Future in creativity

Future in creativity
Mohammad Abdullah, President of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation

As the first cohort of students commence their classes, Mohammad Abdullah, President of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, tells dxbuzz why design is a career option for the future


Suchitra Steven Samuel

Published: Thu 30 Aug 2018, 4:12 PM

The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), has two significant words in the title, which is design and innovation related to Dubai. The MENA Design Education Outlook report 2016 projected that the value of the design industry in the region surpassed $100 billion, with an average 20 per cent increase in design headcount at junior levels over the next two to three years. Based on an analysis with other mature design economies, the region would need design graduates across key streams such as architecture and interior design, fashion design, product design and other design segments to achieve the growth ambition in an indigenous manner.
"This is when it was realised that there is a demand and gap to be filled. The same report also states that 30,000 jobs are yet to be created. These are not the typical kind of jobs that already exist in the market, but new jobs related to design," explains Mohammad Abdullah, President of Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, in an interview at his office located at the Dubai Design District.
"When it comes to innovation in the UAE and Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is supporting and pushing both private and public sectors to lead and rank high in terms of the Global Innovation Index," he explains.
This prompted the need for an academic institution that responds to the demands of both the design industry and also the innovation vision of Dubai and the UAE. "Now what is the best fit for this vision is to have a school in Dubai. UNESCO endorses that Dubai has all the potential and elements to be part of the Global Innovation Index. Cities are selected based on specific criteria in terms of supporting and encouraging art, culture, innovation, and incidentally, all these aspects are related to design. So, combining all these elements, the story of DIDI started, and today we can see a school that the first cohort of students beginning their studies here," Abdullah says.

DIDI is very selective about the type and number of students enrolled. The teacher-student ratio is 1:17 to ensure that the interaction is very smooth, practical and direct when it comes to teaching. "We want to focus on the practical aspects of education. There are general subjects related to design that students have to study, say 40 per cent of theory, and 60 per cent or more of the syllabus is practical. We have the studio and the fab lab to support practical work," he explains.
What DIDI offers is BDes - Bachelor of Design degree, a four-year course, the first-of-its-kind in the region. The programme is firmly embedded in design-thinking and creative problem-solving. The curriculum was prepared in collaboration with two of the most renowned schools in the world - the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Parsons School of Design.
An aspect that distinguishes DIDI from other schools is that it offers cross-disciplinary studies with four majors - Product Design, Multimedia Design, Strategic Design Management, and Fashion Design. Abdullah explains, "In the first year, the students study the general subjects, but from the second year onwards they need to choose two of these disciplines. We are thought to be considered, if not the first, may be one of the few in the world that will allow students this option of multiple disciplines. They can study Fashion with Strategic Design or Multimedia with Product Design, and it is entirely up to them."
DIDI is a private, not-for-profit educational institution. The BDes degree is recognised by the Ministry of Education.
For more information, visit website www.didi.ac.ae

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) has a Creative City Index that rates the city overall. Dubai is the first city in the Middle East to be part of this index for placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of its development plans at a local level and cooperating actively at an international level.
- suchitra@khaleejtimes.com

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