today’s post title is a question: Design schools, what are they missing? The question is almost a must if we consider all changes we assist caused by the financial crisis and social changes all over the world. Some important design schools, since few years, implemented their design courses with Master Programs trying to help students to have better chances to get a design job and also trying to meet industry needs.
In some cases this new opportunity is working and in Europe governments are waking up about the importance to put together industry and schools to fight loss of jobs. This is happening for many different type of fields and, even if it is not enough, we are happy it is happening opening minds for a more useful exchange between job world and academic world. Internships in Europe are growing so it is good news.
However lets talk about Design schools because few weeks ago I had a very interesting talk with a friend working for an important car design school. He was asking me to reason about what is still missing in schools to really satisfy professional Design studios needs. The intent is to be as realistic and close to the real world to serve better as school. Excellent position!
Since my private talk with my friend I couldn’t stop thinking about the question motivated by my passion and past involvement with design schools.
In my opinion Design schools today have reached a very professional level teaching drawing techniques (extremely important), design thinking, problem solving, modeling, visual arts, digital reality, presentation techniques…at so on.
But something is missing and to me it is teaching, to any student, how to be a good manager of him/herself to be able to manage projects on a larger scale.
Design Management is poor or missing!
Design Management my favourite subject when I do my lectures in schools.
It is important for students because it is about: discipline, planning, schedule, strategy, research, benchmarking, equation between cost/timing/quality/design, industy platformes, tactics, lobby, politics…team work.
When I go to visit schools and I start talking about the role of a an expert designer withing a design studio…students ask me: how do you start a car project? Why? How do you make your model in a real car?
With those questions I understand that there is still a sort of barrier between the artistic evolution of a school project finalized with a nice model cool drawings nice clean presentation and what could happen after! I believe that if we do not explaine what happens after…we leave students in a sort of protected limbo that keeps them too far from what the real world will ask them to do once they are real designers working in team.
So, if it were for me, I would teach (at the final year or semesters) short principles or lectures about: working in a design studio, the designer project team, all different design roles, all different responsabilities, differences between design director and design project manager, how design is connected to engineering departement, how a design manager has to interact with a platforme project director, how a designer has to interact with engineers and suppliers…in a few words I would try to make them understand how they have to use all they learned in school how to apply it on a real design studio action.
The important point is how to help a young designer to get faster and professionally into the real system. How to make him/her confident about what will happen next.
Thanks for reading.