Making Great Career Decisions…..

download (1)We make hundreds of decisions everyday of our life and most of them are relatively easy to manage, however there are times in life, such as making career decisions,  where making a choice is made difficult due to a higher level of uncertainty, complexity and specific consequences that they may have. The fear of making a wrong career decision can often be a reason for putting off thinking about your career in the long term or undertaking a risky strategy that is based on something just ‘turning up’.  It is times like these that having some thinking models/tools to guide your decision making can support you to confidently make good decisions. These tools can  help you to identify and manage risk and implement a realistic plan to turn your decision into an action.

Core to decision making is the ability to research, analysis, make lists of criteria and plan. There are lots of decision making tools available to help you consider your options. One such tool is:

Undertaking A Systematic Approach to Decision Making….. this is a logical, step by step approach. It will help you to address the critical elements that result in making a good decision. By taking this stepped approach,  you’re less likely to miss important factors or rush into making the decision first without considering all the options. There are six steps within this model:

  • Define the situation: As if you are telling a story, write out the particulars of your career planning thus far. What careers have you identified and what has led you to this point? What motivations, skills,  special aptitudes and abilities do you have? Is there a deadline for making your career decision? etc..
  • Generate as many career alternatives as you can:  What is your plan A, B and C for your career? Write down everything that comes to mind, and then look at your list carefully.  Are any of your options totally unrealistic?  If so, cross these off.
  • Evaluate each career choice: List the positive and negative consequences  associated with each career option . When considering pros and cons, think about your most important personal values (i.e. how will you feel about working in a certain career area, can you image yourself working in that environment/job/sector? and considering how your skills, abilities and qualifications match to it.
  • Choose the best career option: After you have carefully evaluated the alternatives, choose between them. Select the best option by identifying the one that contains the highest match to your personal values, motivation and skills.
  • Implementing your career option: Create an action plan in which you seek appropriate support and career resources and set a timeline in motion so that you can act on your decision and reach your career goal. 
  • Assess the outcome: If your career decision turns out to be the right one, think about what worked and why.  If your career decision doesn’t work out – consider what you learned and what you can take to the next opportunity.  

This tool works best when you keep an open mind, record all you thoughts down and have undertaken some career research beforehand to guide your approach.   Once you have undertaken your career decision it can be helpful to talk through your choice with a careers adviser to help you plan your next step.

If you would like to find out more about other career decision tools and how to use them the GSA Career service will be running a ‘Making good career decisions’ session on Wednesday 29th January 2014  4-5pm Bourdon lecture theatre. It would be lovely to see you there!


Dfs Design Foundation Competition…..

Design competition in association with GILES DEACON

Are you a final year design student looking to do an MA?
Enter your sofa design in our competition and you could have your MA tuition fees paid in full*. Plus, the winning design will be manufactured and professionally photographed at DFS’s production studio – and we’ll arrange a 3-month  internship with Giles Deacon. *In any design discipline up to a value of £12,000

DFS is one of the UK’s leading sofa specialists with more than 44 years’ experience of handcrafting furniture here in the UK. In recent years, DFS has embarked on a number of successful design collaborations and, most recently, launched a partnership with renowned fashion  designer Giles Deacon.

With strong shared credentials in British design and the ability to combine the worlds of fashion and home design, DFS and Giles Deacon are the perfect fit for a sofa collaboration.


Thinking about the concept of ‘contemporary urban living’ and all this entails, your challenge is to design a sofa that fits in with the theme of modern life. Think carefully about how you will create a stylish and functional sofa that will sit well in the smaller spaces that are often found in today’s homes.

As the sofa is the focal point of any living room, it should be design-led yet practical. Perfect for contemporary life, your sofa should have both comfort and style at its heart.


  • What trends are influencing furniture design and the wider world of interior design?
  • How will your design balance comfort, functionality and style?
  • Who is your target demographic?
  • How will you demonstrate differentiation from competitor offerings?

Don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with furniture creation – the competition will be judged on great ideas and entries that fulfil the ‘contemporary urban living’ brief. You are not required to design the internal frame of the sofa. If you win, we’ll help you with that element of the design.

Lipgloss sofa by Giles Deacon


Your creative response to the brief should take the form of a minimum of one mood board, plus sketches of your sofa and a series of fabric suggestions. In addition, please provide a one-page written explanation of your:

  • Thought process
  • Research
  • Design inspiration

Please provide your entry as a PDF document, with your name, college and contact details detailed clearly. Hard copies are also accepted.

  • Open to all final year BA students across any design course
  • All applications must be submitted by 31 March 2014
  • Enter via or by post to Krow Communications Limited, 80 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7DB
  • The DFS Design Foundation panel will then shortlist six applicants who will be invited to spend a day with Giles on 24 April, during which they’ll be able to refine their sofa design, receiving expert advice and support along the way.

Creative industries continue to go from strength to strength…

upward-graph-300x225Did you know that the the creative industries is worth £8 million an hour to the UK economy?

This week the Department for Culture, Media and Sport issued a short press release  about the UK Creative Industries. This press release was packed full of data regarding the sector and it is all good news!

  • Growth in the Creative sector for 2012 has been almost 10%. This has significantly out performed the rest of the UK economy.
  • Employment has experienced an increased of 8.6% between 2011 to 2012 and this growth is expected to continue for 2014.

Apart from being really positive news … why is this information important to you as a GSA student?

As a student or new graduate having a good understanding of developments in your sector is core to your professional practice and career  development.    Keeping an eye on the employment activities of your sector (Careers advisers call this Labour market information (LMI)) will help you to gather data and understand; how your sector recruits, types vacancies and opportunities that are available, trends in the market, as well as skills and qualifications required.

This will support you to develop a realistic route to the creative market, make informed career choices  and help you to target your CV to employers and opportunity providers. All of which will give you a competitive edge among other job and opportunity seekers.

Are you currently gathering creative industries LMI? Not sure and want to find out more…come along to the GSA Career service session on Wednesday 22nd January 2014 4-5pm in the Bourdon lecture theatre  and get lots of information on how you can develop your knowledge and support your entry into the creative industries.

Further information:

  • BBC News 15th January 2014:
  • Department of Culture, Media, Sport:
  • DCMS Press Release:

Getting your creativity flowing….

Surprise-fosters-creativityThe start of term  brings many opportunities for starting new projects and briefs. This is a really exciting time as your  curiosity and creativity is sparked by endless possibilities and solutions. But what happens if you find yourself  a little stuck for inspiration or the ideas just don’t flow? Creative block can strike at any time. It can be a really frustrating and difficult place to be, but knowing how to successfully manage it  is key to developing great creative practice.

If you do find yourself creatively ‘blocked’ there are several activities that you can undertake to help you overcome it. These activities include;  seeking advice and support from your course tutor as early as possible,  undertaking lots of research, being open to every possibility and using methods such as  creative problem solving techniques to prompt your imagination.

Creative problem solving tools are strategies that are designed to help you approach a problem in an innovative way in order to solve it.  A good example of a creative problem solving tool is  SCAMPER.

SCAMPER… The idea behind SCAMPER is simple; it is a tool that helps you to ask investigative questions about a problem or idea in order to develop, solve or innovate it. The SCAMPER mnemonic stands for:

  • S: Substitute ( take out or try something different )
  • C: Combine ( bring together different ideas, materials, approaches together)
  • A: Adapt  (what are current solutions to this problem and what can be enhanced, improved, developed)
  • M:Modify (what can you alter or change (colour, shape, size, texture etc) in existing solutions)
  • P:Put to another to use (what other things can it be used for?)
  • E:Elimate (what can be removed, taken out, simplified )
  • R:Reverse (what can be rearranged in some way)

To use Scamper successfully you will  need; a problem that you want to solve or think differently about, time to investigate that problem using scamper tool as a prompt, a recording method to capture all the ideas generated by it and  time to critically reflect and consider which of your ideas are realistic and viable. Find out more about Scamper and its originator Bob Eberle here:

Scamper is just one method of creatively problem solving to find out more about different strategies follow the links provided below.

Looking for more tools to get your ideas following: 

Having some  problem solving strategies to help overcome creative block is really useful as it will mean that you will always have methods to help you move forward within your creative process and is great practice for your future career.  Tom Kelly General Manager of IDEO  describes having 6 strategies to help him in his design practice.Read more from Tom about over coming his creative block  here: 

Finally,  if you are having some problems getting started this term,  your first point of contact for advice and support is your tutor. Always seek support early to ensure that you get the most from your studies. Good luck!