Implementing Design Sprints in the Education of Industrial Designers

In the next five to ten years, products will undergo radical changes with improvements in technology and rapid manufacturing processes. A fourth year industrial design studio utilizes a “design sprint,” colliding concept development of housewares products with large-scale farm equipment, in rapid paced design thinking towards human-centered products for the future. Starting with these two overarching product categories, teams sought to understand/explore, diverge/converge, and prototype their innovations in a fast-paced implementation of the design process. Techniques of mind-mapping, empathic modeling, existing product mapping, user interviews, sketches, storyboards, and low fidelity prototypes were incorporated. Peer reviews by other teams determined which concepts would go forward at stage-gates, twice a week, as the initial forty concepts were funneled into one final deliverable. Students were expected to communicate why their design was compelling and who it benefits. Collaboration, trust, problem finding/solving, articulating ideas, and shared vision were some of the student takeaways from this rapidly paced project. This rapid development sprint process has been run in two consecutive years with different cohorts of approximately thirty-five senior industrial design students. This article discusses the process, the success, and the missteps during these rapid development projects and highlights both the faculty and student takeaways.

A Process of Hybridization: Design = Mindfulness + Cognition

Moving from the rigid limitations of single disciplinary studies into interdisciplinary practices and trans-disciplinary services, hybridization becomes an inevitable provocation extending the implication of design into many fields. Hybridization is not new to design; examining the design process on a micro scale one realizes that the process is hybrid in itself. According to Dr. Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” This entails a conscious and deliberate direction of awareness. Mindfulness and awareness are not interchangeable terms; being aware means to acknowledge something is, mindfulness offers intention and ability to bring thoughts into the present, hereby making available a moment of deliberate choice, empathic connection to the environment and compassion toward the other. Cognition is defined as mental ability involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension. Cognition requires thinking, knowing, judging, decision-making and problem-solving. This article presents a process of hybridization in which the design process is an amalgam of mindful and cognition processes, and its implication to education. The hybrid is supported by a classification tool with a “3M” scale that varies between purely Mechanical to Mindful going through Mental. This article builds on research into the design process previously published as “Design Flows.”

Harnessing the Haptic in Mass Production Seamless Knitwear Technologies

Knitting is culturally embedded within our society and wardrobes; it takes the form of the craft object to the avant-garde garment. It has a duality of making that of hand and machine, which parted ways at the onset of the European industrial revolution in the sixteenth century. In the last twenty years the machined has come full circle back to its craft roots, with the capability to produce objects on "the round" through seamless knitwear technology. Seamless knitwear technology is a product of a postmodern, technologically based society, enabling the mass production of knitted garments producing no waste and requiring little post production finishing. This unique design capability of being able to produce a three dimensional garment with no seams has been questioned as being too limited in design scope. The ubiquitous nature of the design outputs is the focus of this practice based research. This paper outlines an experimental design practice which asks if it is possible to create knitwear which takes the form of an individualist design output, utilizing the standardization that is inbuilt into seamless knitwear technology. This paper concerns the move from two dimensional design to three dimensional design thinking through the production mode of seamless knitwear.

Understanding Innovation: How Does Innovation Feel?

Can anyone learn to be more innovative? Innovation may not be a matter of learning but of unlearning. We have in us an instinctive drive designed to push us to learn and experience important principles of innovation, things like; curiosity, discovery, exploration, experimentation, communicating, and socializing (Elkind 2008). This instinctive drive is called play. Decades of research has shown play to be crucial to the development of these skills. This is especially true of the purest form of play: the unstructured, self-motivated, imaginative, independent kind, where people initiate their own games and even invent their own rules (Elkind 2008). Children are intrinsically motivated to play and they learn at tremendous rates in their formative years. (Bowler 1997) Then at an early age efforts are made to try and control their natural tendencies and inclinations for learning and communicate to them that it is time to stop playing and start working, it is time for school. It is time to control those physical urges and sit still, it is time for learning a set of rules, and it is time to stop talking to your neighbor. Not to say that the principles of work are unimportant but they can work hand-in-hand with play to create a fairly accurate model for innovation. It is time to push back and provide opportunities for unlearning those things that limit our creativity and relearn those important attributes gained through principles of play.