The automotive industry is full of people who talk about designing the future, Spencer Chamberlain actually does it. He was part of the inaugural class for the MFA programme at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit in 2011, and “as I went through the programme, it changed me,” he says. “It allowed me to understand what is the importance of brand, and what is the core of a brand.” When Spencer graduated, Joanne Healy (former Dean of graduate studies) directly approached Ed Welburn at GM and encouraged him to consider Spencer. GM actually created the role of senior design strategist and innovation architect for him.
Now he choreographs a multidisciplinary team of research and development, UX design, engineering and marketing professionals to create innovative automotive experiences for tomorrow’s car owners and drivers.
It’s an intense juggling act that requires not only visionary design thinking from conception to execution but a deep understanding of what consumers want and need in today’s (and tomorrow's) globally competitive market.
“The design process is very nebulous, it’s very non-linear,” explains Spencer. “I think understanding that upfront and understanding the process of research definition, ideation, prototyping and testing, and finally trying to scale an idea, commercialise it — I think that’s where the CCS MFA programme has really prepared me.”
The MFA Transportation Design programme at the College for Creative Studies moves well beyond the theoretical and practical skills development that form the bedrock of contemporary graduate design programmes. Graduates also spend two years training side-by-side with internationally recognised industry leaders on design strategy, human-centred research, design execution and presentation, as well as entrepreneurial and business practices.
In short, at CCS, Spencer Chamberlain learned to think holistically about mobility and develop forward-thinking solutions that are both relevant and sustainable.
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