Professor Yasuyuki Hirai, Special Advisor to the Dean, Faculty of Design, Kyushu University
Kyushu University Innovation Design Next (KID NEXT) is the Faculty of Design’s plan for a global design education research hub. This research hub draws on the education and research characteristics of design, one of the university’s strongest academic fields. As a component of Kyushu University’s 2015 Action Plan, KID NEXT aims to foster science and technology innovators and facilitate innovation, according to the national policy on related issues.
In partnership with a number of the world’s top design educational institutions, we aim to form Japan’s first world-class center of excellence for design education and research.
We will engage in multidisciplinary education and research activities that connect the university with society on three levels, namely, intramural, regional, and international. Through these layers of engagement, the level of achievement of exchange-based activities will be further heightened.
As part of our international partnerships and in addition to sharing information and inviting overseas researchers to our university, we will also participate in a continuous exchange program of students and faculty members with local governments, businesses, and civic organizations. For example, we will arrange the participation of invited foreign students and faculty members in Project-Based Learning. Through this initiative, we hope to develop a cooperative education program and ensure the quality of our design education. Propelled by design thinking approach, we will promote multidisciplinary education and research that will connect our organization to a broad range of sectors in society.
For concrete examples of the three levels of faculty engagement and the center of excellence plan, please refer to Part 8, “Design thinking will change XX”
Organizational Structure Outline
Our global design education research hub comprises five departments (two centers, one laboratory, and two workshops) under the Faculty of Design. In cooperation with the Art, Science and Technology Center for Collaborative Research, research administrators, and other experts in the field, the research hub promotes partnerships and collaborative projects with other parts of the university, local governments, and local and international enterprises.
In academic year 2016, we will move this process forward by simultaneously reorganizing both the education and research hub and associated centers, thereby redistributing resources. Each center was established separately, and lateral relationships among them had been left up to the centers themselves. As the new research hub will bring the two centers together, the relationships between the education and research hub, centers, and projects will be institutionalized.
The “remix” project of Kyushu University and London-based Royal College of Art (RCA), consistently ranked by QS as the top art and design university in the world, is an example of an international partnership within this new structure.
With the theme “design for inclusivity,” the project aims to attain new knowledge that leads to design innovation education by comparing the design education methods of the two educational institutions. Toward this end, both institutions’ faculty members shared their design methods and compared their results in workshops conducted at RCA and Kyushu University’s Ohashi Campus. In October 2015, seven Kyushu University faculty members traveled to London and conducted the first workshop with RCA graduate students of various nationalities and fields of study using an approach based on RCA’s design methods. This year, in February, two faculty members from RCA were invited to Kyushu University to hold a second workshop with a diverse group of students and locals based on the inclusive design method of Kyushu University’s Faculty of Design.
Professor Yasuyuki Hirai
Special Advisor to the Dean, Faculty of Design, and Professor of the Department of Design Strategy
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