The Designer Toolkit is Not About Skills

Author:
Richard Fry, Paul Skaggs
Company/School:
Brigham Young University

THE DESIGNER TOOLKIT IS NOT ABOUT SKILLS
PREPARING DESIGN STUDENTS FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS

Richard Fry
Director, School of Technology, Brigham Young University
Paul Skaggs 
Program Chair Industrial Design Program, School of Technology, Brigham Young University

Recently, a group of senior students cornered some of the ID faculty and said, “you have talked a lot over the years about the ‘Designer Toolkit’.  But what is it exactly?”

What a great question! Instead of hearing more about SKILLS, the discussion focused on a broader tool-set that would prepare students for success in many fields, and jump-start their desire to make significant contributions in all areas that they touch.

This paper focuses on a discussion of three vital components of the designer’s toolbox – Aptitudes, Methods, and Techniques – and tries top point out the differences between each and the way that they compliment and support one other.

The APTITUDES are: 

• Curiosity/Playfulness

• Tolerance for Ambiguity

• Courage/Confidence/Initiative

• Observation with a Unique Point of View

• Resistance to Closure

• Judgment

The METHODS fall under the following categories:

• Understanding as a Form of Inspiration

• Shaping/Synthesis

• Exploration/Creativity

• Sharing/Refinement

This paper is meant to promote a discussion about how this toolbox could be broadened, expanded, or re-defined to help us understand and communicate to our students the potential that they have to make an impact in the world they inhabit.

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