Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Keeping Pace

I came across a quote today from Brandcenter director Rick Boyko. He said, "We're not teaching from the past at all. . ." He's saying this in reference to Brandcenter's commitment to "develop a curriculum that keeps pace with where the industry is going."

Not teaching from the past. A very simple idea, but extremely difficult to execute. I call it simple because when you think about it, each and every school in existence should not teach from the past. To graduate truly educated people who are current in the latest technology, culture, innovation, business acumen, whatever, it's essential to teach what's current in the industry. Ok, easy.

Very difficult because staying abreast of (forget ahead of) industry changes, then authoring it into a school's curriculum and finally teaching it, may in fact be near impossible. This morning I was complaining how hard it was to keep with all the changes going on in technology. Imagine needing to do the same with advertising curriculum before it becomes obsolete. You'd need to update practically every semester.

A basic example from a few years back is when some schools held tightly to Quark when the entire industry was moving toward InDesign. I'm still shocked when current students tell me they've only learned Quark (ignore the fact the programs are practically identical). When I hear this, I'm less shocked about the student than I am about the school. Keep in mind this is a rudimentary example of a more profound condition.

Being up to date should not be optional in our educational system. Following in Brandcenter's footsteps, not teaching from the past should be everyone's mandate. As a result, every ad school graduate would be a much more productive creative contributor from day one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree in principle. But I also agree there are some fundamentals that are essential to mastering commercial communications -- whether in print or online. Understanding how brands work and their relationships with consumers. Understanding the power of empathy. Knowing how media and creative must fuse together (contact + content). The importance of a clear brand idea (and not just an executional idea). These are essential concepts that all successful advertising people need to understand, whether they are entering the business or veterans of the industry. One cannot dwell on the past, but must learn from it to thrive in the future. As somebody once said to me, there is no such thing as traditional media...only traditional thinking. True.