Albert Shum, Microsoft’s CVP of design, always assumed teaching is like managing a team. Then he taught his first course at the School of Visual Arts and realized it’s anything but.
Last year, I published thoughts on the future of design education and the need for a change in pedagogy if we’re going to make a lasting impact as digital designers. This was in the optimistic “before times,” and my challenge to the industry to redesign itself hinged on a classical understanding of teaching and learning. The pandemic has further exposed the limitations to tried-and-true design thinking: It is insufficient against systemic issues of disinformation, polarization, and isolation exacerbated by technology. And while many are leading in the space to design responsibly, few are teaching, and this is concerning for the future of experience design. The conversation is more meta than ever: If teaching is leading, how do we empower leaders to teach?