Round pegs in round holes

28Feb11

Just spent an hour with the very bright Steve Rigley from the Glasgow School of Art.

He was explaining how over the past few years they’ve begun to centre their teaching around a student’s aptitude and skill rather than a set curriculum.

It creates a more tailored experience for each student. And they reach higher heights because of it. So if you’re utterly brilliant as an emerging web video maestro (for example), they’ll do everything for you to excel in that area and not try to turn you into a typographer.

Of course it means they’re less rounded. And some people complain saying things like “there’s less Graphic Design” in the degree show.

But there’s more brilliant people who are being the best version of themselves possible. And walking into jobs at places like Weiden and Kennedy.

It made me think about how we create ideas here, and how other even better places do it too.

We go wide. What the amazing Tim Brown calls “Divergent thinking” in his brilliant book “Change by Design”.

Then once we’ve thought of everything, we throw most of it away. We go narrow. Convergent. We concentrate on only the solution and the best expression of that.

Just like Steve’s students. Go wide, then focus in. On the best solution for you. And the best solution for your client.

Something Seth Godin also mentions in his two step process. Same stuff, go wide (learn everything) and go narrow (specialise and be brilliant.)

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