Having been out of school for 9+ years, I found it exciting to see that the Institute of Design's intranet allows professors to post assignments, class notes and reference materials online and that students can then submit their assignments. This allows students to look back in archives at previous semesters to see what past students have done for particular class work and what others have submitted for your class.
Well, I quickly noticed the incrediblely well-designed work turned in. I found it funny to compare the elegantly constructed projects, presentations and even written assignments posted by many classmates with my own work. As I fumble around in PowerPoint, Excel and Word - the standard, rough tools of the Fortune 500 - those students with heavy design backgrounds were working in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop.
Rather than getting down about my assignments with "two left feet" I was actually jazzed about it for one simple reason - it reminded me why I'm here. As Dan Pink points out in "A Whole New Mind," this isn't a left brain sucks, right brain rules argument, or vice versa. It's using the whole gray mass together to create, build and delight. I'm at ID to improve my design-centered thinking to complement my decade of business-centered thinking. And the design-centered thinkers are here to enhance their business-centered thinking. I may struggle with design at this point, but there are surely designers wrestling with financial topics, product positioning, customer segmentation and the like.
So, as I look at our posted assignments I see two groups that complement and will eventually go from an overlapping Venn diagram of different styles to one whole circle. How cool is that!?