Chris Murphy · 25 June, 2020

I’ve been trying to think of a name for everyone who’s in The School of Design community.

I don’t like ‘students’, because to me students are the people I teach at Belfast School of Art (or at other art schools where I’m a guest lecturer) and conceptually, the word just doesn’t feel right.

We’re not covering what I cover at Belfast School of Art in The School of Design. We are covering much, much more.

I used ‘learners’ for a few months, but again, that didn’t feel right, so it was back to the drawing board of my mind. We’re increasingly heading in a startup-focused and design × business × life focused direction and, from here on, I’m going to be referring to everyone in our community as founders.

An Accelerator for Your Life

The School of Design is similar to the Propel programme that I just completed: it’s an accelerator for your ideas, an accelerator for your thinking and an accelerator for your life. ¹

Some of us are building startups, some of us are building businesses and some of us are building ourselves (and some of us are building all three).

We are all – in one way or another – founders: Whether that’s building the businesses of the future or building the leaders of the future.

We are all accelerating, together.


1 I am unashamedly borrowing a great deal from the Propel team, then reworking everything through my own lens.

Good artists copy; great artists steal.

Propel is a startup pre-accelerator taught by some of the smartest – and kindest – people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I’m proud to call them my friends.

Chris, Ian, Kate and Tristan (and now, Victoria) are all focused on their founders’ success and they will reach to the ends of the earth (literally!) to help you. Their network is second-to-none and global, and they share that network with their founders once they have earned the right to be a part of it.

They care deeply about their founders and – when things go wrong, as they invariably do – they are there for you. This, certainly, is a lesson I’ve learned from them.

Their programme changed my life, which is why I’m learning from it and applying the relevant lessons learned to The School of Design Community. Thank you, Propel.


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