Welcome to the first edition of the Design Reader, presented by the School of Design and Creative Technologies at The University of Texas at Austin. I’m so inspired by the outcome of this inaugural journal, which includes topics varying from design pedagogy to the role of design thinking in personal finance and artificial intelligence. Each article circles back to the value of creativity as it weaves through our lives in the realms of art, education, technology, business, and health.
In March 2016, I came to the University of Texas to launch the Center for Integrated Design (CID). Working with undergraduates and teaching design thinking has been such an extraordinary experience. Our goal in creating the CID was to bring design thinking into the core of the UT curricula on a comprehensive scale. The overwhelming popularity of our courses among students across campus showed us that our undergraduates are curious and interested in learning how design thinking and human-centered design can complement their areas of study and enrich their careers.
I’ve since collaborated with some extraordinary faculty around the country, who are doing similar work at liberal arts colleges and large state schools alike. In asking for submissions for this Design Reader, we specifically requested articles and case studies that examine the role of design thinking in education, business, and society. We received pieces from design educators and practitioners alike. In the following pages, our contributors share how they have embraced creativity and design methodology to develop human-centered solutions, at a time when ever-shorter product cycles require a commitment to continuous innovation.
In 2014 the Design Management Institute issued the results of its 10-year study, finding that design-led firms out-performed the S&P by 228 percent. The study finally validated what we in the design industry had been communicating to our clients and executive stakeholders for many years—in today’s highly competitive business landscape, design prowess and creative potential are indispensable to organizations. Today we see that interdisciplinary teams of engineers, designers and business people are commonly working together to deliver total customer experiences. Businesses cannot afford to work any other way. Design has a critical seat at the business table.
The success of our work at the CID has led to the launch of the School of Design and Creative Technologies within the College of Fine Arts, where I have become Assistant Dean. The new school will focus on educating students for creative professions in heavy demand across a wide range of industries. We’re building key partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, and government entities to give students unique, real-world connections and hands-on experiences that are valuable for creatives and non-creatives alike.
I hope you’ll enjoy these stories from our community. The next edition will include articles from throughout the new school, including our Arts and Entertainment Technologies program. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback and we are grateful for your interest in creativity and the role it plays in higher education, in business, and in society.
All the Best,
Assistant Dean, School of Design and Creative Technologies
College of Fine Arts, The University of Texas at Austin