I will get to posing my perceptions and notes from the APCI design and innovation conference soon, but I had to share one tidbit which has been gnawing at me for days.
One of the big epiphanies I had in Paris was that in Europe, design thinking is promoted for those who do not practice design. Jean Schneider, the organizer of the conference, told us over lunch this story that he tells to his students:
He continued explaining that the other 10 non-practicing designers carry into their other fields of engagements “design thinking” as the specific sensibility they have been provided by their design training. So design thinking is for those who probably do something else besides design making.
In the US, design thinking is promoted for those who are already or emerging super-star designers. The discourse is that “design thinking” is for geniuses like Edison. This gives the perception that it is for only the best trained and most experienced designers, who are have evolved to thinking about serious problems without having to make anything.
My question is that in this framing of design thinking, where does that leave those 10 who are trained as designers but will actually never make their living in a design field (as makers)? What would it mean to promote design thinking for them, not superstar designers but the hybrid accountant/designers, mail carrier/designers, anthrodesigners, who no longer know Adobe InDesign from Microsoft Excel, etc. ?
If half the people trained in design do not find employment in the design field, how would that shift in emphasis help bring or maintain those professional design thinkers (non makers) back into the design fold, as those whose approach to the general world is colored by their design training?
Then design thinking has a clarity and perhaps nobility of purpose: embracing the, lets say 50% of, "designers" who find employment outside of the design field.