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Kick in the Asterisk* : New Friend Curriculum.

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Design your own friend curriculum.

We put
out a challenge in our last post, perhaps because of some economic frustration
and a desire to get the economic engine working again. Or maybe because of a
latent anxiety existing in our design perspective, seeing everything in need of
improvement. Whatever the motivation, its out there, now we have to do our part
to keep up the conversation.

Here's the start of something. 
My
awareness of the value of a "liberal arts" education was insufficient
when lounging around on the lower quad of campus in my undergrad. Today, I've
realized one of the most brilliant fundamentals to creativity, problem solving
and new ideas is the connection of disparate subjects. If you don't agree with these
fundamentals to creativity, here are two pieces of evidence: first, the BMW Guggenheim Lab on 100
Urban Trends
and second,
a book by Jim Link on the new creativity.
With
this in mind, let's talk about solving big problems. How do we get more people
thinking this way and being creative in their daily lives, no matter their
profession? Short of forcing Jim to give his book away for free, there has to
be a way to get more people aware of how creative they are as human
beings. 
We can
start with our educational institutions and what some of us witnessed in a
presentation by DR Widder at Philadelphia University and
Unilever's Gail Martino. Philadelphia University counters the
specialization that typically happens in graduate studies by forming a collaboration
between the engineering, design and business schools ' exactly what liberal
arts had originally been designed to do. If you missed the presentation, there
were other posts highlighting it and I am certain Professor Widder would be
willing to give you more details on the program if asked.
But
now you're asking yourself: "that's all fine and good Mr. Keller, but what
can I really do? I don't hold the reigns to a large educational institution and
I don't have a zillion dollars to spend either" (yes, that's a
link to the definition for zillion). You can do plenty. The biggest thing you
can do is making new, interesting friends. Yes, making friends.
Making
new friends who are not like you and don't do what you do. That's the
"interesting" criteria. Then, when making these friends, draw
correlations between what you each do for a living. Consider this your
dedication to lifelong learning and meeting new people who do
"interesting" things. 
Now,
if you consider designing your own curriculum for meeting new people, what
would it look like? Perhaps a weekly coffee meeting with someone in a field of
which you know nothing about? And, maybe a different subject matter each month?
Think about the design of your own "creative" curriculum and then
spend a couple hours a week dedicated to meeting new "interesting"
friends in divergent fields. 
Reward
yourself with a weekly infusion of brain stimulation, you'll thank yourself and
perhaps even find a correlation that solves one of the big problems our society
faces today. 
If this is just too much work for you, then just watch this goat video, have a laugh and go back to your day as always.
Thank you for enjoying.

Aaron Keller is an author of two books on design, Design Matters: Logos and Design Matters: Packaging. He is also the co-founder of Capsule, a design innovation firm. He also writes for a variety of blogs from his modest desk and keyboard in Minneapolis, Mn.

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