Friday, November 16, 2007

What we learn

Via DO, What I Learned in Art School (Is it Design Thinking?)

"In art school, I learned:
  • How to champion and defend my ideas.
  • How to distinguish between personal and professional critique.
  • How to respectfully and constructively critique my peers. How to attack the ideas of my colleagues and still have drinks with them that same night (and maybe even sleep with them ó hey, it is art school)
  • How to test drive a hundred different ideas through sketching, cobbling, and envisioning them, before finally settling on which one to go ahead and build.
  • How to tell when I am done a project that could just as easily be improved endlessly.
  • How to tell when an idea that is precious to me is actually holding me back. And then to feel good about throwing it away.
  • How to have the confidence to present my ideas in public without fearing that they will be stolen. And how to take it in stride when they inevitably are.
  • How to distinguish between taste, technical skill, and empirical efficiency.
  • How to detect bullshit, and to avoid generating it myself (note that not all art school grads learn this).
  • How to go the extra mile to make something high-quality.
  • How to recognize talent in my peers.
  • How to collaborate with my colleagues effectively to reach a common goal.
  • How to be deeply competitive without being a dick.
  • How to make something new just for the sake of being new.
  • How to build off of, and give credit to, the ideas of my predecessors both contemporary and in history.
  • How to save ideas that Iím not ready for and keep them for future use (usually in sketchbooks).
  • How to start all over again from the beginning.
  • How to teach all of the above."

Despite my skepticism that anyone is that well-adjusted, what a great list! I'm going to show it to my students and ask them if they see any overlap with what they're learning as non-artists and non-designers. I think it would be fun to come up with my own list too, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, what are some of the important things you learned in school? Are they similar to, or different from, things you've learned on the job?

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