Dirt! When is the last time THAT was the part of any design challenge you were given? Better yet, when was the last time anything digital was NOT part of your design workflow? Before you count that 30-minute bathroom ideation session as the trigger that sparked the latest round of innovation, there’s a new event taking place that is setting the stage for a more natural, outdoorsy approach to design thinking. SHIFT Design Camp is the brainchild of the students and faculty at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). The goal is to get you out of the office and under the stars, away from the technological barriers, exploring the world and working with like-minded students and professional to attack design challenges with the perspective that only one week of roughing it can provide.

Collaborate in the woods

Owen Foster, Professor at SCAD, filled us in on this unique event. SHIFT Design Camp is designed as a week long activity that takes you through different exercises with other design students, faculty and professionals. The focus is on exploration, the analog and working with others on discovering solutions without the use of computers. Besides the daily activities and design challenges, you’ll have a lot of time to get out and hike, swim, explore or network *ding*, so pack a jacket, bug spray, sleeping bag and perhaps your latest portfolio to join those other students and professionals for a little refresher.

SHIFT is a summer design camp which started creating awareness of at the IDSA Southern District Conference. SHIFT is an outdoor design camp for the maker in all of us. SHIFT aims to re-frame the routine of our daily lives as designers, and reignite the playful nature of the design community. Using physically and mentally challenging activities, students and professionals will be brought together in an nontraditional way to break the boundaries in networking and create long-lasting relationships. SHIFT has the potential to strengthen the design community by bringing a new perspective on networking and educating. As students, we often do not get to interact with students outside of our own school. By coming together, we can share skills and help strengthen each other to make a better future for the design community. We want to challenge ourselves to use our skills, not our reliance on technology, by designing with more primitive tools to ultimately SHIFT the way we think about design.

This is an absolutely brilliant idea and we hope to see more of these outdoor, no-tech approaches to problem solving start up around the world. The event takes place June 10-15th, 2013 in Appalachian foothills of Tuscumbia, AL at the Seven Springs Lodge. You can register here. Here, Owen fills you in on what SHIFT is all about and what you can look forward to…

YouTube video


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.