Want Change - Design Gurus Advice Needed

In my late 30’s and want to transition from current career into Design.

Need an educated roadmap to get to my goal. Have my own ideas but want the experts to weight in.

Strengths: currently manager 40+ staff, innovator at work, brain storming is my speaciality, some product design classes under my belt at Parsons so understand the process, I can communicate my ideas on paper

Do not want to go back to school: I can read everything I get my hands on but I am not will to “waste $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library.”

Suggestions? Computer programs I should familiarize myself with, internships, just make stuff (as one professor wisely stated) . . .

I’d recommend getting a job at a design firm now and learn the trade on the job. Your present skills might get you in the door as a PM. What else can you offer them to start? Biz-dev? Studio-manager? Engineering?

There are plenty of great books out there to get you up to speed.
My recommendations for you:

Creating Breakthrough Products, Cagen & Vogel
Design of Everyday Things, Norman
Emotional Design, Norman
The Inmates are Running the Asylum, Cooper
Harvard Business School design case studies
Design Secrets: Products, IDSA

Join IDSA or at least subscribe to their magazine Innovation
Attend conferences
Join the Design Management Institute
Surf the web: Read how design firms sell themselves, from the big-boys to the small boutiques

Glad to hear that I am sorta on the right track have both Norman books - wife works for the Times and just brought home Inmates . . . (spooky noticed it laying on the kitchen table)

Been to a couple of conferencey things where I always walk up to various folks in the field and illicit their advice.

Love the problem solving involved and feel I could help someone’s bottom line since the is what it comes down to. (I.E. Was invited to the Re-designing the Taxi cab workshops by a friend and had top designers from Pentagram, Smart Design and Ideo digging my imput. Held my own throwing out idea after idea, with the big boys and they had no idea I was a nobody. Too bad I was not ready at the time to make the change since those would have been great contacts. Mostly, it made me feel like I was on the right track)

Thanks again for you imput it is great appreciated!

Anyone else want to design my life . . . come on.

Sounds like you’d be a good project manager to me. Design firms need project managers too.

A good education at a small or state school won’t cost you $150k. Even good community colleges have design type classes now.

But I am a firm believer in “who you know”… so start making some connections. Parsons would be a good place to start.

People sometimes forget how important networking really is. When there are 10 people that have made the final cut and one of them knows someone and that someone likes them, it makes all the difference.