“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

What makes a great IxD student

After teaching almost 3 years now and after conversations with co-teachers I have determined that there are 7 key attributes that make a great IxD student/designer: (aren’t we students forever?)

1. Tinkerer: A passion for making of course, but more importantly a love for fussin’ around to discover new possibilities through the making process.

2. Knowledge Seeker: Knowledge of human beings in all their facets is required to be a great IxD. This means of course the usual topics of psych, social sciences and computer science, but also economics, rhetoric/language, and political science.

3. Networker: Yup, to be great at this stuff, you need to be someone who reaches out beyond themselves. You need to be open to being both a mentor and apprentice regardless of their career position.

4. Experiencer: A traveler, an observer, a listener, an asker. All of these are more lead people to be great experiencers and those that are able to be sponges are going to be on their way to become great IxDs.

5. Pattern recognizer: In order to be great at synthesizing from research data towards solid interactions you need to be able to see the patterns in the data.

6. Framers: Great IxDs understand frames in the rhetorical sense. They know how to create them, respond to them, and deconstruct them. They understand their power, their aesthetic, and their use in terms of interactions and design in general.

7. Appreciators: Technology, Art & Design appreciation is key to designing interactions. A deep appreciation not just of the current, but of the historical will ground a designer as they move through their career.

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  • http://lawver.net/ Kevin Lawver

    I think those traits are shared by all great technologists, no matter what their field.  I’d add “Problem Solver” to the list as well.

  • http://davemalouf.com/ Dave malouf

    problem solving feels too generic to me. The above is what leads to problem solving.

    And while I get these may be traits shared by others, as a design educator, I’m trying to inspire other educators to externalize these, and for students to take them on for themselves.

    I wasn’t trying to take ownership of the traits. More power to everyone that has them.


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