Field Reports Designing Minds

On our last day of meetings in Bangalore, we had the pleasure to visit Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology where Geetha Narayanan shared with us a bit of the history of her ground-breaking school and some of the opportunities and challenges facing educators working in India today. Geetha and her team have built a wonderful momentum within their school which has grown from an inaugural class of one single student in 1996 to an enrollment of over 250 today.

A theme that comes up again and again as we visit educators in different countries is the need for designers to be better trained to operate outside the bubble of art and design. It was great to hear Geetha flesh out the term "design education" beyond the training of designers to include something akin to the concept of the embedded designer I described previously. With the collaborative, studio-style approach gaining popularity in all levels of education from primary up through grad school, it's exciting to note that these students are learning new ways to think about and see the world in addition to the content of their various subjects.

To imagine that a pedagogy which uses design to helps students better understand the world could be taking root in one of the planet's most populous countries is an exciting proposition indeed. Being here for a few days has given us time to get only the smallest peek into life in India, but it was enough time to clarify how great the opportunities are for even the smallest of innovations in a place as vast, populous, and talent-filled as this.