Describing What We Learn at ID: Kim Erwin

by Irene Loomis

This is the second installment in a series of responses from many ID professors.

As a student at ID, I am always meeting new people who are curious about what I am studying. The answer is very different if I am talking to my Grandma, a new acquaintance, or a designer.

To find out how ID Professors describe what they teach to non-designers, I have started asking for responses to a sitation that we all find ourselves in.

Here's the scenario:

You are at a party at your neighbor's house. You start talking to a stranger who asks "what do you do?" You say that you are a Professor at the Institute of Design. The stranger asks "what is taught at the Institute of Design?"

Professor Kim Erwin wrote:

"The Institute of Design is a graduate only program that teaches innovation methods to help industries figure out what ought to come next. This can include helping healthcare companies think about what to do with patient-generated data or even what fast food companies can do to help make their service experience more delightful and therefore competitive. We have a bias towards putting customers at the center of the problem space, and then apply relevant design methods to develop and demonstrate a future state that we think is better than what exists today. 

"Pretty much what I say, although if everyone's eyes are not glazed over in boredom, I add my example of hanging cameras in McDonalds' front counter systems to better understand the customer experience. Everyone's been to McDonalds, and they get this."


Next week's installment: Marty Thaler!