I recently had 22 design managers from Korea visit me for a week of training. It was inspiring, challenging and exciting to say the least. DMI has collaborated with KIPD, the Korean Design Council, many times on research and conferences, including creating the Samsung case study for Harvard, but this was the first time we conducted a workshop for them.
KIDP sent 22 upcoming design managers to Boston for an in-depth learning experience. I had my hands full – in the first day we went thru three translators! It started rather quiet and formal, but soon the dialog opened, and by Friday we were jamming on ideation and snapping seemingly hundreds of farewell photos! We found our rhythm, and it truly was an amazing week for all of us.
I started the week with two days on the fundamentals of advanced design management, by diving deep into design strategy, culture, operations and processes. The overall objective was to help them all learn how to best integrate design into business, and increase design efficiency and effectiveness. Then the field trips began – we spent Wednesday at Essential Design, and explored ethnographic research methods ways to create new user experiences. Thursday we went to Altitude Design to look into methods for incremental design and innovation. There is so much he-ha about “breakthrough” innovation, but actually incremental is where most of the action is. After testing a group-sized margarita maker we stayed late for lively discussions. Friday we went to Continuum Innovation and dove into a design thinking workshop, which was fabulous. That evening I jumped on a plane to Denver for a night, and then went to Germany for Red Dot judging – I think I slept until I was told it was time to get off the airplane in Frankfurt.
There is a tremendous hunger by these Korean designers to learn the most possible about design management. In addition, we have a visiting researcher from Korea working in the DMI office this year, conducting post-doctoral research on design management in interface design, and I have the pleasure of being her research supervisor. It is just another example of an amazing commitment to learn about design management by Koreans, a thirst to be the best one can be. This is to be admired indeed.