Podcast
S4: E21

Delve Talks: Hector Silva, Advanced Design

Delve Talks is a podcast that digs into the challenges around design, product development, leadership, and innovation.

In this episode, Dave and Stef speak with Hector Silva, the founder of a design education nonprofit called Advanced Design that, since 2016, has gone viral. Their programming seeks to disrupt professional development in the field of industrial design service, and if you have designers on staff, chances are they’ve heard the name before. It’s working.

Dave and Stef talk with Hector about:

  • The gap between design education and real-world practice
  • How design has changed from “form giving” to strategic weapon
  • Mental health and diversity in the design industry.

Transcript

Dave Franchino

Welcome, and Hello, everybody. Thanks for joining us. Once again, this is Dave Franchino. And as always, I'm joined by my co-host, co-collaborator and business partner Stef Norvaisas who is Delve's Vice President of Strategy. And for those of you who know us, my background is in engineering, and Stef's background is in the social sciences and cultural anthropology. So we really are passionate about the field of innovation, but we tend to approach it from a different perspective. And today, we're going to be tag teaming some conversations with a really fascinating guest. I'm really honored to introduce Hector Silva, who is in 2016 founded a nonprofit that really, I think probably the best description, has gone viral since then. We're going to ask him to tell us a little bit more about it. It's called Advanced Design. And it's it's really working, I think, to disrupt professional development in the field of industrial design. If you have designers on staff, you can ask them and chances are, they're gonna know about it, have heard about it. So some pretty humble beginnings that I think will want to ask a little bit about kind of a sketching workshop at the University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana. And it now is really, I think, probably best described as an educational platform that's reaching a community of students and design professionals, all around the globe. It's programming in a variety of different formats. And impressively, Hector was able to do all of that during the pandemic, launching a program that seeks to close the gap between what designers have traditionally learned in school and what they need to know to kind of be successful in the professional environment. So we're going to talk a little bit about that, the gap, and get his perspective on innovation. Hector, thank you so very much for making the time to join us and welcome to Delve Talks.

Hector Silva

Thank you so much. It's my pleasure.

Dave Franchino

Yeah, maybe for our guests. I know, I gave you kind of a bit of a background from what I know of you and your background. But maybe you can fill that in with a little bit about your personal journey. You know, what, what motivated you to become involved in the field of design? And then design education as well?

Hector Silva

Sure, yeah. Well, I think what motivated me to get into the field of design was just being a problem solver. I think, that doesn't really require a design degree. I think as humans, it is in our nature to solve problems. And since I was a kid, that's what I did. And I actually wanted to be an architect. So I talked about it all the time. And, you know, my older brother is in education. He's a teacher, and he has pretty big influence in some of my decisions. And when I was at a point of my life where I was working long hours, I just felt like I was on this carousel doing the same thing over and over again. And I was looking for meaning and purpose. And that's when I pivoted into education, when I found that, hey, maybe I can shift my experience and help others. And that's kind of how I got into education.

Dave Franchino

Very cool. Hector, kind of a common thread that spans throughout your work is this, I guess I'll call it maybe a mission to bridge the gap between design education and what you think is required within the business world. And I'd like to dive into that a little bit more. Probably that complaint or observation can be raised about a variety of industries, certainly prevalent in design. Tell me a little bit about your perception of the gap. Does it really exist? Is it a big gap? A little gap? Is it unique to design? Or does that affect all areas of innovation? What makes design and the gap between educational knowledge and practice unique in your mind?

Hector Silva

Yeah, it definitely exists. There's, there's definitely a gap there. And as someone who has been teaching, for the last six years or so, I can tell you that the gap is pretty big, and it's very healthy. What I've experienced as an educator is that, um, a lot of things in education are being prioritized over others, and even in innovation. At some institutions or organization, I feel like they're not able to forecast what is needed for their students to break into industry. And so therefore, they're not able to strategically adapt and change their curriculums to reflect this so that their students can succeed. And that's just from my personal experience. And then talking to other educators, a lot of institutions and other organizations move rather slowly and, as you know, industry moves quite quickly, almost complete opposite of how, you know, education moves. So by the time education does catch up, they're already three or four steps behind. And that's why continuously students struggle to transition and break into the industry because they're not being taught the right things. They don't have the right resources or things that they're are being taught are outdated by the time that the school teaches them. So yeah, the gap is pretty big. And I think the pandemic actually made it quite bigger.

Stefanie Norvaisas

I think that's really interesting. And it feels so true across so many different industries, but especially, I think, for design and for innovation. And I'm wondering, you talk a little bit about the role that education plays in that dance of being a little bit slow, maybe a "little bit" is generous, being slow to adapt and adopt and change their curriculum in a timely way. Can you talk a little bit about what you see the role of business in that dance? In terms of just how that plays out? I think I'd be interested in hearing that.

Hector Silva

Yeah, absolutely. Like business, as far as design goes, honestly, it's not even in the picture. I think sometimes education kind of takes business for granted, which is really funny, because in design school, we live in this bubble, we show our students how to be really good in a very technical aspect, but we almost never bring up business. And in industry, in real world, design is small compared to the business of design. And the business aspect of things should be the foundation of how we teach design. So what I would say is, those two things should be one. And it should begin at a foundational level and in school, so that students can transition into industry. And they know the economics of design, they know the business of design. And unfortunately, a lot of schools just don't even have the capacity to teach that. Because they don't have the right educator or the right person to be available to teach that type of education.

Stefanie Norvaisas

Speaking of the industry, like do you feel like they're reaching across the gap towards you at all.

Hector Silva

it's definitely a two way street. What I've noticed is industry kind of points the finger at education, education points the finger at industry. Industry is like, you know, it's the school's fault, because they're not preparing our students. And, you know, vice versa. There's a lot of great educators and great institutions that are trying to change this, and they're fighting the good fight the same thing with industry. But that number is so small, that it's really hard to ignore the 90% that are not doing that. I'm sure. You know, like, for example, a very good example of that is the DEP program and the University of Cincinnati. They're they have a wonderful structure with their co-op program and how they, they work in tandem with, you know, companies and studios. There's other schools that are doing amazing work, I don't want to discredit them. But unfortunately, it is extremely small. And it's really hard to just ignore the big problem.

Dave Franchino

So let me dive into that a little bit. One of the things as an engineer that I found fascinating in the last 15 years, Hector, is how the expectations and potential of people in the field of design has grown and expanded dramatically. I'm old in so I'm old enough to remember when the perception of designers was more as kind of form givers. And of course, what we've seen is how design has become a strategic weapon for firms. And it's all about you know, the users experience, about intuition, about passion, emotion, excitement, but now also a business and viability and feasibility and technical feasibility. Is it possible to teach all of those things to a designer and have them leave with the skills they need to be really excellent at their craft? Or is that an overwhelming proposition?

Hector Silva

It is definitely an overwhelming proposition. I mean, you can go to the perfect design school and still not learn everything in four years. Honestly, I think the best way for a school to really do their best to to do as much as they can, is not only have this progressive curriculum, but also offer mentorship, offer an opportunity where they're able to open their doors to the outside world because that's where students are going to learn. The school doesn't necessarily have to offer everything, but they should offer almost like this open forum where outside stakeholders are able to then come in and do that organic work where students are learning from other resources outside of the academic setting.

Dave Franchino

Interesting, at the risk of getting you in trouble if there's all of these new skill sets that have to be taught ethnography, business user experience, are there things that are still being traditionally taught to designers that aren't that important in today's day and age? Or is it literally just there's more that we have to pack into these students curriculums before they they're ready to really perform at a high level?

Hector Silva

Yeah, that's a very good question. And one that I have to think about a little bit, but I think the latter. As the designer continues to evolve, I think there's just a lot of content that, you know, we there's just a lot of things that are happening, a lot of emerging technologies, that designers just feel like they have to be ready, right, you want to be a jack of all trades, I suppose. And there's just not enough time to do that. I think there's a really long list of things that just keep adding every year, right? Um, I feel with, again, this emergent technologies with AR and VR and everything that comes with that, when I was in school, I didn't have a video in my portfolio or a Kickstarter, and now students, you know, are diving into so many different areas of design. And, yeah, I think you just have to be a really good person and be really good at utilizing some of these tools to tell your story. You don't necessarily have to be perfect at everything that exists.

Dave Franchino

What would you say to the design student, and I suspect there are some out there that just, you know, just wants to focus on form giving or design and maybe isn't as appreciative of the kind of overall ecosystem or landscape that we collectively or you think that designers need to operate? And what would you tell a student who's like, Hey, I just want to design; all the rest of this stuff just seems unnecessary? Yeah, maybe you don't get that that often.

Hector Silva

Yeah, I mean, I would just say, you know, whatever you do, just make sure that it's meaningful, and that, you know, that it has purpose, because if it doesn't, then it shouldn't exist.

Dave Franchino

That's really powerful.

Stefanie Norvaisas

Just to build on that, um, that I wanted to ask about sort of your take on the social responsibility of the role of a designer, you sort of hinted at that in your last comment, and I was wondering if you wanted to build on that at all?

Hector Silva

Yeah, absolutely. Social responsibility as in, can you give me some examples of

Stefanie Norvaisas

Yeah, just as desires were, our job is to create the future. And, you know, no matter which aspect of design you're involved in, that's a big sort of cultural and social responsibility. And I was wondering if you have a point of view on that, or if that comes up in any of like, ethics of design or anything like that, or just what your thoughts were around that topic?

Hector Silva

Yeah, absolutely. I think like a lot of the things that we're learning, you know, sustainability, there's a lot of these. Things are happening that some schools might understand that might not understand what they mean, or they might be buzzwords. But I think social change and, as we train the next generation of designers, this has to be part of the DNA of how we train them and how we teach them. Because decisions now and what you're designing matter, more now than ever, as we send designers into the world, and they're going out and going to be responsible for creating objects, physical objects, utilizing resources that we might not need or have. And I think ethics absolutely is one thing that should be ingrained in the business of design, and how does that work also economically, right. So I absolutely do strongly believe that that is something that this new designer that comes out of school in the next four years, should be well aware of how that functions

Dave Franchino

act. One thing that I find really impressive, and I'll encourage all of our listeners to visit Advanced Design's website to learn more about the design education that they're providing is that in addition to your focus on continuing design, into education, and mentorship, you've also been using Advanced Design as a platform to bring awareness to a variety of issues in the design community, which often are sort of avoided within the academic environment—mental health, politics, diversity. Tell me a little bit about your decision to embrace some of those sensitive issues head on with your designed communities. Does that reflect your own personal aspirations, the desires of your student, or where does that come from?

Hector Silva

Yes. So that actually came from our internal team. How our organization works, everyone on our team has equity in the nonprofit. And if you're passionate about something, you propose an idea. And we get around that idea, and we make it a reality. So someone on our team was very fascinated, and then very passionate about the human aspect of design that I think we sometimes forget, as designers or creative people, we forget that we are human. And then we go through these stages of, you know, ups and downs, and we never talk about it, especially in the age of social media, people think that someone's life is perfect. And we tend to compare ourselves with people. And we don't like to be honest, or we don't like to be vulnerable. And I think we started doing this work about two years ago, to tell our audience that it's okay not to be okay. And it's okay to seek help. And again, it's really funny because we go to school, and they teach us how to design for other people and how to be human-centered. And we forget that we're part of that equation. And so we've had wonderful events, very intimate events. This was prior to pandemic, and also during the pandemic, we host these small events. And, you know, everyone signs a confidential agreement, and we get very honest and vulnerable and people are able to share and we offer, you know, resources. We ourselves are not certified professionals, but we offer resources and links so that people can get help if they need to. But it's a topic that I think it's important to talk about. And then in the last year, with everything that was happening as far as our culture and our political turmoil that was happening here. It's something that you just can't ignore. And it's something that we also bring up. And we're very transparent about that.

Dave Franchino

To build upon that, yeah, I couldn't help but notice that your website specifically talks about mental health as a focus area, which I think is so important and very brave. And I'm just kind of curious how we can work to de-stigmatize mental health in the workplace and in the educational environment, from your perspective. And also just get your thoughts on sort of the healthy balance between stress and pressure that has historically been part of the design education process, the you know, I think the phrase that was often used was break people down to build them up. But you know, at what point does that become unhealthy? And how can you promote a healthy balance of stress and pressure, and work life, both in the educational environment? And then what would you do in the professional environment as well?

Hector Silva

Yeah, absolutely. A great question. I think as educators who are running a program, it really begins at that level. The one thing I couldn't really compare this to is my personal experience when I was in school as a student, you know, my classmates would brag about pulling all nighters, like it was a thing. Like it was a like you were going to champion the nights. And if you weren't up, you were like a loser, I guess, right. And now that I think about that, now that I'm on the other side of the table, as an educator, when I was working at these different institutions, I would propose to the educators you know about these deadlines, and really lowering the guard of expectation and let the student have so much autonomy and kind of just beta test that, like, let's see what happens. And believe it or not, students go above and beyond when they have all the time in the world to really focus where they don't have to, you know, do things in 24 hour turnaround, or they don't have to pull all nighters or when or when you have educators, telling the students like, you know, this is due tomorrow, 9am, figure it out, pulling all nighters if you have to, like when that comes from someone in a position of authority, it can be extremely overwhelming and intimidating and just degrading. And it begins with those people. Instead of them being in a position of authority. They should be in a position of support, the students should look to them to say, hey, like, I got your back, you know, take your time. And that's how it should be. It reminds me of when and this is going to be a really weird analogy, but it reminds me of when parents are pushing their kids for very specific discipline like, Oh, you need to be a doctor when you grow up. Or you are going to be this and that, and if you push kids to do that, the kids are going to rebel. And they're probably not going to do that. But if you give the kids the freedom to fly, they're going to have the happiest life and maybe they'll become a doctor. So

Stefanie Norvaisas

I really appreciate that point of view, it really resonates with me. It's the whole notion of perfectionism. And I really feel that being called into question about what lengths we go to for this notion of perfectionism. And why that is. But to follow up on that a little bit, how do you prepare them for a business environment that may not give them that opportunity? Or may not give them that type of support? How do you help them manage that transition? And maybe they'll get lucky and they'll go to an organization or they will seek out an organization? It's not like that, but just interested in hearing about that.

Hector Silva

Yeah, no, absolutely. Great question. I think as the educators or support team are helping students to become better designers, they definitely have to be very honest and transparent of how the real world works, right? Yeah, there are some agencies and studios and companies that are a little more lacks, and do have these policies in place to support the employees? And unfortunately, some don't. And that's just part of you being honest with your students. Are you being honest with your mentee about what to expect? And if someone finds themselves in a situation where they work for an agency that is always moving and breathing, design and innovation 24/7, then you have to have a different conversation. How do you kind of adapt to this environment in a way that is still healthy for you? I think there's always some type of medicine for anything, anything is possible. And what I mean by medicine, I'm not talking about like actual drugs, I'm talking about there's an answer. And there's a solution to any type of environment. And, you know, know that there has been hundreds of people that have come before you that have been in the situation before, this is nothing new, for sure.

Dave Franchino

I really think you're to be admired and should feel very proud of the work that you're doing in that area. I think it's so critical and so important. And you are right, I think we create a lot of unhealthy behavior. There's a lot of areas, I think, where the organization you've created is very remarkable. And one area is the diversity of your team. Your team, Hector, is remarkably diverse in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, in an area where so many design firms still struggle with diversity, that you were able to accomplish it. So why and how?

Hector Silva

Yeah, no, I appreciate that. Why, because, you know, design is not a regional thing, you know, like, design doesn't happen in Chicago, or specifically New York—design is a global thing. So why not get around a group of people who are from different cultures and different perspectives. If you're going to understand design, you got to get around, and chase perspective and chase, you know, experience. Diversity should be in the DNA of a company from the get-go. So like that you don't have an issue later on. Like in 2020, where a lot of social and justices were happening, and then companies were splattering that black cube everywhere, it's showing support for diversity. You know, it's easier to put a bandaid on something, but it's harder to really have diversity be part of your, your, your DNA from the get-go. And so that's the way that I see it, you know, design is global, you know, there's a lot of things happening, a lot of moving pieces around the world. So you need to get around people from all over the world. And that's how you'll have perspective and, and empathy and you're able to really understand how people work, especially if you're working at an innovation company like yourself, if you have a client from around the world, and you're designing for a demographic around the world, it doesn't make sense if one of your designers has never left the five mile radius of where they live, and they have no idea how to help the people there. Right. So I think yeah, I think diversity should be one of the core pillars in innovation. It's just there's, there's no way to ignore it.

Dave Franchino

So what challenges would you have for me and in my design team, when we fall short of our own aspirations in the area of diversity, what are the the tough words we need to hear or the courage we need to embrace in order to make that a reality within our firms?

Hector Silva

Yeah, I mean, I think you know, something that's that's tough. I think you're doing it now is is just being self aware. You know, there's a difference between not knowing what you're doing something wrong and being self aware and then trying to actively change that and in 2022 not knowing that you're doing something wrong, that's not an answer that you should be hearing from anyone. And being self aware. And then just understanding how you can bring people from different diverse backgrounds. And it's difficult, it's it's difficult, it's not something that will happen overnight. But I think the reason why we're having trouble with diversity now, a lot of it has to do with economic and social structures, opportunities that are not given to people of color. And then that's just my experience, I always say that education is the most elitist thing in our country, because you have to have a lot of money to go to school, even if it's a bad school, you have to be you have to have money to be part of this elite club or exclusive club. If you don't have money, you have to borrow money. And that debt can hurt you when you leave school. And it could almost disrupt your trajectory as a designer. So a lot of people, usually, people of color, or people from different backgrounds don't go to school because of these expensive opportunities. And therefore you do that times 50-100 years, the majority of our industry is, you know, caucasian. And that's just the equation that we have to live with. But 2022 education is becoming more affordable, it's becoming more accessible. I think a lot of companies are starting to realize that you don't necessarily have to come from a four year institution to be a good creative person. And a lot of companies like Google and Tesla, and all these really big companies, Amazon, Apple, are not even requiring certain diplomas to be a part of their organizations, and other organizations are creating educational platforms for people to have accessibility because I honestly do believe that education will solve our world's problem, whether that be homelessness or poverty, or whatever it is, it really does come down to education. Yeah.

Dave Franchino

Inspiring.

Stefanie Norvaisas

Thinking about the gap. What can industries do? To find people? Right? And then how well, is the design industry doing recruiting? Like, younger people to join this industry? Right? Because my experience is, so when I grew up, which was a long time ago, I didn't even know that design was a thing. And I'm surprised at how many young people still don't know design is a thing?

Hector Silva

No, absolutely. That's a great question. Whenever a company sets up shop in a city, like they just come in, and they get permits to build from the ground up, a lot of cities require those companies to really be part of the community, to do outreach, because they have come into this neighborhood, and they've changed things up and open up opportunities for local people that have employment, things like that. So the way that I see it is, agencies and studios should do the same. You know, yes, you're physically here. But you shouldn't just exist for your own internal business, you know, you should have outreach, open your doors to the local community, what's happening around you, who's doing what, what are the local high schools, and that's a really good way to start recruiting or even just influencing what you know, your expertise into the local community and neighborhoods. And that can create a very healthy cycle of people getting employed at your job, or even people knowing about design. That's a really big problem. And it can actually be solved quite easily. One of the things that we do is outreach as well, we collaborate with the Chicago Public Schools, which is the third largest public school system in the country. We collaborated with a couple of high schools there, we have done all the way from fourth grade all the way to high school, different hands-on workshops, and obviously prior to the pandemic, and even during the pandemic we were, we were able to do even more because it was a lot more accessible and it was done online. But that's where it begins. It begins at that level. If you go to a bookstore, you'll find a lot of books about, Oh, like how to be a doctor when I grew up you find like really quirky books and like baby books and kids book but there's nothing about innovation or design, or anything in the creative space. There might be a couple of books. I think we need to go beyond our title of just designing and see where else we can have influence on, collaborate with writers, collaborate with people in the social sciences and in other fields, become interdisciplinary, so that schools and high school students and eighth graders they see it not as that as one discipline, but they see it as an opportunity of, Oh, I can do 100 things with this.

Dave Franchino

Hector I think I speak for our listeners when I say that, that that missing book on how to be a designer dress for youth of America, that's a gap you should fill. Personally, I think that that would be a lot of fun. I hate to bring it up, but I feel I need to and that is you've talked a couple of times about the pandemic. And I'm just kind of curious what the pandemic meant to advanced design, probably the last thing you were expecting or wanting to have happen. But the other thing I think I'm really curious to get your perspective on is how it changed the educational process, how you think it will continue to change the educational process and how it's changed the the process of being a designer. So pretty rich question, but maybe some of the bigger takeaways that you've been able to take from this very horrible event that also just created a lot of disruption. And designers are often all about disruption.

Hector Silva

Absolutely, yeah, the pandemic was obviously awful for a lot of people. But I think there's a silver lining and that. I think what the pandemic did is it also leveled the playing field for a lot of people that couldn't afford to be in big cities. Everyone was working from home, so I think things kind of leveled up. What the pandemic did in education—some schools were ready for it, some schools were ready to transition into working from home online online teaching. And some schools were absolutely not even close to that they they didn't see that coming. They didn't know how to transition students. They were awful working online. There's some students that sued schools, because they were paying full tuition and working from home and they just were like, "That's not fair. We're paying $80,000. And, you know, we're getting a fraction of the education that you promised." So I think going back to my first comment, when we first started talking, I think that's why I say that the gap got even bigger with the pandemic, because schools were just not prepared. The equation for school is all of my eggs are in this physical building, right. So when you think of education, and academic setting, you think of big, fancy buildings, beautiful campuses. So that's their equation. And it's worth 400 years, because that that has never been disrupted by a global pandemic, up until last year, or this year. So when we started to plan and push out Offsite, which is our design education initiative, we did the opposite. We went online, and we focused on the experience so that all of our students felt connected, then the physical will happen later. If you really invest and you focus on something that is 100% bulletproof like an online experience, then that's always going to exist. So let's say we go on another 100 years without a pandemic, and then the pandemic is back. If you're not prepared for that, that means you didn't learn anything from this past pandemic. And it's going to keep happening, a lot of schools also close their doors because they couldn't afford like, they just lost a lot of money, you know, schools or businesses and a lot of schools went bankrupt. And that just tells you everything that there was no investment in the student experience. And if the investment was in all the wrong areas, and they shut their doors. So yeah, the pandemic exposed a lot of things, a lot of schools were not prepared. But some schools were absolutely ready, and they were able to adapt. And that is exactly what you want designers to do adapt, right. Something that I tell my students, as I as I've been teaching online is, before the pandemic, you would get an interview, you'd go in, and you would do your thing in front of people. And here's my portfolio, here's my resume. But now, a lot of the things are done on Zoom, we have Zoom interviews and stuff like that. Now the stakes are even higher, because now we're a part of this little window here. And you really have to go above and beyond to show off your skills to prove to people that you're valuable, that you're an asset, because now again, the playing field has been leveled. So what are you doing different than the other 1000 of graduates or the other 1000 people that have lost their jobs, they're seeking employment? How are you different than they are as far as your work your story, everything that you're doing? Because not everyone is doing Zoom and everyone is doing interviews, so you better tell a compelling story in the first five minutes so that you can show off and people can be like wow, this guy is talented is hire him because that's hard to do. Now you get someone in the office you miss that you miss. Some people have a certain energy about them. Some people have, you know, we use our senses to kind of tell like, Oh, I have a really good feeling a gut reaction about this person. That's all been taken away by the Zoom interview and then going on Zoom, or even teaching you know, sometimes I'm having trouble it can read the student because he's online as opposed to in person. I know something's wrong. I know if someone's not having a good day. Whatever, like you can pick that stuff up in person, you can't do that anymore. So the stakes are 100 times higher now more than ever.

Dave Franchino

Well articulated you've, you've talked a great deal about, you know how things change, I guess I have to ask you, what is the future hold for Advanced Design? What are your aspirations? Where do you see you're taking Advanced Design and and yourself in your own personal journey?

Hector Silva

Yeah, I think, you know, funny thing that you brought up the book, because that is something that we want to work on, or working on. I don't want to say too much. But I think our next step is to open a physical education building here in Chicago, and do what we're doing with Offsite, which is our online design school. And then now, do it in the physical sense. But we don't want to have these crazy Gothic buildings or anything like that. Whenever you think of academia, you think of, you know, all these beautiful buildings in architecture. Whenever I think of academia, or design education, I think of a warehouse, and I think of a studio environment. And education should reflect industry, because that's where students are headed. And that's what I want to build. And something like that can actually happen next week, it's actually not that expensive. To do that, we just have to have the right team in place, everything has to logistically kind of work out. But my dream, which will be a reality in the coming years, is to really build a design school that reflects a design or innovation office. So that gap that I'm talking about, it's more of a really quick transition, because students know, and they're in the environment or in the culture, they're feeling it, they're living it. And it's no different. They don't see like, Oh, I'm going from this environment to this environment. And I'm shocked. So that's our next kind of big mountain to climb.

Stefanie Norvaisas

I am cheering for you. I love I love the sound of that.

Hector Silva

Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, we're very excited.

Dave Franchino

Likewise, tremendously inspiring. And Hector, I thank you so much for this really fascinating conversation. I think the work that you do is important and inspiring. And I think you deserve to be very proud of what you've been able to create. And I have no doubt that that will continue in the future.

Stefanie Norvaisas

One of my other sort of gap related questions has to do with recruiting and job placement. And do you do any work with your students to set them up with different companies or industries?

Hector Silva

Absolutely, that is something that we do at Offsite, we have a mentorship program, where we actually pair up our students with one on one mentorship from a professional, and both parties get a survey and the survey is very detailed in the information that we're seeking. So that we pair up the students with the right mentor as far as interests, and the same kind of space that they want to work in. So we we cater the mentorship program, it really comes down to a lot of things that like you couldn't like the same TV show, and you'll be paired up with this person like it's, that's how close it is that, again, it's part of our human centered way of approaching mentorship and education, that we want to make sure that we don't pair you up with someone who's just completely opposite of what you're seeking. But we do offer mentorship and again, that that should be part of, you know, this whole outreach program that I was talking about.

Stefanie Norvaisas

So just thinking if our listeners are hearing this and being like, hey, I want to get involved with this group, or Hey, I want to hire somebody who's been through the Advanced Design program. What's their best way of doing that?

Hector Silva

Yes, absolutely. They can reach out to me personally, or they can reach out to our other. We have a social media, or website, I manage all of them. And I drive them and I'm also the guy that answers all the emails, I love answering emails, it feels like something that I get back feedback. Whenever I answer email, and I signed my name, people tend to reply, like, Oh, I didn't know I was talking to Hector. And I love that because it there's this customer service aspect of what I do that, you know, I want you to know that you're not being answered by some robot or you're not getting a generic answer that I'm investing my time in you and I'm getting your answer for you and it's coming from me. So I really love that.

Stefanie Norvaisas

So for our listeners, if you're looking to hire some cool people who have been at well educated email Hector.

Dave Franchino

And we will make sure we put Hector's email address and the links to both the Advanced Design Program and the off site design education program as well in our blog hetra This has been fantastic. Really enjoyed it. As I mentioned, really inspiring. A once again, our guest today has been hunter silver And and his initiative is platform advanced design is really working on disrupting professional industrial design education going well beyond that and thinking about different ways to approach education of young professionals in general. Hector, it's been a pleasure. My congratulations on all your success and best of continued like to

Hector Silva

Thank you the pleasures all mine. Thank you very much.

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