Occupy Reimagining Design Education

Humantific CoFounder, GK VanPatter was recently interviewed by Wycliffe Radum of Aalto University Design Factory in Finland.

Wycliffe Radum: In the first Future of Innovation [CEB] conference in Helsinki, in September 2009, you challenged Aalto University’s designers to reach into the realm of organizational innovation by designing strategies and systems rather than products and services. Two years have passed since the conference and you have visited Aalto University a few times during this period. Do you perceive that Aalto University has risen up to the challenge? Has there been a noticeable shift towards the desired organizational changes?

Garry K. VanPatter: “Hello Wycliffe: Happy to do this with you…Yes, I do well remember speaking at that Future of Innovation Conference in Helsinki. I met many terrific people there doing interesting work including some Alto leadership folks who were working on the university combine initiative at that time. It seemed then like an ambitious undertaking. I do recall that several Aalto leaders were interested in the NextDesign Geographies Framework of Design 1,2,3,4 in addition to what Humantific does……”

“At that 2009 conference I did talk about the fact that around the world many graduate design schools have imported the American orientation that the furthest reach of design thinking is product and service creation, what we call Design 2. It was in 2003 when we started pointing out that leading practices had already moved beyond that picture. I repeated that message at the 2009 Helsinki conference. Not everyone welcomes this perspective as many remain involved in the Design 2 business. Many still see Design 2 as a nice tidy, manageable in-the- box future for design. This view was popular in the new business press for a considerable time and subscribed to willingly by numerous high profile design school leaders in the US. We have never agreed to surrender to such a limited perspective of possibilities for design.”

“I am not the officially designated creator of difficult questions for Aalto leadership. I’m sure leaders in the local community there are quite capable of doing so.”

See more on the Alto University Design Factory blog or inside the white paper.

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