Responding to Design Industry Skill Gaps: a Model of Business Practice Education of Undergraduate Design Students

DS 69: Proceedings of E&PDE 2011, the 13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, London, UK, 08.-09.09.2011

Year: 2011
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Hall, Nicholas, Andrew; Velez-Colby, Fiona
Series: E&PDE
Section: Industrial collaboration
Page(s): 579-584


The productivity and growth of UK firms depends on innovation and creativity to differentiate goods and services so they can capitalise on local and global markets. For the UK Design Industry the challenge is to become the premier provider of creativity and innovation services to domestic and international businesses. To achieve this it must address the skills gaps hampering its business potential and service offerings. Research indicates that the key skills demanded by the design industry relate to business practice in design. Design students consider practical business skills less important than the creative aspects of their courses. A view re-enforced by the low proportion of marks awarded for business skills in assessed assignments in higher education. This disadvantages them when attempting to progress into managerial roles, or when entrepreneurial attributes are required. Design educators should equip design students with strong base of practical business skills as well as creative problem solving abilities. If designers are trained to apply creativity in a business context, communicate in a business like manor and understand business principles they become a valuable asset, enhancing their employability. This paper presents a learning model for the development of business practice curricula in design courses and how that can be aligned with the creative practices the students undertake in their discipline. It is currently used in several courses at the University of Salford.

Keywords: Business Practice, Design Education, Skills


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