In March 2013 creative consultant Michael Wolff took up the position as the inaugural Design Indaba Visiting Professor at the Cape Peninsula Institute of Technology.
For Wolff, being a designer is about changing and improving things. At CPUT he worked with students, helping them to enliven their ideas and projects.
He found that students’ interest in design is stronger than the interest in what design does, something that he often observes among students.
The antidote to this limitation in design thinking, Wolff believes, is curiosity, imagination and creativity: “For me it is all about imagination and creativity. So if you don’t have a pretty strong and profound curiosity and an appreciation of people and what situations they are facing in their lives, then it is very hard to be imaginative.”
Wolff adds: “Your imagination is usually a response to something you want to change.”
Design skills are a crucial part of the education system, Wolff believes. Here he talks about the important role the creative community has to play in a country’s economy, especially in terms of the value they are able to add.
“People are naturally creative and intelligent and they are naturally responsive and concerned,” says Wolff. He adds though that these characteristics are not always integrated into thinking what your work is for.
“It’s almost as if design is some sort of separate skill from living and in a way it isn’t, it’s a way of expressing who you are,” Wolff believes.
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