IDSA Members Teach First ID Class at University of Louisville

Ty Adams, IDSA, managing director of Adams Kincade Design, and Jarvis Ward, IDSA, senior industrial design manager at GE Appliances, have joined Walter Hargrove, director of product development at Brown Jordan (and former IDSA Kentucky Chapter vice chair) to teach the first Industrial Design Co-Creation class at the University of Louisville (UofL).

Most of the 14 students in the current class, from freshmen to graduate students, are from the Hite Art Institute in the UofL College of Arts and Sciences; the rest are from Speed Engineering School. Leslie Friesen, graphic design instructor, and Thad Druffel, senior research engineer, followed a request from the College of Arts and Sciences and from Speed to develop the course, found the adjuncts and got the class going.

Insider Louisville reports that with the 40-acre, 225,000 sq. ft. Institute for Product Realization (IPR) being built adjacent to UofL, more cross-discipline collaboration courses are expected to be introduced at the university. IPR eventually will house a number of pre-existing labs and maker spaces—including Rapid Prototyping Center, Conn Center for Renewable Energy, the Logistics and Distribution Institute and possibly a new Center for Computing and Analytics.

Friesen says some cross-pollination of design and engineering had already been happening. UofL’s graphic design students had worked in two different class projects with industrial designers from GE Appliances, headed by Lou Lenzi, FIDSA, the director of industrial design who is a former IDSA International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) jury chair. And she collaborated with Druffel to have design students participate in his Engineering and Entrepreneurship class. The request by the upper administration to add an Industrial design class was a welcome addition.

"We are thrilled with the opportunity to teach ID/Co-Creation," says Adams, "and are excited by the inaugural class's diversity (design and engineering majors) and their commitment to dive into, explore and solve wickedly challenging design problems." Adams calls the class “a key step to collaborative problem solving and the development of IPR.”

“My goal was to introduce ID in a way that after graduation, students would feel more comfortable working with us and our process, as well as a few simple tools that apply to any work environment,” says Jarvis. The class also covers team dynamics; building empathy by conducting interviews; task analysis with real users outside class; creating journey maps to highlight key problem areas; collaborating on conceptual solutions; and pulling it all into a full-scale prototype and a process document.

The class has peaked curiosity on campus. “What's been really unusual is that several faculty are actually taking the class just out of interest in what we do,” says Jarvis, who finds ID is coming full circle in the region. He says the creation of the IDSA KY Chapter a few years ago had "great support" from GE Appliances. “It has raised the profile of ID, good design and design thinking as a business tool,” explains Jarvis. “Louisville and UofL are working together to become an entrepreneurship hub and realize the need for design, largely due to the efforts of people like Ty Adams.”