Whether it is climate change, income inequality or refugee flows, the news confronts us with the growing and increasingly complex challenges humankind is faced with on a daily basis. We have come to conclude that the coping strategies typical of the twentieth-century industrial age are not sufficient to respond to these challenges adequately. It is broadly recognised that interdisciplinary teams with suitable design skills and methodologies offer an effective alternative approach, especially when combined with the upscaling abilities of digital technology. You just have to look at the tremendous influence of Facebook or at how e-commerce and ‘sharing economy’ platforms disrupt entire markets to see how powerful the combination of design and digital technologies can be.
The time has come to apply this potentially powerful combination to the grand environmental, social and political challenges that are facing us. With our mental attitude, rich design tradition and high level of digital connectivity, the Netherlands can play a key role in this endeavour. To that end, nine leading Dutch digital agencies and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) have joined forces to meet the market’s need for educating a new breed of Dutch digital designers: talented professionals who excel at an international level and are inspired by an integrated perspective on ‘people, planet and profit’.
We will encourage students to become leaders in digital design. The expertise needed to create this new leadership can only exist in a networked form, and we need experts in design, education and entrepreneurship – teachers and business executives – to help us create this network. This initiative will not be confined to our own institute and needs input from professionals. We will establish a knowledge hub in digital design.
We are creating a dynamic network, consisting of organisations, agencies, and professionals who are passionate about the strategic importance of design. The AUAS aims to become a hub in this knowledge-sharing network.
The Master of Science in Digital Design is at the heart of this network, educating 24 candidates from all over the globe to become leading makers. Our design studio will be a concrete example of our co-creation philosophy, enabling students, coaches and lectures to co-create and address real-life challenges. Over the course of the Master’s programme, a series of three projects, derived from urgent societal issues, will be proposed to the students as part of their training.
Has digital design a special place in your own organisation? Then join our network, and be our guest at meet-ups and events throughout the year! And, in case you would like to be more involved, we welcome candidacies for lecturers, clients, experts, coaches or key partners to our programme. Our academic director and a committee of lecturers will give their full attention to all proposals and will independently select the most outstanding ones.
We also invite proposals for project briefs. We are looking for challenging and future-oriented problem spaces for our students to explore, to stimulate their creativity and to produce new design knowledge. Each project brief will first be proposed to our project bureau, and then serve as a basis for co-creation between our lecturers and the proponents, who will also have the opportunity to follow the students’ work and their final results.
There are various opportunities to join in:
Step into the network
The network is open to everyone and offers meet-ups, exhibitions and a main yearly event. The bigger events may charge a small entrance fee, but essentially they are open. Follow network events and developments in the social media, the blog, and the newsletter.
Participate in a specific role
Would you like to contribute to our network and share your expertise? Want to get involved as a client, lecturer, coach or expert? Then we invite you to become part of the teaching and learning network. Candidates from outside the AUAS are also welcome to join. Check the various roles or contact Paul Geurts.
If you have any other ideas or suggestions on how to participate, please let us know. We are building the Master in collaboration with the global digital design community, and highly appreciate original ideas and contributions.