The second afternoon session I attended was led by Naomi Gornick, of University of Dundee, "Read all about it: contextual studies in academic design curriculum."
Dr. Gornick is one of the grand dames of design and was joined for questioning by Lorraine Justice, the main grand dame, and Rita Sue Siegel, a global headhunter for design management. She framed her discussion around the book The Support Economy: Humanizing Business Practice by Shoshana Zuboff and James Maxmin and how design is having to change because of the new business context.
She did interviews with Richard Seymour of Seymour Powell and Sohrab Vossoughi of Ziba Design about where design is heading and how designers are or are not being prepared for it. She talked about the new design professional:
Understand design holistically and are boundary crossers
Capable of extended creative ideas
Motivated leaders with enhanced communications
Long term ambition for social improvement
Exhibit contructive discontent
This was very heartening to hear because that is the skills that I am trying to bring to my students and class co-participants at UIC, but I am afraid they do not see or sometimes appreciate it, yet. The main premise of the Support Economy book is the people change more than the organizations they depend upon. I feel that this is especially true of the university and particularly design education. So did Dr. Gornick.
In 94/95 when they were trying to establish a Master of Design Managment at Royal College of Art, they could not use the term management because it was owned by the Business School. There was fear of creating a new class of people in between design and the client. Now ID at IIT is the model for what is happening in Design Managment in the US, with their MDes/MBA degree. Her talk made me appreciate ID more, although I think my interest lies elsewhere in terms of govenment and non-profit.
What I appreciated was here discussion on Metadesign education because that is where I live. It was good validation that the path I am taking in terms of developing multidisciplinary students, working in interdisciplinary teams, addressing corporate and organizational issues, as well of global social and economic concerns, is the right one for preparing my students for the future of design. I just hope that they see the value in it.