Why designers must learn to think for themselves

Great (and critical towards (higher) education) essay by William Dereziewicz about the challenge of becoming original thinker in a culture (such as university), which appreciates following of orders. Dereziewicz is talking about USA and to a military graduates, but I find the following quote alarmingly accurate description of small but increasing group of  design students who, instead of wanting to think for themselves, demand detailed guiding towards a “right” solution.

We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place. What we have now are the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen, people who have been trained to be incredibly good at one specific thing, but who have no interest in anything beyond their area of exper­tise. What we don’t have are leaders.

What we don’t have, in other words, are thinkers. People who can think for themselves. People who can formulate a new direction: for the country, for a corporation or a college, for the Army—a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things. People, in other words, with vision.

 

(Solitude and leadership, The American scholar)

Academic first draft in a month

You probably know NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, which is originally American but now global challenge for aspiring writers to write 50 000 word novel during November. For couple of years there has been a similar challenge for academics, called Ac(Bo)WriMo. I find the idea excellent and while it is rare to be able to write an academic book in a month, I highly recommend anyone doing a thesis to give it a try. Think about it: your first draft in just a month! See outline, instructions and writing tips in Announcing AcWriMo (PhD2Published)