Are you ready to change the world?

Today was the introductory session with first year design studies students. It went really well! I hope the students went home today with a stronger understanding of what a designer is, and an awareness of social and cultural issues.

We introduced the term ‘critical thinking’ which I interpret to be a quality of thought. It is training your mind to think with direction, and encourages us to challenge our own ideas and put ourselves under scrutiny.

To outline some key points from the session:

We discussed what does it means to be a ‘visual listener’? One student proposed the definition: an expansive creator! Impressive :)

After explaining to shy away from thinking about the phrase in the literal sense of listening: sound, hearing etc…they opened up to the idea it is about being sensitive to your surroundings, being alert and sharp minded… using your brain and senses the way you would if someone was whispering a very important message to you!

We ran a little workshop focusing on answering the question “What is a designer?”…looking at the questions from various perspectives:

  • Problem solver
  • Story teller
  • Artist
  • Imagineer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Journalist
  • Critical thinker
  • Articulate communicator

Asking questions such as:

  • “Can anyone be a designer?”
  • “Is it a vocation or an occupation?”
  • “Is everyone a designer?”

A big mistake young designers make when evaluating their career options is they are too focused – too narrow minded on the obvious craft skills i.e sketching, software.

Hopefully, now the students realise that companies like to hire people who have changed fields at least once. We need to think about skills we as unique designers can do: interpret, synthesize, make things tangible and make connections.

The trick is to spend less time thinking about what we are doing now, and more time thinking about what is changing out there in the world and what we can do about it.

The change that it happening around us means huge opportunities and challenges for designers!

The first book of reference is “We Think” by Charles Leadbeater. Click here to read my thoughts and opinions on the book.

The second book is “Future Files” by Robert Watson.Click here to see some mind maps and watch a video of the author discussing the themes of the book.