Here is a short article Scott recently wrote for our internal newsletter, Synergy, that I thought would be great to share with you:
Nothing gets me, as a designer, more excited than being a part of an innovative project. This doesn’t mean I embrace only innovative projects and run from the rest, however. I also strive to innovate with projects already underway.
This is true for our design and visual arts students, too. They are often encouraged to be creative and take risks, but often how to do so is left a mystery, which yields a result that is difficult to learn from, build on or transfer to other disciplines.
This issue was addressed at the annual AIGA design conference in Memphis last year. Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, implored designers to leverage the creative process learned in art schools and team up with people with excellent analytical skills to come up with innovative solutions or great leaps to solve “wicked” or highly complex problems. Martin goes on to call this integrated approach “design thinking,” and I for one have latched onto it in my own process, including how we look at classes, and what we talk to students about when we look at their work. Daniel Pink, author of The Coming Right Brain Economy, suggests a similar alignment in his now commonly repeated comment, “The MFA is the new MBA.”
If students – as well as us university folk - can take the mystery out of the problem-solving process, and give instead a heuristic set of rules discovered and followed (allowing for some unexplainable excitement and beauty), the results can be off the charts. One of my favorite companies that champions this process is IDEO, and one of their outstanding designers, Fred Dust, will be speaking to our students soon. Their approach to design thinking speaks to a real opportunity for design as well as for fields far outside of it. Using creativity to understand something not yet well understood, through observation, leaps of faith, and visual and process skills, can result in the most efficient and beautiful results. Many feel this is the single best time to be a designer. It certainly is the most exciting time in my memory.