FRUSTRATING Online Design Thinking Course

MIT is really pushing this

Everyone is doing it. MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, even Rutgers. It’s getting out of hand. I attended a conference in Austin on this and there were very few designers there. The talks were very generic and over all extremely frustrating. I’m all about cross-functional teams, and bringing others into the magic of what we do, but we still have to acknowledge there is skills and craft that is not learned in a 3-4 day or even a 3 month class.


Why do you people hate capitalism?

The schools are selling what businesses are buying. Aside from annoying sales pitches and advertising, how does this diminish what you do to the point of complaining about it?

PackageID — Why would you attend a conference on design thinking - you are a designer, design thinking is what you do.

I don’t like snake oil. I like it even less when someone tries to make snake oil out of our profession.

I attended the conference because I am now with a team with a couple of non-designers that wanted to attend because they thought they may learn a bit. I went as a team building, while also thinking that I may pick-up some tips on digital design. I was wrong.

I agree with YO. This directly effects our profession. When someone can take a 2-3 day workshop and think they can change a culture by putting post its on the wall and build things out of pipe cleaners and come out with breakthrough innovation, it diminishes the hard work we that experienced practitioners do. The theory that is being taught may be relevant, but without the experience it is just theory.

What’s the snake oil? Design thinking or a course in design thinking?

Sorry, I don’t think it diminishes, demeans or trivializes anything. Anyone taking the course will find out soon enough that they don’t have enough information, skill or talent to use it and they will value your experience and guidance more.

I hope you are right, Dan. If that is so, then raising awareness about design would be positive of course.

My concern is that participants coming out of a session like that could potentially feel they can solve all of the problems and then hand over a set of tight parameters for design to just style up. Of course this is a situation that can happen no matter what.

I have done a few courses and this is EXACTLY what happens. Rather than come out with an appreciation for how hard design is the courses are designed to make management think that they are designers, not that they need designers. The only positive is that it because of access to this new found super power they are more willing to take more/bigger risks.

I’d be scared that people coming out of these courses would feel like design is just BS. Luckily, I don’t think this trend has really hit in French yet.

The course is going wonderfully. I believe in promoting creativity and innovation as important aspects of successful business operations - and since anyone can exhibit creativity and anyone can contribute to an innovative endeavor, it’s important to explain the role of those two things throughout a development process.
In my course this Spring the students include everyone from R&D Directors to engineers to a real estate agent. All seem to be finding value in what I have to say, but I’m not telling them they’ll be experts, nor am I telling them they will immediately be part of a creative team at their employer.
But I am teaching them how to be change agents, to promote creative activities (the more believers we designers have, the better the chances we’ll get buy-in from the top down).
I wouldn’t have accepted the offer to teach this course if it were a 2-3 day session, that would have been entirely too summarized to be effective - this one is 8 weeks and seems just about right. If you have team members from other disciplines who could benefit from an introductory course to appreciate more of what the “creatives” do, recommend having them take my online course.