Three key shifts in the design industry that you need to know about

There is always wisdom to be gained from studying the past, but trying to replicate a previous generation’s career paths in the current climate of relentless innovation is clearly misguided. But collaboration is not as easy as it sounds. 02. The first is that we now all have access to   professional tools and resources that will empower us to engage with pretty much any creative task. Words: Fred Deakin
Fred Deakin is a professor at University of the Arts London. Despite the stated specialisms of their respective courses, most students I teach are embracing this possibility and are refusing to classify themselves as   designers, musicians, filmmakers, sculptors or performers, preferring instead to allow their creative instincts to lead them into whichever medium they feel is appropriate. The need for greater collaboration
Collaborative skills are crucial when we consider the second shift. How to prepare for the future
You’ll need some like-minded colleagues, lots of hard work, a damn good idea and   a   bunch of luck, but no generation has had more ability to create its own future. We are in the middle of the biggest cultural and technological revolution in centuries, and anyone who tells you they know what the digital world will look like in six months, let alone six years, is a liar. The shift from specialists to the multiskilled
Specialists will always have their place, but a multi-skilled career will be the norm for the majority. The need for a truly integrated digital element, as well as the constant innovation demanded by a rapidly changing landscape, means that a far wider range of skills is necessary. Working in this way also encourages the ‘T-shaped’ principle originally coined by IDEO. This can be problematic when an   instant solution ignores fundamental design principles, but more often than not genuinely new   synergies emerge. This enables them to collaborate more easily with experts in those other fields. Also watch: the exclusive, online premiere of Fred Deakin and Paul Wyatt’s documentary film, The Workshop
Are you optimistic about the future? There has never been more opportunity: it’s still possible to have a great idea tomorrow and see it change the world within a couple of years by accessing an online audience directly. It is a very exciting time to be a young creative. How can our emerging talent respond appropriately to this situation and how should education be helping them? Alongside a deeply developed core discipline (the vertical line of the T) practitioners also have a basic understanding of a diverse selection of skills (the   T’s crossbar). 03. Fred Deakin, illustrated by Zaneta AntosikIt’s a confusing time to be a young creative. I believe there are three key shifts that need to be considered. Let us know in the Comments below and by tweeting @ComputerArts using the hashtag #DesignMatters He runs Fred Company, specialising in interactive art projects, and co-founded the award-winning design company Airside, which achieved BAFTAs, DAD Pencils and a Webby before shutting its doors in   2012 after 14 years of success. 01. The power to deliver excellence is now beyond the capacity of any   one individual or a single discipline team, and the need to collaborate with others who excel in different areas is paramount for success. Egos need to be left at the door – the age of the rock star designer is fading fast.

Updated: 05.11.2014 — 22:40