Over the last couple decades design education programs have been bombarded with wave upon wave of industry changes that they, in turn, must respond to and integrate into their curriculum. In the late eighties, for instance, it was the advent of the computer as a design tool, then a decade later the internet emerged as a prominent new medium. Now there are a whole new set of skills that are expected of designers entering the field, including interactivity, motion graphics, and design thinking. For me, design thinking really reflects the evolution of communication design from the craft-driven discipline of the 20th century to the strategic-oriented consultation that most of us provide to our clients today (whether they ask for it or not). Ultimately, design thinking is at the core of the entrepreneurial activity that I focus on with Merge.

So how do design educators address this important emerging area without simply “tacking it on” to an already crammed curriculum?

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BusinessWeek Podcast featuring Nathan Shedroff

One of the programs solving this complex puzzle is California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Nathan Shedroff is the president of CCA, which launched the MBA in Design Strategy Program in 2007, and in this BusinessWeek podcast he discusses the new role designers are expected to play.

itm10years_logo2Sappi Ideas That Matter deadline approaches
Thanks to Joe Isaak for reminding me that applications are due for the Ideas That Matter program. Now in its tenth year, this program awards grants of $5,000-50,000 to help designers develop ideas that benefit the world around us. Recent recipients have included Marcia Lausen of StudioLab, University of Illinois Chicago and Design for Democracy, and John Bielenberg of Project M. The deadline for submissions is July 17, 2009.