Personal Development?

I recently had a successful review at work, which followed the usual pattern, I offered feedback on the past 6 months, I was then given feedback on myself, we discussed wants and needs for the coming 12 months etc.

I fully believe in continual improvement, and while I’m happy with my core design skills (concept generation, sketching, Solidworks), these will continue to develop by virtue of me being at work and doing them.

However, I was asked to propose some activities to aid my personal development as a designer in a less tangible manner. I generally go to the European homewares trade-shows, and have signed up for email notifications for events/talks at the Design Museum, the V&A, and the RCA.

Can anyone offer any other suggestions? I’m based in the UK so relatively local events, or books/DVDs/online resources or courses would be appreciated.

If it helps tailor any responses, I’m a Design Manager for a kitchen/homewares brand with a traditional English brand history.

How close are you hoping to stay to design/homewares centred activities? I’ve always wanted to take some college courses in music industry arts once I start working…

Ah, good question, with a simple answer! These need to be relatively directly linked to my job, as they’ll be done in work time, or paid for by my employer, or both!

Take some cooking classes? Might help you identify opportunities for new product lines?

I would encourage you to think outside of design development. Look into developing your business sense. Pick up “Design for Business” or copies of Harvard Business review. Get a subscription to Fast Company, Fortune, and other business magazines.

I would also suggest developing your facilitation and influencing skills. Learning guide and influence people is a large part of what makes a solid designer and design manager.

Developing you design sense will come just by doing your job. This is your comfort zone. You need to develop outside your comfort zone. These are the developments that further your career.


AWOL moderator CG had completed and recommended “New Product Development Professional (NPDP)” a while back

It’s on my eventual “to-do” list … might fit what you’re looking for

@mirk. Great idea, the marketing team and I are visiting a foodie who we use when putting marketing collateral together for a two day session shortly, targeted towards NPD. I’m a keen (don’t read good!) cook, so have a general interest in this area anyway.

@PackageID. I would agree completely, thanks for your post. Your second paragraph talks about facilitation and influencing skills which I think is vital. I’ll look into it!

^ that right there!

I know this may sound odd, but when I was at Nike they paid for me to go though a week long intensive workshop on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. I’m a pretty cynical type, but I think it may have changed my life… combination of the right information, presented the right way, at the right time in my life. If I had taken the course a year earlier it would have probably been useless.

Funny you mentioned that. I read the book when I was still pretty junior and it didn’t really do much for me. A couple weeks ago a Marketer I work with said the exact same thing as above. There is definitely a maturity factor that has to be built before going through that training.