Design Entrepreneurship: Viewing the World Differently

Author: Rebekah DeLine

Works-Like Prototype of Hanger

During the summer term, our Entrepreneurship Master’s Students had an opportunity to take a class from Art, Art History, and Design Professor Michael Elwell.  The course was called Design Entrepreneurship and was an accelerated look at a variety of techniques used to communicate design intent.  The six-week intensive course touched upon a broad range of topics including product development, user experience, works and looks-like prototyping, infographics, and design narrative.

After the class, students reflected upon what they had learned.  One commented, “The design process uses a part of the brain that I'd rarely exercised, and hadn't known I really liked!”  Others were impressed by the breadth of software they were introduced to including Adobe Illustrator, Solidworks, and iMovie.

Final Prototype of Hanger

However what seemed to resonate the most with each of the students was a new appreciation for the design process itself.  Here is just a sampling of what they learned:

  • Well-designed products take time – they arise from understanding authentic human behavior to solve real problem; it is a human-centered design perspective.
  • Human beings are naturally visually-oriented and so images are a powerful way of making a point or creating change.
  • The power of prototyping – many iterations of products or graphics are needed to create something actually useful to a user or reader.
  • Prototyping fights designer assumptions - you can so easily get caught up in your own assumptions, so having extra sets of eyes on a product and many iterations/trials really takes your design to the next level.
  • Great products are not necessarily what is important, but the story behind it is.

Most students seemed to reflect a whole new way of viewing the world and definitely the design-process.  This human-centered approach will forever change the way they view the world.