Is design thinking the new liberal arts?
Last semester I taught simultaneous video-linked seminars with my friend and colleague Michael Shanks. I’m a historian working in New York City at the Bard Graduate Center. He’s a classical archaeologist teaching at Stanford. The course focused on the practices developed by early modern antiquarians to study artifacts from the past that lived on into the present, and argued that those same methods could be used today by designers interested in the experiences people have with objects. Michael teaches in the d.school in Stanford and brought design thinking into our classroom in New York. By the end of the semester I was fascinated enough to head out to Palo Alto to immerse myself in the ways of the d.school. What I discovered got me thinking about more than design thinking. A very important experiment in humanities higher education is going on.