The Day of The D School is Over!

Dramatic words for an article encouraging you to seek a career in design, but there is a deeper meaning behind the obvious which is beginning to be realised in very many quarters.

The truth is that Design Education, or much more preferably Creativity, has taken on a far more important position in the world of learning than where it stood traditionally.

Leading thinkers from every discipline are seeing Design Thinking, in truth, Critical Thinking as the catalyst for Greater and More Evolved Thinking.

As the world of technology progresses, and we have seen quantum leaps just this past year with the explosion of online working and learning as well as medical advancement, just what is needed to support super-powered technological development is the good old fashioned Creative Power we were born with. Yes, it’s as simple as that.

Skills such as coding, keyboard agility, deciphering formulae et al are skills of the past from a human involvement perspective. All these ‘rote’ activities will be in the hands of AI /Robotics. If it has been discovered and set down by great Creative human minds then AI can take the existing and work wonders heralding the new truths uncovered by humans. It is a straight forward Multiplying Factor. Megabytes in nanoseconds. The key is that AI/Robots cannot discover, they cannot add to the human narrative. That is purely and simply our domain.

Design Thinking/Critical Thinking is natural to us human beings. It cannot be taught and where lacking it needs to be Mentored. That’s why at Rishihood University, the first School program we worked on was the School of Creativity.

Some years back NASA commissioned leading systems scientist and education researcher Dr George Land to undertake a study on Creativity. Why, because new ideas, new creations are the rocket fuel of NASA. What Dr Land discovered was that children at the age of 5 are tremendously Creative, almost 100%. They then enter the historical education system, largely designed at the time of the First Industrial Revolution, a system that strips away their Creativity rapidly over the years to the point that when a youngster of 16 is seriously contemplating their future, he or she has barely 12% of their natural Creativity in stock to help them make a discerned decision. 

At the same time as this study was taking place, other eminent thinkers were making the case that the tools of AI/Robots are not Creative. Hence, the team at Rishihood realised the need to make building student Creativity an utmost priority.

Programs at the School of Creativity look at every recognised field of creative study. For Visual Communications, Interior Architecture, Fashion and Textiles, Product Design, Visual Arts and much more, the driving force is to graduate Design vis a vis, Critical Thinkers. Once you have re-established the student as a Critical Thinker all else follows very successfully.

Over the last few weeks, we have met with very many young people looking to make their final career choice, including which university at which to pursue their dreams. All of the young people we met came from a financially challenged background. All had limited access to computers, iPhones at the most. No laptops or iPads. Yet no matter what career they had chosen they were making wonderful inroads into advanced technology using the full power of whatever form of AI available to them to full advantage. They were all very bright young people. The disadvantage that the world had dealt them opportunity wise spurred them on to create their own opportunities. They were survivors, they had to create the means to survive for themselves which meant, above all else, they had IDEAS. They were destined to succeed. Equally, they knew that the power of AI will help them in their pursuit of success. That said an earlier introduction to a ‘Creativity Resuscitation’ program would have helped them substantially.

Many wanted the be in the world of IT, many engineering and medical. Vastly differing disciplines but they all realised that their Creativity, their New Thinking, their Evolved Approach to the knowledge fund would accelerate their careers. We realise the evolution in the demographics of the world of Design. Without a doubt communication design, the language of AI, by using the power of AI is becoming the all-important field of Creative Development. It is logical really if you can Communicate, Discuss, Dialogue about a subject then the opportunity to Develop that subject is a reality. It encompasses the 4 D’s of Design Mentoring. Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver.

This is one of the strengths of our Foundation Programme (first year of School of Creativity Programmes) at Rishihood. It is Valuable, Necessary, Illuminating, Empowering – and it is fun.

So yes, the Day of the D School is over but the Era of C School, the School of Creativity is upon us!


Prof. Mike Knowles
Professor Emeritus, School of Creativity

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