Education: Creating Innovation

Year: 2011
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Crisp, Alan Roy; Arthur, Leslie; Hardy, Christine
Series: E&PDE
Section: Creativity in Design Education
Page(s): 85-90


The synergy of design education and business innovation although much talked and written of is less than tangible, indeed tenuous by nature. Immediately one asks can creativity and innovation be taught, what are they? The Design Councils answer via Cox was ‘creativity is the generation of new ideas, innovation is the successful exploitation of those ideas, design links the two [1]. Should they be included therefore in the curriculum or if they cannot be ‘taught’ does the curriculum require space to provide the time for experiential learning, in the belief that both are the result of experience? The intrinsic link between design and business, good business has been exemplified many times, Raymond Loewy remarked ‘good design is an upwards sales curve’ [2], perhaps the best possible reason to link design to business. Design its self a business, results in multi-discipline practice across the industrial and commercial field, which in turn spawns creativity and innovation as ideas in one discipline are taken up by another. The best practice currently at undergraduate level would be the sandwich programmes, the vocational aspects of design practice, the acquisition of wisdom being formulated by the period in business i.e. studio, commerce or industry. One questions whether or not such a system could be developed at master’s level and if integrated provide the link between the programmes of study. However, when considering the trigger of creativity the supposition is that the resultant process of design education coupled with experience and later wisdom is the causation of the action, not the taught theoretical philosophies of design as a specific. This paper argues design should belong to the broad church of subjects taught by a university, whose name ‘is inconsistent with restrictions of any kind’ [3]. The egalitarianism of design education should in its self be the catalyst for creativity, freeing the mind across a range of subjects, however this subjective stance is not enough and it is argued cannot be applied to commercial innovation, but would apply to pedagogic innovation e.g., new paradigms for design curricula. This paper proposes that individual innovation can only stem from designed creativity, it cannot be produced by educational establishments in isolation but requires partnership with industry and individually acquired experience and wisdom, it is suggested Cox’s definition is too simplistic e.g., to drive Texaco through the great depression Teague brought together designed creativity and branding, the innovation to introduce a revolutionised petrol forecourt; ‘large glass areas, white, easy to clean walls, canopies over pumps and rest rooms’ [4]. The innovation of introducing a multi-disciplinary designed artifact engineered through researched focus groups had a tremendous impact, Texaco prospered through the worst economic depression of the modern age, within fifteen years five hundred iconic Texaco styled petrol stations had been built, a design unchanged today. This paper argues that universities cannot provide this experience but through industrial led student activity, described by case the first veneers of required experience and wisdom to be applied.

Keywords: Creativity; Innovation; Egalitarianism; Curriculum


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