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My interest in Design Education has increased substantially since becoming both student and teacher at OCAD. I am interested in the way Design is changing and becoming a field that is no longer strictly about style and the creation of more ‘stuff’. I discovered a new school in Austin, Texas that is loosely based on Denmark’s KAOSPilota school for positive societal change, business creativity, and personal mastery.”  In short, a school for the 21st Century.

Austin Center for Design is the creation of Jon Kolko [Associate Creative Director at Frog Design in Austin]. He was becoming increasingly concerned with the state of Design education and concerns from previous students now disillusioned working in jobs they once dreamed about. “They’re doing the things that everyone was led to believe one does in design school, and now they’re questioning it,” he says. “They feel that they’re adding to the consumptive nature of the world.”

The core pillars of the Austin Center of Design are empathy, abductive reasoning, and rapid prototyping. Areas that were not even on the radar when I was a design student. Design Education is evolving. Finally. I see it in students that I teach, they care about how their role as future designers will affect the world, and seek ways to create positive change through their projects.

The world is changing at a rate that most institutions cannot keep up with, it is great to see people so passionate about education that they are willing to create new programs to keep up with these changes.

via: designObserver

I graduated from Design school way back in 1990. That’s a long time ago…fast forward 20 years, and I am back. This time studying for my Masters of Design, in an attempt to one day be in a career in a field that didn’t really exist when I was in University and College those many years ago. And wow,  have things changed….students have changed, technology has changed [we now have technology!], and courses have changed.

This video demonstrates the way in which most Universities have not progressed with these changes…I like to think that OCAD is not one of those schools. Design and Art school needs to progress with the times. Our classes are small, our teachers know our names…and we don’t sit in theatres with 100’s of nameless faces. A really interesting look at what education often looks like outside of our school.

thanks Hugo!

An inspirational call for entries video…to launch the 2nd Annual Rethink Communications $18,000 Scholarship for Langara College, and the Communication and Ideation program. Sounds like a really interesting program.

“To enter the contest, submit a black hard cover sketchbook containing interesting ideas showcasing your creativity. Winner will be selected by Rethink according to the following criteria: clarity, relevance, fresh thinking, as well as quality of ideas, craft, and execution.

Would love to hear from anyone who enters!

via: Ads of the World

I was keeping up the momentum for a while…then I started school….and teaching….and working….and I still had Mom duties during all this.

During the break I plan on getting back at it, and keeping it up.  That’s the plan anyway!

I thought I would post about the Graduate program I am enrolled in having just completed my first semester. I am working towards a Masters of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation, at Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto, a 2 year program.

We are the first Cohort, a class of guinea pigs, an experiment. It’s an interesting position to be in. We are a group of extremely diverse learners – who are in a sense helping to design the program. Here is a description of the program:


“The Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation integrates knowledge and methodology from a number of disciplines: design, business, science and technology, and the social sciences. Design provides the crucial link between these areas, drawing on its essential competencies of design thinking, strategic and iterative methodology, and a deep commitment to understanding human needs, wants and behaviour. Through holistic thinking in a co-creative environment, the designer, the business person, the social scientist and the engineer will develop together the skills required for true socio-technological innovation.”

So far I love it. My brain is being stretched in ways I didn’t think was possible, the people are amazing, the classes interesting, the work challenging, and the professors inspiring.

What will I do when I finish? Not sure yet…but I do know that there are a lot of options!

Amazing video that visually shows the pace at how the world’s media landscape is changing.  ‘Did You Know‘ is another update to the original ‘Shift Happens’ video created by XPLANE | The visual thinking company, with content by XPLANEThe EconomistKarl FischScott McLeod and Laura Bestler, for the Economist Media Convergence Forum in October.

Dave Gray, XPLANE founder and president, spoke recently in our Design & Business Thinking class in the new MDes Strategic Foresight & Innovation program at OCAD. XPLANE does a great  job of simplifying complexity using pictures to help solve problems. Check out his site and blogs for some great resources on the topic of visual thinking.

Dieter Rams, Photograph by Abisag Tüllmann 


Dieter Rams, Photograph by Abisag Tüllmann

















Last night I saw the film Objectified, by Gary Hustwit, at the Toronto Hot Docs Film Festival. This most recent film by the maker of  ‘Helvetica’ delves into the fascinating and often mis-understood world of Industrial Design.

From the website…

“Objectified is a feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. It’s a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It’s about the designers who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability. ”

Gary Hustwit on making films about design: “I’ve found that most designers are incredibly skillful at explaining what they do to a non-designer, probably because they spend so much time justifying their work to clueless clients.”
Leaving the packed, sold out theatre, I heard lots of  comments by people who still just ‘don’t get’ design. Here is one…”Designers are just a bunch of ‘so called’ artists that sit around drawing pretty pictures.”
I find it hard to believe that we saw that same film. 

Featured in Objectified, is Dieter Rams, an Industrial Designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun, and the ‘Functionalist’ school of Industrial Design, “Less, but better”. He talked in the film about his 
10 Commandments of Good Design.

“Back in the early 1980s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him – “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.” Aware that he was a significant contributor to that world, he asked himself an important question: is my design good design?”

He was ahead of his time – as any great, innovative Designer is.
See the film if you have a chance. You will view the world we live in and the objects that inhabit it, in a new way.

@jjthinkinbig tweets