Next-Gen Skills

GaBiz Editor in Chief explores the mission behind The Deloitte Foundry at SCAD, the newly opened digital design, research, and innovation studios, with Vice President of SCADpro Paul Stonick.

It’s no secret that complex challenges face businesses and government agencies at all levels, from recruiting qualified new talent to staying on the cutting edge of technology.  Now the UX designers, media creators, and service designers of tomorrow are getting real-life experience today thanks to The Deloitte Foundry at SCAD, housed in the building previously known as Ruskin Hall in Savannah. The program builds on a long-standing partnership between the university and Deloitte Consulting as part of SCADpro, a design consultancy within SCAD that creates real-world challenges for juniors, seniors, and graduate students to solve for Fortune 500 clients in a host of industries. “Ultimately, projects through The Deloitte Foundry will prepare our students at an elite level to be leaders in their creative professions as they enter Georgia’s dynamic workforce,” says Vice President of SCADpro at Savannah College of Art and Design Paul Stonick. Here, Stonick shares why this program is primed to make a difference for students and the companies they’ll serve.  

What motivated the university to develop The Deloitte Foundry at SCAD?
The opening of The Deloitte Foundry at SCAD fortifies the longstanding strategic partnership between the university and Deloitte, and both parties’ commitment to innovation, collaboration, and the future. With this new partnership, Deloitte will work with our talented students and expert faculty through SCADpro, the university’s collaborative research and innovation design studio, on future design thinking and data-driven research assignments for years to come. For many years, SCADpro has partnered with Deloitte on dozens of research and design solution projects, granting our students the unique opportunity to work closely and collaborate with Deloitte professionals and tackle some of the most complex issues facing public sector organizations. 

How does The Deloitte Foundry fit into SCADpro?
Through The Deloitte Foundry, several exciting initiatives will launch this year to ignite innovative research, design thinking, and business solutions—all cornerstones of the SCADpro program. The Deloitte Rapid Implementation Studio is one of those facets, where teams of SCAD students from various degree programs will collaborate and immerse themselves in real-world business challenges to develop groundbreaking design solutions in shorter lead times than the traditional academic quarter course structure. Additionally, the new Digital Frontier Studio will focus on research and design implementation strategies in immersive reality, AI, blockchain, the metaverse, and emerging tech. We have also created the Deloitte Concierge Recruiting Center to mentor and recruit top-performing SCAD students and alumni, which will be an essential resource to our SCADpro partners to attract top talent. 

Can students of any degree path interact with the Foundry and SCADpro? Will they get a specific certificate through projects affiliated with the Foundry or Rapid Implementation Studio?
SCADpro is universal within SCAD’s Savannah, Atlanta, and Lacoste, France locations and is open to students from all of our 40-plus top-ranking degree programs. Every degree program at SCAD integrates creative business strategies into the core curriculum, and students from very diverse design specialties collaborate with our external SCADpro client partners to offer tangible, innovative solutions. Sometimes these solutions are products that go to market, sometimes these solutions are purely for R&D purposes but regardless it gives clients solutions from an energetic, diverse group that many times are their target demographic. This multidisciplinary structure and approach to problem-solving is why SCADpro is recognized as the preeminent university partner in higher education, generating new ideas and products for some of Georgia’s top companies, including Deloitte, Delta, Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A, and more. 

Business leaders are concerned about the challenges of hiring a skilled workforce. How do SCADpro and the Foundry help address this?
Through design, we can affect business outcomes in ways not seen since the Industrial Revolution. We are bringing design to a strategic level, and when that happens, design becomes a powerful transformation agent that can redefine challenges facing the organization. The future-minded SCAD curriculum engages professional-level technology and myriad advanced learning resources, affording students opportunities for internships, professional certifications, and real-world assignments with corporate partners. SCADpro is the stepping stone to creative careers, and SCAD students are at the intersection of art, education, and business. 

How does the state—from the infrastructure to the business community and the growing economy here—support SCADpro? What’s the climate like and how does it help spur your growth?
Georgia consistently ranks as one of the “best for business” [states], and we have seen tremendous interest from companies investing and relocating to Georgia over the past few years. The boom of economic growth, specifically in Atlanta and Savannah, in the fields of tech, manufacturing, transportation, and film and entertainment, has bolstered SCAD’s reputation as the source for top talent as these companies seek out SCAD graduates who have an innovation and design background to join their ranks. This has also led to an increase in relevant SCADpro partnerships and opportunities, as company partners want to engage and recruit from our university. The experience our students are getting translates into cultivating a new generation of highly skilled talent who are ready to enter the workforce in Georgia as future creative leaders, executives, disruptors, and innovators.