Choosenick. Notes and observations on service design, as well as other interesting things/thinking. By Nick Marsh.

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RDI Summer School at Dartington: Reflections

I took part in the RDI summer school this year. It was one of the most remarkable experiences of my design career to date. I met some very inspirational people including RDI's Kenneth Grange, David Gentleman, Max Fordham and Terence Woodgate, as well as some other really interesting and inspiring fellow summer schoolers.

Photo by Alistair Hall

Organised by Chris and Ed of Expedition the Royal Designers for Industry Summer School was an inspiring opportunity to reflect on my design practice, learn about a wonderful range of other design thinking and creativity going on in the UK and beyond and think long and hard about the designers responsibilities towards the wider world.

Chris and Ed introduced us to a range of inspiring provocations - three beautiful ice monoliths, an intriguing self assessment exercise, two deeply inspirational films and many other smaller activities designed to make us think, reflect and understand our roles as designers in a wider context than the next deadline.

Photo by Alistair Hall

As is always the case with a good event like this, the conversations round the edge were the most interesting - I got to learn about optimising jet engine design, developing effective municipal bicycle systems, how the intercity 125 nose cone came to be, how to hand draw the internal wiring for a 1000 apartment block (very carefully is how), how the investment climate in Russia is shaping up following the Georgian war and much much more.

Of course, everyone was very interested in this 'service design' thing, although it was inspiring and reassuring to see that there was one other self proclaimed service designer on the course, Jonas from Participle, as well as several other people who were aware of the discipline.

In all, the weekend was one of the most thoughtful experiences I've had - a challenging, ambitious, creative bunch of people holed up in what was once an artists commune was always going to be fun, but I found myself constantly surprised by the level and intensity of discourse on offer. As I said before, a remarkable weekend, recommended to anyone who cares about good design and wants to meet other people who do to.

You can read more reflections on the summer school from Alice Casey, and you can check out Alistair Hall's flickr photos of the event here, and you can listen to the RDI's themselves in these podcasts.

September 16th, 2008 / Tags: event / Trackback / Comments