Inspired – John Boult, Product First

What inspires me are the ideas and people that challenge the accepted boundaries of design.

Most of my working week is spent with Product First, which today is more about using design thinking to create innovative cultural change than about the physical design of products, but I am also a visiting lecturer on Brunel’s Design Strategy Masters course.

This is the understated gem in UK design education, a course that has, for more than 12 years, been doing what D-school in the US has just started to do and others are keen to emulate. We take design and, increasingly, non-design graduates, and run them through an intensive one-year course on contemporary management and how the value of design can be leveraged.

There are now more than 100 students in any year from some 14 different countries and what continues to inspire me is how those students continuously challenge conventional design wisdom in their research topics and ideas. These are the ideas that have and will shape our industry. Over the years I have seen the beginnings of service-design thinking, foresight, open-source design and so on. The list is endless. What’s coming next? How about ethical issues and the deeper responsibility of design.

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