50 More Years: What Might Happen to Industrial Design and How We Can Prepare For It | Beth Mosher

In the past 50 years, our fledgling design profession has emerged from the shadows. We now have a visibility and influence beyond anything we could have imagined. Our work is credited for the success of Fortune 500 companies and we have even been invited to testify before Congress about the national importance of STEAM. Being a designer is suddenly cool and students are flocking to our programs

But what will the next 50 years bring? Beth Mosher, IDSA, uses future casting to examine emerging societal, environmental and technological trends and how they might impact the profession. Armed with possible scenarios, we will consider what steps we can take to be more nimble and resilient—and thrive.

Adapting Tradition to the Future | Lauren Platts

The future of design education should be as changing and iterative as design itself.  But, finds Lauren Platts, IDSA, the model for design education also should look to the past for insights.  She reveals how the removal of grade-level segregation, coupled with a departmental, apprenticeship-style relationship with a company, set up the perfect incubator for creativity, exploration, problem solving and practical skill acquisition, while allowing students, educators and industry professionals to learn from each other.

Blurring the Lines: New Product Development and Feasibility | Michael Caston

During the product development process, industrial designers and marketing professionals often work collaboratively.  Yet, within a typical industrial design education, design students are minimally exposed to the discipline of marketing.  When industrial design students graduate, they will possess the knowledge of how to design a product, but often lack the knowledge as to why they are designing a product.

Michael Caston says since it’s widely accepted/acknowledged that 80-90 percent of new products fail within five years (Castellion 2013), it’s imperative for students to realize that before a product is designed or expensive prototypes are developed, there must be a clearly identified need and a demonstrated market demand.

Crafting Economic Opportunity: Piloting Design Education in a Developing World Context | Ann Marie Conrado

Handicraft and cottage industries in Nepal have taken an enormous beating in recent decades because of stagnant product development. But with no academic product design programs in the country, the ability of companies to innovate and provide distinct value to consumers through the development of products and services meeting needs is a major factor limiting economic development.

Collaborating with Kathmandu University’s Centre for Art and Design, an effort was undertaken to develop and pilot a unique product design curriculum focused on developing design resources for handicraft and small cottage industries. Ann-Marie Conrado, IDSA, will share the progress made through the pilot program and its outcomes as well as how these experiences have translated into the rebuilding efforts in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.

Design At Scale: IBM Design and the Future of Education at Corporations | Doug Powell

IBM, one of the world’s largest technology companies, is on a mission to create a sustainable culture of design and to bring a human-centered focus to thousands of product and service experiences. At IBM Design in Austin, Texas, designers, engineers and business leaders collaborate to help create a new way of working that will impact humanity. IBM Design Principal Doug Powell directs the Education + Activation program. He will share how a new approach to design education at a global scale is helping to drive change at IBM. In 2014, the program engaged more than 5,000 IBMers.

Design Education in the 21st Century​ | Don Norman

Industrial designers must now deal with problems that are far more complex than is covered by their traditional, craft-based education. The emphasis today is on interaction—as well as form, function, and materials—which means that industrial designers must understand the psychological principles of human interaction with technology.

Don Norman, IDSA, PhD, believes even more change is required. He says as we move forward into an ever more complex world, designers have to design complex, sociotechnical systems. All these changes have important implications for training. Norman says perhaps we should divide the practice of industrial designers into those who emphasize their wonderful craft-based skills that provide us with beautiful, delightful products—and those will work on the more complex systems and services where the design thinking skills are paramount and the craft skills are unnecessary.

Design like a Chef: What we can Learn from Cooking | Amy Kern | Ted Shin

It’s vital to nurture a creative and curious examination of the world in students at a young age. Targeted to emerging industrial design students, specifically the K-12 educational segment and the wholly uninitiated alike, teaching how to think and design like a chef is a powerful and provocative introductory concept that culminates here as a workshop series.

Amy Kern; and Ted Shin, IDSA outline interactive activities, games and coursework that stimulate a deeper understanding and appreciation of all of the many methodologies inherent in ID best practices.

Designcamp: What happens when 70+ recent design graduates join your organization on the same day? | Joni Saylor

IBM is on a mission to build a sustainable design culture and bring a human-centered focus to all product experiences. Since 2012, IBM Design has hired nearly 300 designers directly from university design programs—including 30 industrial designers—to join software product teams alongside engineers and product managers.

Designcamp for University Hires, led by Joni Saylor, is a professional education program that prepares recent graduates to actively contribute to IBM product teams and practice design thinking at scale. Saylor will share how the experience provides an important bridge between the academic and professional experiences and empowers emerging designers to make change within a 100 year-old company.


With the increase in the aging adult population, designers and design educators need to pay attention to age- related issues in the product design field. Byungsoo Kim investigates the gap between designers’ and design students’ knowledge—and the needs of the older user. He says developing empathy through experience provides opportunities for students to understand how the older adults feel, what they experience and why they act in certain ways in their real life.

Dewey in the Cloud: Pragmatist Educational Therapy & E-Learning | Julija Naskova

Julija Naskova of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design asks what is the capacity of online learning to meet educational principles?

Prior research has analyzed different aspects of cloud computing and its application in education.  Most of the research focused on its technical advantages and how to make the system more viable.  Few researchers emphasized the need to design a new structure for the cloud’s effective integration in education.

Finding Best Practices in Education | Thomas Degn

From the two defined learning platforms of structure and process-based learning, and the three defined theoretical frameworks of constructivism, cognitivism and behaviourism—Thomas Degn shows how these are represented within the teaching practice as a successful design education.

He showcases practical case examples from three different study activities and with symbolic, graphical visualizations.

Degn contributes to the identification and understanding of best practices within vocational design education today, in the hope that these can be developed and applied in order to provide the best teaching and learning structures, no matter what new design knowledge students will need to be taught and learn in the future.

Hybrid Ideation & Fabrication | Alex Lobos

Debates continue on how the use of digital tools often compromises design integrity, form exploration and empathy. Nonetheless, the digital tools of design continue to evolve at a dramatic pace, but often are underutilized.

Alex Lobos, IDSA, details the methodologies employed and the results of a year-long collaboration among a top industrial design program, a leading software company and many open minds to explore the integration of analog and digital tools in design, blending the best of each to maximize the effect with both.

IDSA’s Relationship to Education: Hands-On Research Workshop | Ann Rich | Katherine Bennett

Learn how to use new, qualitative research tools to study the relationship between IDSA and design education. Katherine Bennett, IDSA, and Ann Rich will show how to use generative tools in qualitative research. Participants will receive a kit to use in short sessions with conference attendees. They also will use a new iPhone app created by Propelland for students, designers and educators to record research sessions. Armed with the tool kit and the app, participants will conduct a few, short research sessions and upload recordings and photos. Results will be presented at next year’s conference.

An iPhone® is preferred but not necessary; the uploading of the materials will be a bit more difficult with other smartphones, but not impossible.

Investing in the Future | Jay Peters

In the dynamic and evolving profession of design—increasingly growing in scope and contribution to the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit—ongoing professional education is essential. Investing in the future of design has become a necessity for organizations to survive and thrive.

Jay Peters, IDSA, says the best possible return on investment is in people. Internal education programs offer a way to develop, attract and retain design talent. These education programs need to look beyond the capability to execute design, and lead and manage. This is where there is often a shortage of options. 

LEARN!2050 and Dexign Futures | Peter Scupelli | Arnold Wasserman

Arnold Wasserman, IDSA, and Peter Scupelli explore how we might redesign education to face the challenges and opportunities of a sustainable future.

Increasingly, designers operate within ever-broader contexts (i.e., technological, social, political, environmental and global). Design for sustainable futures requires the ability to envision longtime horizon strategic scenarios  shaped by forces likely to drive change in broader contexts. Traditional pedagogy poorly equips designers to integrate long-range, strategic thinking with current human-centered design methods.

Let’s Talk About…Designers | Sooshin Choi

We talk so much about design—processes; methodology; thinking; social; service; research; innovation; user-centered; strategy; management; future, etc. But we don’t talk enough about designers. In order to better prepare for Future of the Future, we need to rethink, “What makes great designers?”

College for Creative Studies Provost Sooshin Choi, IDSA, strongly believes designers are the most valuable asset for a brighter future—and design education can play a crucial role— only when we clearly know, “Who are the designers?”


Karl Hurn provides industrial design educators and professionals with an insight into the development of innovative design ideation images manipulation techniques, and, highlights how these techniques can be used to improve student ideation skills and enable a broader range of professionals inside and outside creative industries.

Hurn delves into ideation workflow, the suitability and quality of the student’s form generation, as well as the perceived quality of the final design outcomes. 

PANEL: Educate Designers in the Digital Age | Sunand Bhattacharya

With the advent of ways to visualize ideas, model, develop design solutions, rapidly prototype, collaborate, share and iterate-on-the-fly using digital design software technologies such as Fusion360—traditional ways of teaching industrial design in the classroom environment are being questioned by educators, employers and students.

Academics and design professionals will share success stories on implementing models for teaching industrial design using Fusion360 in the development workflow—bridging the gap between education and industry expectations.


  • Eric Anderson, F/IDSA, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Alex Lobos, IDSA, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Katherine Stephenson, S/IDSA, Center for Design Research, Stanford University
  • David Weightman, IDSA, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign