Nesta chief executive Jonathan Kestenbaum is calling for a more rigorous integration of business teaching into design courses. Are academics out of touch with the creative industries, and should business teaching be integral to courses?

paul king

Many good designers appear to be natural entrepreneurs. It’s about making creative decisions at the right time. It’s right that students are introduced to business, but it has to be suitable, inspirational and creative. It’s easy to be turned off by procedures and red tape, and talk about the fight between the right and left sides of the brain. It must be approached from a creative perspective, by example. Establishing a creative business is one of the most creative achievements possible.
Paul King, Retail director, Vivid Brand



I agree that business studies should be integrated into design courses, rather than bolted on to the side of them or treated as ‘any other business’. And I agree that more needs to be d


one in this area. But the heart of the teaching must remain creativity, imagination, challenge, intellectual integrity, problem-solving, professionalism and personal development. Business studies should be about how to make best use of these high-level skills – not about finding a substitute for them.
Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, Rector, Royal College of Art



Yes, business teaching should be integral to design courses – but not ‘bolt-on’ business studies. Innovation in design education is needed to link more closely with the best of design practice and create relevant experiences for students (such as multidisciplinary projects with business and design students). And teaching entrepreneurship must not only be about starting up new design businesses. We need better and bigger businesses – not lots more. These issues are being addressed by the Design Skills Advisory Panel, which is working on a skills development plan for the sector.
Lesley Morris, Head of design skills, Design Council


There is innocence of business in design education that should be improved, but this is insignificant compared to the ignorance of design in business education. I am amazed at the ignorance of business leaders, reliant on market analysis, reactive strategies and compulsive market research that tells them nothing. They know nothing of the importance of design in creating value and attraction, and that ignorance damages the economy.
Clive Grinyer, Director of design, Orange France Telecom

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