How I Teach - Reflecting on 15 years in design education
by Jon Kolko

Chapter 2: Foundational Skills

I’ve built several academic programs at different schools. Some focused on design strategy, and included classes in ways to shape corporate vision, while others were grounded in industrial design fundamentals (like making beautiful objects). But they’ve all shared common types of skill development—common design subject matter that I feel should be part of any design program (and probably any educational curriculum at all). These subjects include contextual research, design synthesis, service design, product management, and usability evaluation. For me, these are the new “foundations”—the things that act as the bedrock for any type of design education.

Let’s look at a way to structure each of these topics in your own curriculum.

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