“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

Reflection and Grit: Design School’s 2-prong Creativity Factory

Recently I had the good fortune to here Jonah Lehrer (@jonahlehrer) give a wonderful keynote talk here at SCAD (@scaddotedu). He talk I can only assume will be part of his upcoming book, Imagine.

There were two core subjects of his talk that struck me as valuable descriptors of how design schools (good ones anyway) already teach their students to be more creative: better designers.

  • moments of reflection, “away from the problem”
  • grit, the ability to just stick with a problem

While these two may seem like opposites they are really two sides of the same coin. They work together taking advantage of both the associative mind and the dreaming power of alpha waves.

What I realized while listening is that design school teaches you how to intentionally use this coin in your day-to-day work as an agent of creativity.

When I first started making my transition from business analysis type UX Pro to designer I had the fortune of being able to hire an up and coming designer who hailed from a top design school, RISD. Her name is Jenny Arden (@jarden) & she is now a designer at Google. Since I had never been to design school I took the opportunity to ask her, “What did you get out of your experience in design school?” her answer was “creative stamina”. What she was describing was grit. She was taught to stick with it. And I saw how it served her very well.

As I approach my upcoming workshop at Interaction12 In Dublin in a few weeks it was great to get this scientific affirmation from someone like Jonah Lehrer. If you come to the workshop that Matt Nish-Lapidus (@emenel) and I are teaching you’ll start to get to understand the grit of creative stamina among other core elements of design school (see also Matt’s recent piece in Johnny Holland).

The workshop is called “What You Missed By Skipping Design School”. If You’re coming to Dublin or live there already, I hope you can make it.

See ya in Dublin!

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