The thinking designer is capable of generating innovation, but are we being trained for it?
 The thinking designer is capable of generating innovation, but are we being trained for it?

When writing this article and looking for images related to entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial attitude and innovation to serve as cover or references to be used, there were always images of people in suits jumping off cliffs. But what came to my mind was:

“Jeez, there’s no image that reminds me of a designer or even someone outside the admin’s stereotype!”

Which led me to think a lot about the entrepreneurial culture in relation to Design and also if in our graduations the entrepreneurship is treated as an important topic. After all, we are living in times when Design is increasingly incorporated into the strategic core of organizations – be they companies, industries or even NGOs – to assist in decision making and often guide the innovation process in these.

But the big question is: are we being prepared in our undergraduate degrees to work at the strategic level of Design? Or are we just being prepared to perform tasks at operational levels?

During my undergraduate degree, this was already a somewhat unsettling affair among my circle of friends, as we really believed that it was necessary to further discuss at the undergraduate level the importance of the strategic role of the current design.

After all, according to FUMEC University professor Marcos Breder Pinheiro, design education is focused on the application of so-called “classic” methodologies, passing on to students the values ​​established in previous years of design consolidation in Brazilian companies.

The professor states that a review of the academic design education in Brazil is necessary to try to dialogue with the current world order. For if in previous years, the academic concern was focused on the insertion of the young designer in the job market, now it must be linked to the building of professionals capable of think and product innovation.

At the moment the teacher uses the word “think” he refers precisely to the designer present in the strategic core of organizations, the designer who assists in the decision making of organizations and ultimately generates innovation and consequently competitive value for them.

One of the biggest challenges and inspiration that motivates me and my partners in Sabiá – Collaborative Design, is to highlight the importance and potential of Design acting at the strategic level of organizations. It is not easy at all, but it is extremely gratifying to achieve better results for these organizations and to know that it was Design that guided this process.

Still in undergraduate, we attended a discipline called “Design Management” and also another called “Entrepreneurship”. But in conversations with my friends — those who are my partners today — we always wondered if just these disciplines were enough to make us enterprising designers capable of acting at the strategic level of Design.

The conclusion I came to is that these disciplines are not enough for this since there is no direct contact with the market, nor contact between these disciplines that may well complement each other and make the achievement much better. After all, it would be two workloads focused on one goal: to train designers who can think and produce innovation.

At first, I thought it was just something we thought because of the experience we had. But, according to Professor Marcos Breder Pinheiro, the methodology used in the classroom often does not contribute to a broad formation of the professional future, due to the lack of a critical analysis of the current world context. The student is created to follow an “imaginary” briefing (once it is not always possible to have direct access to the companies).

The teacher also points out as a solution to this problem, the change of perspective in the classroom, since it is necessary that the goal for product development is less tied to the product itself and more to the critical development of the student himself, giving you the responsibility for your own future. For in this way, the large contingent of young designers who arrive every year in the job market and cannot achieve a full positioning, with decent and fair wages, will not go unnoticed.

“Encouraging students to gain a broad view of market opportunities, to glimpse innovative ways of inserting their products and themselves into the competitive globalized market is a new methodological path that can be explored. We’re on the brink of following the same formula, creating professionals for a “perfect world” of jobs in small and medium-sized industries and businesses, or building on knowledge that values ​​their ability to tap into the countless opportunities of the new age. ”

Despite concluding that the subjects we studied were not enough to make us thinking designers capable of producing innovation. I could see that this motivated me to seek knowledge beyond the classroom walls and make me a protagonist in this quest. And consequently, it led me to participate in various extracurricular activities that further enhanced my mental repertoire.

Unfortunately, I could not find any articles or data related to the teaching of Entrepreneurship and Design Management in Brazil. Thus, the purpose of this article is to raise questions about this theme in Design courses in Brazil, whether students or teachers … And, to facilitate – and provoke – the beginning of these questions I leave you here a quote:

“(…) What will be the future trajectory of our students? Will it be marked by the narrow apprehension of the market as it is allowed in our schools and colleges? ”- LEITE, 2006

References:

 The 3is of Creativity
 The 3is of Creativity

I recently had the great pleasure of reading the teacher’s book Luiz Vidal Negreiros Gomes, Creativity & Design: An Industrial Design Book for Product Design, pointing the 3is of creativity as an important tool to be used in the formation of new designers. The teacher shows that the 3is of creativity are as follows: illusion for fantasy; invention for ingenuity; and innovation in a product design project.

According to Professor Luiz, in the preparation of a new generation of Brazilian designers, the existence of misunderstandings in teaching, misunderstandings in education, can hardly be corrected with a simple press of the delete key. In this case we will have new unprepared designers. What’s more, solving a mistake in this area requires decades of work. And if, for some reason, we get to that point, what can be done from now on is to improve.

Professor Luiz proposes that teachers who teach product design disciplines promote, in their classes, activities at three levels to stimulate creativity. Are they:

  • ILLUSION, stimulating fantasy, for short term responses to creative production

Through fantasy we can achieve the motivation, desire and inspiration to achieve something. According to the teacher, funny things and situations help create a pleasant and light climate, as humor tends to make ideas flow more naturally. Professor Luiz states that fantasy is a key element in many forms of art, such as literature, painting, music, cinema, theater, crafts and so on. And, points out that the use of inversion exercises; use of opposites, opposites and complements; Multiplying the parts of a set of changes in color, subject, place, function, movement, dimension, and weight can help teachers and students broaden their mental and manual skills as well as their ability to make analogous relationships.

  • INVENTION, practice of technical memory, for medium term responses to creativity;

The exercises of the invention consist of dissecting the parts, components, product elements, and then pulling them freehand. The main purpose of this activity is to develop the students’ technical memory and technological imagination. The activity is inspired by the “analytical visualization techniques” suggested by Bonsiepe et al in 1984, whose goal is to collect visual information for future use in morphological, semantic, structural and functional analyses of the product in question.

According to Professor Luiz, this technique allows students to demonstrate manual skills for using convention design, visualization design, geometric design, and creative intellectual ability to identify machine and product elements, along with characterizing materials. It also stimulates the ability to evaluate and even define the best way to organize the layout for the manufacture of an identical product.

  • INNOVATION, analogy studies with the things of nature, for long term responses to product creation

On the other hand, graphic innovation exercises, those – according to Professor Luiz – of long-term response to creativity, are the ones that best support the Drawing. The teacher suggests, in this case, the exploration of exercises that use Nature as a source of inspiration, observation drawing, for the training of vision and the hand, and Bionics, form the basis of innovation to be created, because, according to the teacher. Bionics is one of the most fruitful ways to train in projects that require divergent high thinking from the designer.

I think Professor Luiz can make it very clear that there are several ways for us to become increasingly creative and the main one, there are also tools to be used for each type of projects in which we are involved. Today, I can say that I am passionate about methods and tools, and whenever I can, I try something new in the projects I participate in. Sabiá – Branding, Design, Innovation. After all, if we assume that no project is the same as another project, our creative process need not be the same either.

Finally, if you are finished reading this short article and think that it is only useful for teachers… I think you need to broaden your look a bit more about design methods and tools. After all, the 3is of creativity can be used by Design studios and companies that have the creative sector to stimulate the qualification of their members and even reformulate their processes when analyzing the notes of Professor Luiz.