Frayling’s campaign is a bit of diagonal thinking

I was interested to read your article about Professor Sir Christopher Frayling mounting a campaign to lobby Government on the status of design education, in the hope of persuading it to include design as a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subject (www.designweek.co.uk, 11 March).

James Dyson was quoted as saying ‘Our best design engineers are both artistic and scientific’, and this resonated with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s Diagonal Thinking project.

This has been a five-year programme of research into ‘diagonal thinking’, which has shown that skills in both linear and lateral thinking are highly

correlated with success in advertising agencies, and often associated with academic achievement in both arts and science subjects.

Our project has the support of Creative & Cultural Skills, and was referred to in the Government’s Creative Britain report.

Anyone can access the free online self-assessment at www.diagonalthinking.co.uk, and we very much hope this tool will enable a more diverse range of talent to find its way into the industry.

So far, more than 4000 people have embarked on the test and about half have completed, with 20 per cent scoring highly enough to be deemed diagonal thinkers.

This means that only 10 per cent of the population have this special skill and that’s what makes them valuable to the creative industries and the economy.

In this context, Frayling’s lobbying is soundly based and should have a fair hearing.

Hamish Pringle, Director general, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, London SW1

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