Have you ever spent time just learning how to think? I believe every strategist should. I was lucky enough to do that when I studied a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg. I discovered that everything is human-centered and I started on the path to critical thinking, but learning scenic design and studying the empathetic techniques of Stanislavskian theories has proven to be a foundation of my experience design career.
For 3 years I studied subjects that demonstrated how creativity stems from human will and the ability to understand the will of a society; a major in Theatre Studies and History of Art and years of undergraduate subjects like Fine Art, Philosophy and Literature. Even though many of the creative geniuses I studied were insular and self-focussed, they communicated thoughts that shaped our environments and the way in which we process the world around us. In particular, my hero in empathetic theory, Constantin Stanislavsky, who I have since written about in relation to UX.
But the most important thing I learned came from J.M Coetzee, who spoke at our graduation. After being constantly teased about a B.A. standing for ‘bugger all’ and not providing us with marketable skills, he set the world to rights by saying ’It takes an afternoon to learn business skills. It takes at least 3 years to learn how to think.’ It was then that I started to believe in my ability to strategise.