Kendall gives support for DWM

November 26, 2008
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Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University recently announced its support of Design West Michigan alongside Lakeshore Advantage and The Right Place Inc.

“One of the things that higher education institutes and Kendall in particular tries to be responsive to is preparing people for the professional world; for jobs that exist, but also for jobs that are being created,” said Dr. Oliver Evans, president of Kendall College. “Key right now to the economy is the idea of innovation — the bringing of design thinking, which is a critical part of innovation, to bear on business beyond just the designing of products, but really the way of thinking about the process of creating new ways of doing business.”

Evans said that in the past colleges have been working in one direction and economic development moves parallel. His hope for the partnership with DWM is to bring those two forces together and create a new type of economic thinking in the region.

“I think that that’s a critical part of why collaborating with Design West Michigan is important to us,” said Evans. “One of the things that we’re really thinking about is what does design education look like as we go forward? One of the great things about John Berry (director of DWM) and Design West Michigan is that they can bring to that discussion a wide range of points of view and levels of expertise. Engaging with that kind of conversation I think is going to be critical for us in the next few years.”

Kendall will be providing financial support for a variety of activities such as the second regional designers gathering being held on Dec. 2. The event will bring together three different editors to discuss the media’s coverage of the relationship between design and economics.

Also, Kendall will continue to support the Business Academy by Design West Michigan. The Academy educates non-designers in design thinking. The third collaborative effort between DWM and Kendall is to begin the conversation of “what does design education look like? How do we design education so that it really does become what it needs to be as the economy changes and as business changes,” said Evans.

He said the financial support was agreed upon by the board of trustees. Each activity will garner a different amount. The initial relationship will go through June 2009.

“I’m contemplating that it’s going to be successful,” said Evans. “The relationship will be one that Design West Michigan and Kendall will want to continue.”

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