Introducing the UT Center for Integrated Design

Doreen Lorenzo
2 min readMar 8, 2016

As another South by Southwest descends upon Austin, it’s an exciting to be a member of the creative community here. Today the University of Texas at Austin announces my appointment as their new Director of the Center for Integrated Design. I look forward to working with the staff and faculty at UT to create a first-of-its-kind design program at a public university, teaching students to work and think in a truly multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary way.

I’ve been working in the innovation, creative, and design spaces my whole professional career. I’ve managed creative teams for most of that time. The major lesson I’ve learned is that my job has less to do with generating ideas or coming up with breakthrough innovations, than fashioning and motivating a team of talented individuals. The most important assets in the creative business are individuals and their ability to work together as a team. There are very few products or services that are created by a single person. It takes the collective knowledge and talents of engineers, software developers, business people and designers to bring to market a product that will meet a true customer need.

I’ve interviewed and hired many students right out of college and discovered that the dynamic of team problem solving is not something taught at most universities. University departments tend to be silos with only tenuous connections among each other. A university can produce a stellar mechanical engineer, but that person often will likely never have worked with a product designer, a marketer, or an accountant. In the world or business and commerce, no one works in a vacuum.

For years I have wanted to be part of a university that understood the difference between acquiring technical skills and putting those skills to work to achieve success in the marketplace. Now I have that opportunity at UT. I am honored and humbled to be the new Director of the Center for Integrated Design. This is an opportunity for the school to more vigorously prepare its students for the work they will do once they graduate and thus make them more highly sought after in an increasingly interdisciplinary job market.

I see it as an exciting and challenging opportunity to bring together departments within the university, creating a comprehensive approach to designing products and services. We will be teaching students the higher-level skills needed to solve problems and succeed in a marketplace where systems thinking is a necessary requirement not just in business, but in government and public policy, healthcare, education, and cities. Ultimately this is bigger than design itself; the world doesn’t just need better products and services, it needs people with the experience, the vision, and the courage to make the world a better place.

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Doreen Lorenzo

Leader of global creative firms, Co-Founder of Vidlet, Director of the Center of Integrated Design — University of Texas, Austin. leadership columnist