This week puts a year of undergraduate design school under the covers and turns out the lights.
I’ve learned a lot in the past nine months, some of it what they wanted me to learn, some of it that could only be learned by someone my age spending a semester or two with a bunch of 18-19 year olds fresh out of high school.
If I could only remember one thing I learned this year, it would be the value of process. As an engineer (and before that, a journalist) I was never trained to keep, much less value, the things I created while working towards a solution. Different solutions to technical problems? Erased. Countless whiteboard diagrams? All gone. Meeting notes? Only those that contain the actual solution we derived during a meeting. Drafts of writings? Tossed out as soon as I turned in the final copy.
The trick for me is going to be learning how to translate design process to engineering process. We have process in engineering, we just don’t think of it as process. We consider it waste: bad ideas, wasted time trying to implement various solutions that don’t work, etc. At best we save all our email and can go back to find out what we might have been thinking when we decided to do XYZ or why we didn’t do XYZ’ or why we wanted to do XYZ in the first place.
I probably learned a lot of other stuff, but right now I just want to lie down and sleep for a month or so.