Andy Law | Introducing The Thesis Grid: A Writing and Design Process

If writing is a process of thinking, why is it not a critical component of today’s design curricula? This project responds to the frustration undergraduate industrial design students experienced writing about their work while at the same time, these same students—all millennials—were prolific writers, not in the studio or classroom, but on their blogs, Twitters, texts and hashtags.

This pedagogical project explores the problem/opportunity above: can the design and writing processes, rather than antagonizing one another, engage each other into one dynamic practice for students? Andy Law of the Rhode Island School of Design looks at ways to integrate the two—by considering writing in terms of tangible making and production: accumulation, curation, framing, publishing (as both broadcasting and sharing with peers). He will highlight the value and impact this integrated approach offers students and teachers alike.

Constantin Boym | The Imperative of Travel

In the age of economic globalization and heightened geo-political tensions, travel abroad has become an essential component of design education. Acting as both a window and a mirror, the foreign places highlight students’ own preconceptions about their way of living and their built environment, and provide a catalyst for a critical creative response. Constantin Boym will share his insights on the problems and possibilities of students’ educational travel. In March 2016, a group of Pratt ID students traveled to Cuba for a groundbreaking workshop with Cuban design students at ISDI in Havana. For over fifty years, Cuban economy has been operating in externally imposed condition of limited resources. As Cuba opens up to a seductive influence of Western economy, the society is facing a dilemma about the country’s long-term future. Will Cuban design production follow the American model of unrestrained growth and abundance, or will it plot out an alternative strategy?

Eric Anderson, FIDSA | Maturing or Withering: Industrial Design Education and its Unresolved and Growing Challenges

Recurring discussions in the US ID community about the opportunities and challenges of preparing ID undergraduates to be successful are age old. For a discipline that prides itself on problem identification, problem solving and innovation in industry—and now societal issues—it’s stunning that it can’t seem to address its own educational value proposition.

Eric Anderson, FIDSA, co-founder and co-director of the Integrated Innovation Institute, will discuss the acknowledged and unacknowledged disruptive influences that are clashing with traditions in ID education. He’ll delve into how the speed of response can compromise the ability of graduates to participate in the new complexities of design practice and diminish the relevance of ID education.

Group Discussion

Moderator- Scott Shim/ University of Notre Dame

A group discussion on unique curriculum and studio ideas from different ID programs. Discover up-to date content, methods, and projects other programs implementing and walk away empowered with improve your design program.

Heather Corcoran | Design Thinking and College Readiness

Heather Corcoran introduces a multi-year exploration of the relationship between design thinking and college readiness for first-generation high school students. Washington University’s new, STEM-based College Prep Program is informed by several research studies.

Design Thinking: An Approach to Problem Solving has distinct goals: teach students the processes of making and visualization; provide students a critical, problem-solving process—specific to addressing human-centered challenges; build skills in collaboration; and improve communication.

The program now explores new ways to measure the impact of design thinking coursework for this population of students.

Making DeXign Futures Learning Happen: Case Study for a Flipped, Open-Learning Initiative Course

How might design educators teach students to situate making within transitional times in a volatile and exponentially changing world? The design paradox involves teaching the core of a discipline in relation to an expanding periphery where multiple disciplines interact.

From a paper he penned with Judy Brooks and Arnold Wasserman—Peter Scupelli of Carnegie Mellon University will introduce an interesting learning challenge—an implicit contradiction for students of design, in which the core/making tends to reinforce short time horizon thinking; and the disciplinary periphery requires long time horizon visioning. Design thinking and futures thinking merge to create “deXign” thinking.

Mindy Magyar | Moving Beyond Cultural Appropriation in Industrial Design

Nearly any ordinary shopping experience demonstrates the ubiquity of cultural appropriation in commercial design. Products abound that clearly reference “ethnic” cultures—often explicitly marketed as “tribal” or “exotic.” And retail sales indicate that many consumers appreciate these designs.

In the interest of user experience, the designers responsible for many of these products have carelessly appropriated other cultures. Inextricably intertwined with politics, cultural appropriation impacts much more than revenue. It also fosters inequality by perpetuating harmful stereotypes, undermining cultural identity and exploiting marginalized communities.

Mindy Magyar will discuss cultural appropriation in industrial design, as well as its unintended negative consequences

Paul Hatch, IDSA | Realigning the District Conferences Around the Needs of the Educator and Student

​With such radical change to the ID profession, getting a closer connection between educators and industry has never been more important than today. We’d like to adapt the IDSA District Design Conferences to facilitate this connection, and help ID students get off to the right start in their careers. Paul Hatch, IDSA, will discuss these ideas and start an open dialogue on how we can better serve the needs of educators and students through the DDC platform.

Paul Skaggs | Collaboration in the Zone of Proximal Development

Zone of proximal development (ZPD) is defined as the space between what a learner can do without help—and where the learner needs support. Giving learners rigorous tasks they can do only with support from peers or mentors leads to the greatest learning gains.

Paul Skaggs will discuss ZPD in terms of collaborative design projects where collaborative mentors use a student-created artifact to pull a learner to a series of “need to know” places, which indicate the edge of the learner’s independent ability—or ZPD.

Sunand Bhattacharya, IDSA | Radical Collaboration by Design

The culture of innovation in the classroom has been spreading rapidly across all levels of education and challenging the boundaries of classical design studies.

The greatest potential for companies like Autodesk to serve design-related-education exists at the intersection of three convergences: Designing, Making, and Using, Infinite Computing, Digital, Manufacturing, and The Internet of Things and Creating Places, Things, and Media.

The future of making and learning things exists at the nexus of these three convergences. We need radical collaboration if we are to truly address the nexus of design, make, use; infinite computing, digital manufacturing, and internet of things; and places, things, and media. Is design-related-education embracing these trend, technologies and new workflows to holistically address next generation’s desire to innovate.

Join this session with Sunand Bhattacharya and learn how academia can benefit from Autodesk’s newly created Design Academy, a curated portal providing digital tools, teaching resources and other valuable features to catalyze the Future of Making. 

Tsai Lu Liu | Yingying Sun | Product Portfolio Strategies in Industrial Design Education

Product Portfolio Strategies proposes the integration of a product portfolio framework—a common marketing and business planning tool—in an industrial design curriculum. Design educators often plan studio projects focused on a single product. Businesses, however, tend to build upon product portfolios and evaluate the market comprehensively and strategically. A good designer is expected to look at an entire ecosystem rather than at isolated problems or opportunities.

Tsai Lu Liu, North Carolina State University ID professor—and Yingying Sun, ID professor at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in China—recommend design courses to incorporate macro (product portfolio strategies) and micro (single product) aspects.

Visvapriya Sathiyam | SPREAD THE (DESIGN) FIRE

Does this sound familiar to you in your organization? People often confuse design with how something looks—its visual appearance—and not how it works. Design is often seen as something only design departments are responsible for. Yet if everyone in an organization is educated regarding design, they begin to understand that design plays an important role across every area, be it engineering, product management, quality control or sales. Visvapriya Sathiyam will discuss how you can rapidly whizz design sense into any organization in just one year. She’ll explore how companies can educate non-designers, who comprise the vast majority within an organization, and make design everyone’s responsibility within the company, while laying out the tools you’ll need to create educational programs to make your organization far more design-driven.