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etudiante dessinant un projet de sac a dos au feutre sur carnet croquis

Designers-managers have a great future ahead of them

Design schools are management schools… If I had said this ten years ago in front of an assembly of students and teachers I might have gone home tarred and feathered! And yet, design schools are management schools where design projects, creative and innovative initiatives are carried out.

In times past students were evaluated only based on their technical skills. Today, however, institutions are beginning to take into consideration other skills such as the students’ ability to run meetings with technicians, engineers, philosophers, sociologists and artists with a view to devising new concepts, solutions, tangible or virtual products and to creating new uses.

Along the same line, design schools have become more job-oriented and now aim at training creative professionals that will easily find a position and move upwards or move on. Today to assess the quality of degrees and curriculums we must first and foremost appraise the value of the jobs they lead to, and this we can do by observing how postgraduate students and young graduates have prepared their future, by trying to see if they have reached their career objectives.

Students used to enroll in design schools mostly, if not solely, to acquire technical skills. Now training in a design school is a true way to engage in a long-term career as a creative professional in the service of innovation, users and development.

Much is at stake with this evolution in design courses. Indeed many companies worried by globalization and finance-driven economical models are rethinking their production processes and questioning their beliefs in terms of business and marketing, and thus hiring massively and differently. In this context, designers-managers have a great future ahead of them!

3 thoughts on “Designers-managers have a great future ahead of them

  1. Here is the problem. Most Design schools are based in art schools. Art, by definition, is for arts’ sake, and divorced from utility. The useful piece of art for the designer is the ability to appeal to emotion. Design, on the other hand starts with a need, and its success is in how well it solves that need. Utility is proof of success.
    The two philosophies are in fundamental conflict. Also, many art-based schools are clueless when it comes to teaching business and management. This is why there is a move to the “D-School” model (Kelley/Stanford) that teaches design process to business-oriented MBA types and moves it entirely out of the “art school” model.
    If designers are not savvy on the business side of things or they are going to be forever whining about not having a “seat at the (corporate) table”

  2. I was asked this very question by my Design Management students yesterday in class. They will like this POV, and it will help to give them encouragement to stay the course to pick up a number of skills,
    including Design.

    Ginny Hopkirk
    Art Institute of Portland

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