Making aesthetic decisions

Linked via Steve Hardy at Creative Generalist, Russell Davies writes about the need for educational institutions to "build creative generalists" that will thrive in a business environment. He specifically mentions his work with the VCU Adcenter, which has created an educational track called Creative Brand Management to blend business skill with an understanding of the creative process in marketing and advertising, what Davies calls aesthetic decision making.

Davies is also critical of bureaucracy in higher education, a thought echoed by Steve when he suggests that goal for those institutions that do manage to get architects and material scientists together seems to be to make them "compete for funding" rather than to collaborate.

Reading those posts, I was reminded of the new MacArthur Foundation Initiative on Digital Media and Learning, and in particular Eric Zimmerman's posts on gaming literacies and Cathy Davidson's "Disciplines and the Future of Thinking" and "Relearning How to Learn."

Releated, Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lists some of the literacies as "play," "performance" and "simulation" in his white paper, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.

Davies is right when he suggests that the combined business and creative skills are a kind of "aesthetic decision making." Better business and design can be had when the cost for failure is virtually non-existent; experiments can fail faster and with more interesting results. The digital literacies being pursued, such as game design, thus shed light on how we learn in a laboratory bigger than anything that has come before.