ontario Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN’s).

He co-founded a social innovation lab at Simon Fraser University. He travels frequently to Nepal, where he works with a medical school dedicated to improving rural health and promoting peace.


Courses taught

  • Innovation and Design Studio (MBA)
  • International Marketing & Global Strategy (MGB)
  • Selected Topics in Management: Innovation & Design Studio (BCom)
  • Service Marketing Management (BCom)

Selected publications

Journal publications

In addition to case studies, articles, industry reports, other research papers, and producing a film, since 2000 Dr. Dunne has published the following peer-reviewed articles:

Dunne, D. (2014). Keeping the doctor away: Undesigning healthcare. CRISP Design Magazine. 4,12-15.

Courneya, C.A., Dunne, D., & Geppert, A. (2013). Idealism is not enough: Designing peace into medical education. Leadership in Health Services. 26 (4), 294 – 311.

Dunne, D. (2013). Life at the research-teaching nexus: The role of design. In D. Salter (Ed.), Cases on quality teaching practices in higher education. (57-75). Hershey, PA.

Dunne, D. (2012). Losing control and loving it. In Soberman and D.Soman (Eds.), Flux:What marketing managers need to navigate in the new environment. Toronto, On., University of Toronto Press.

Dunne, D. (2012). Disentangling the web: Losing control and loving it. HBR ROT152, Watertown, MA: Harvard Business Review, January.

Dunne. D. (2011). Being a Mad Man without losing the plot. HBR ROT152, Watertown, MA: Harvard Business Review, September.

Dunne, D. (2011). User-centred design and design-centred business schools. In S. Junginger (Ed.), Handbook of design management. Oxford, UK: Berg Publishers.

Dunne. D. (2010). Two inquiry-based approaches to sustainable value: Positive design and integrative thinking. In D. Cooperider, M. Avital & T. Thatchenkery (Eds.), Advances in appreciative inquiry- positive design and appreciative construction: From sustainable development to sustainable value. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing.

Courneya, C.A., & Dunne, D. (2009). PAHS: A Nepali project with international implications. Clinical Governance, 14 (2), 134 – 144. (Highly commended paper in Emerald Literati Awards, 2010.)

Bhattacharyya, O., Sundaram, A., Telch, R., McGahan, A., Dunne, D., Dar, A. & Singer, P. (2009). Innovative service delivery models for low- and middle-income countries. Rockefeller Foundation.

Dunne. D. (2009). Designing new business schools. Elisava TdD (Barcelona), 26, Fall.

Dunne, D., & Martin, R. (2006). How design thinking will change management education: Interview and discussion. Academy of Management Learning and Education, December.


Brooks, K., & Dunne, D. (2004) Teaching with Cases. Society for Teaching and Learning in HigherEducation.

Awards & grants

Recognition & awards

  • 2016 - Rotman Teaching Award, Rotman School of Management

  • 2010 - Emerald Literati Award, Emerald Group Publishing

  • 2007 - President's Teaching Award, Academy of Teaching, University of Toronto

  • 2007 - Academy of Teaching, University of Toronto

  • 2005 - 3M National Teaching Fellowship, 3M

  • 2005 - Roger and Nancy Martin Award for Teaching Excellence