PD for ID – It’s about manufacturing - Maynard
Professional development

PD for ID – It’s about manufacturing

According to the ONS, the UK’s creative sector continues to outpace the wider economy in both jobs added and economic growth. Within the creative industry, design leads the way. Employment in the design industry increased the most of any creative sector, adding 17.7% more jobs between 2011 & 2013, and while design remains a small sector of the overall creative industries, it continues to grow proportionally faster than any other.

So how to stay at the forefront of this competitive and intensifying market?

As a small consultancy in a competitive field, Maynard’s core strength has always been its people, and key to increasing staff wellbeing and professional satisfaction is ongoing professional development. The NHS includes learning as one of their ‘5 steps to mental wellbeing’ – drawing direct correlations between learning throughout life, and greater satisfaction and optimism. With that goal at heart, Maynard actively encourages staff to engage in ongoing learning through regular CPD (Continuing Professional Development).

Continuing Professional Development

As an industrial designer, one of the most useful forms of CPD (and, happily, one of the most enjoyable) is upskilling with regard to materials and manufacturing processes. A sound knowledge of manufacturing is a fundamental aspect of any industrial designer’s skill set, a fact acknowledged by MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito (in this interesting conversation with John Bruner over on Forbes) – “Understanding manufacturing is going to be key to design, just like understanding the Internet has become key to running a company”.

Happily, a certain amount of fine tuning of this ‘understanding’ happens organically through the very process of doing the job of an industrial designer. Projects involve a certain amount of engaging directly with manufacturers, which inevitably involves gaining greater knowledge of the processes they undertake, or invest in, for the project. The development of products for Crossrail has certainly had this effect for my colleagues and I, as well as, in many circumstances, for the various manufacturers we have worked with.

In addition to this in-job mode of professional learning, some enlightened manufacturers take it into their own hands to educate their upstream specifiers. I recently attended one such course run by aluminium products producer Sapa. The course was brilliant – run over 2 days, and including lectures on aluminium, the extrusion process, designing for profiles, post-processing and finishing. In addition, in-depth tours of their facilities provided opportunities to witness processes which traditionally happen behind the scenes. While the course undoubtedly had a marketing benefit for the provider, it was also a fantastic learning opportunity, widening my manufacturing knowledge and providing a coveted chance to get out from behind my desk and into a factory.

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