Mauricio Mejia / University of Caldas / Associate Professor / 05.21.18

Where is design going?

Design is expanding to areas of sociotechnical complexity. Practitioners from many fields now understand that the design activity can be applied to many types problems to obtain human-centered and innovative outcomes.

How can design education be more relevant?

The increasing interest in design methods and thinking can position designers to serve as a bridge between arts and sciences. Design educators should make efforts to connect craftsmanship to strategic thinking in teaching practice.

What are the future skillsets designers need to learn now?

In the context of fast sociotechnical changes, designers should learn to be fast learners. We should be teaching skills for defining briefs instead of responding to them (The brief is the core design). Designers could translate their visualization skills to problem ‘sensemaking.’ Also, we should be teaching theory-driven design to exploit knowledge from multiple fields.

What should a design school do to prepare students for transdisciplinary work?

Studio classes and activities are scenarios for transdisciplinary work. Since we already have attention from multiple fields, we could invite students beyond design to learn in studio spaces. We can also invite faculty from other disciplines to collaborate in teaching. For this, we will have to train faculty and students in transdisciplinary collaboration and use design methods where process and evidence are central in decision making.

What should a design school do to forward equity and inclusion?

One of the major approaches to practice is human-centered design. To promote further equity, we need to incorporate not only cognitive and anthropometric methods but also social methods; for example, ethnographic user studies. We also need to promote diversity experiences in design education and facilitate exchanges in different levels (disciplinary, gender, race, class).

Mauricio Mejia

University of Caldas

Associate Professor

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