QUARTERLY OF THE INDUSTRIAL DESIGNERS SOCIETY OF AMERICAâ€‡ WINTER 2020
YOUR JOURNEY STARTS WITH AN IDEA
IDEA 2021 is open for entry January 4 - March 15, 2021
2020 Student Design Gold Winner: Dart Electric Rideshare Bike Designed by Victoria Chiang, Francis Lin, Nico Hitson, and Kevin Shankwiler, IDSA of Georgia Institute of Technology
QUARTERLY OF THE INDUSTRIAL DESIGNERS SOCIETY OF AMERICA
WINTER 2020 Â®
Publisher IDSA 950 Herndon Pkwy. Suite 250 Herndon, VA 20170 P: 703.707.6000 F: 703.787.8501 idsa.org/innovation
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Above: DUAL, by Jiani Zeng, S/IDSA, the 2020 GSMA winner, page 64.
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2020 STUDENT MERIT AWARDS
54 Central District SMA Winner Ellen Posch, S/IDSA
Industrial Design Education during the Pandemic: A Roundtable with IDSA Educators
24 The Plot-Twist: Lessons from Teaching Studio Virtually by Aziza Cyamani, IDSA 26 9 Ways to Increase Diversity at Your School by D’Wayne Edwards 28 Awakening a Deeper Design Consciousness by Scott Boylston 32 Homework by Bruce Hannah, IDSA 36 How Designers Can Impact Diversity in Design by Jacinda Walker 40 Studio Culture in a Virtual World by Benjamin Bush, IDSA
and Chris Baeza
48 Experimenting with Design Thinking and System Engineering Methodologies by Sheng-Hung Lee, IDSA
and John Liu
Cesaroni Design Associates Inc., Glenview, IL;
56 Midwest District SMA Winner Avery Saylor, S/IDSA
Santa Barbara, CA Covestro, Pittsburgh, PA Crown Equipment, New Bremen, OH
58 Northeast District SMA Winner Jessica Monteleone, S/IDSA
Metaphase Design Group Inc., St. Louis, MO Samsung Design America, San Francisco, CA TEAGUE, Seattle, WA
60 South District SMA Winner Anne McDonald, S/IDSA
Techmer PM, Clinton, TN For more information about becoming an
62 West District SMA Winner Sawyer Alcazar-Hagen, S/IDSA
Ambassador, visit idsa.org/ambassadors or contact IDSA at 703.707.6000
64 GSMA Winner Jiani Zeng, S/IDSA 66 SMA Finalists 86 2020 Academic Jury
IN EVERY ISSUE 4 In This Issue 5 IDSA HQ by Chris Livaudais, IDSA 6 Design DNA by Scott Henderson, IDSA
10 Beautility by Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA
12 Design Defined
QUARTERLY OF THE INDUSTRIAL DESIGNERS SOCIETY OF AMERICA WINTER 2020
42 Using Design Fiction to Teach Ethics in Design by Raja Schaar, IDSA,
3M Design, St. Paul, MN
18 Design Exchange: Spanning the Academic- Practice Divide by Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA
Charter supporters indicated in bold.
16 2020 Scholarship Recipients
by Carly Hagins, IDSA
88 A Final Thought by Hector Silva and Dominic Montante
Cover: Glitch artwork by Carl Guo Innovation is the quarterly journal of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), the professional organization serving the needs of US industrial designers. Reproduction in whole or in part—in any form—without the written permission of the publisher is prohibited. The opinions expressed in the bylined articles are those of the writers and not necessarily those of IDSA. IDSA reserves the right to decline any advertisement that is contrary to the mission, goals and guiding principles of the Society. The appearance of an ad does not constitute an endorsement by IDSA. All design and photo credits are listed as provided by the submitter. Innovation is printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks. The use of IDSA and FIDSA after a name is a registered collective membership mark. Innovation (ISSN No. 0731-2334 and USPS No. 0016-067) is published quarterly by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)/Innovation, 950 Herndon Pkwy, Suite 250 | Herndon, VA 20170. Periodical postage at Sterling, VA 20164 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to IDSA/Innovation, 950 Herndon Pkwy, Suite 250 | Herndon, VA 20170, USA. ©2020 Industrial Designers Society of America. Vol. 39, No. 4, 2020; Library of Congress Catalog No. 82-640971; ISSN No. 0731-2334; USPS 0016-067.
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
I N T H I S I SSUE
RIPE FOR TRANSFORMATION
s of this writing, millions around the world continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. The final impact will likely take years to truly understand, but for now we must simply focus on trying to maintain our health, practice our social safety measures as best as possible, and await distribution of a lifeline in the form of a vaccine. No industry has been immune to significant disruption as a result of COVID-19, and that includes all levels of our academic infrastructure. Many facets of education rely on or are centered on the in-person experience between student and teacher. Even with the best safety protocols in place, in-person learning has become extremely challenging. For industrial design students, being in the studio and working on projects with your hands is a central part of learning the practice. Most schools have extensive shop space with machines and other equipment students can use to make things. All of that is missing with remote learning. Yet even before the arrival of COVID-19, design educators and the academic community were already confronting a host of other obstacles, such as keeping pace with professional practice and the shifting industrial design landscape, dismantling biased institutional norms of “good design,” and creating a system that provides equitable access to quality educational opportunities. This issue of INNOVATION aims to unpack some of these challenges and highlight recent conversations in design academia. We asked our contributors to share their thoughts on topics spanning the switch to remote
learning and the value of virtual learning within higher education, equity in access to design education from K–12 up through college, the lack of diversity in the composition of student bodies and faculty, and the gap between student preparedness and the expectations of professional practice. Our goal was to collect a range of articles and perspectives that help capture the current state of industrial design education in 2020 and provide insight into what can be done to better prepare industrial design educators, students, and academic institutions for the future. We’re also delighted to feature the work of our Student Merit Award winners and school finalists. These talented young designers showcase the very best creativity, problem-solving, and design brilliance across each of IDSA’s five Districts. Their work spans a wide breadth of industry categories, with projects often straddling the line between product, service, and experience. We are encouraged by this variety and embrace how wide-ranging industrial design has become as a professional practice. Lastly, thank you to all the educators and mentors out there who dedicate so much of yourselves to nurturing the next generation of designers and guiding them to achieve their very best. We know this year in particular has been tough, to put it mildly. Your commitment to your craft and cause is vital to the success of your students and instrumental in ensuring a vibrant future for our profession. —INNOVATION Editorial Team
ID SA HQ
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
n brainstorm settings, it’s often said that there are no bad ideas. The goal in those occasions is generally to flood the room with as many ideas as possible, big and small. Then come the various stages of sorting, filtering, combining, and discarding in order to uncover the ones with the most potential. However, at the end of the day, ideas are seeds that require considerable effort to bring them to life. We have a saying at IDSA headquarters that goes, “Ideas are the easy part.” It pops up from time to time, usually during conversations between the staff or amid our many interactions with IDSA members across the country. It’s often the result of being inspired, feeling optimistic, and envisioning new possibilities for what the Society could do in the future. The question then becomes, How do we know which ideas to pursue and which to toss out? And so, we ask ourselves (in no particular order): • Progress: Does it advance industrial design and IDSA’s programming to a higher level? • Value: Does it create a new or amplify an existing value, now and in the long term? • Clarity: Is the purpose of the idea clear? Does it align, enhance, or detract from our existing efforts? • Pride: Is this something we can be proud of? Does it celebrate our membership and profession? Does it strengthen our community? • Execution: Can we do it with quality? What is the effort versus impact? What other programs will be affected by this?
We’ve had to pivot so much of our output during 2020 in order to support our community and maintain our membership value within the largely virtual setting we now find ourselves in. This shift required big ideas and quick action. It’s in these moments when thinking boldly and taking risks is rewarded by the joy of seeing all of you find ways to connect with each other through IDSA. Thousands of designers from around the world participated in IDSA virtual events this year. Much of that was made possible through the efforts of our membership, who volunteer their valuable time and energy to create experiences, serve on committees, and provide opportunities to help others achieve success. At IDSA, we have no shortage of ideas and our team works relentlessly behind the scenes to bring as many of them to reality as possible. Yet, as we wrap up the year and set our sights on 2021, I’m focused on trying to keep things simple. We need the clarity not only to deliver a comprehensive collection of exciting programs in 2021 but also to keep agile in the face of so much uncertainty. We all know that even the best laid plans can easily become unraveled. 2020 has demonstrated this over and over again. Nevertheless, I remain romantically optimistic, even while still swirling in the ongoing turbulence of COVID-19, that we can bring more content and resources to our community than we’ve possibly ever done before. Yes, ideas are the easy part, but making them real is where the magic happens. Stay tuned, my friends! —Chris Livaudais, IDSA, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
D E S I G N DNA
STATE OF FLOW: WHAT I WISH DESIGN SCHOOLS WOULD TEACH
hat if I were to tell you that there is a way to increase your creativity, productivity, and ability to deliver inspiring, life-changing design breakthroughs by a thousand timesâ€”the news of your achievement
traveling the world in seconds as it is devoured by a population hungry for tangible leaps. What if I were to also tell you that much of the way design is taught and practiced is in direct conflict with this incredible and very real superpowerâ€” that the group brainstorming sessions, project management and business communication apps, social media, Zoom meetings, and, of course, the Post-it note wall decoration parties are actually hampering and even outright preventing these eureka moments we so fervently crave. Sounds nuts? Consider this.
“Ideas are not very useful when making art” —Tony Cragg
Let’s peel open the design history book for a second. The Bauhaus School, founded 101 years ago this past April 1, continues to shape the curriculums in our most prominent and prestigious design schools—most of them first immersing their new recruits into the Bauhausinan construct known as Foundation Year. Harkening back to a more innocent time, there I was, a young would-be design student barely able to do my own laundry, wash a dish, or fry an egg, carrying my massively oversized portfolio case with its T-Square protruding from the unzipped corner of its wafer-thin Seussian proportions, scurrying in a disheveled frenzy of sweat to my freshman Foundation classes that would become the bonding agent for all learning yet to come. I didn’t know it then, but these required classes were the same ones that a young Marcel Breuer, Annie Albers, and Herbert Bayer all took and probably arrived late to as well, similarly untucked and uncoifed to the dismay of their professors which included László Moholy-Nagy, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
Water Gropius, the Bauhaus school’s founder, laid out some profound principals in his 1919 Bauhaus Manifesto, the second of which goes like this: “There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman. The artist is [just] an exalted craftsman. In rare moments of inspiration, transcending the consciousness of his will, the grace of heaven may cause his work to blossom into art.” Transcending the consciousness of his will! How awesome is that? If the design schools of today want to underscore only one thing from the Bauhaus, it is this golden nugget I wish they would embrace. What this excerpt suggests is that if you free yourself from the chains of your own limited conscious mind and our many self-inflicted distractions, your thinking will calm down just long enough to absorb external forces of influence, and soon enough, your designs will radiate like bottled lightning. Transcending the consciousness of our will suggests that what we are able to laboriously contrive as the craftspeople of design is vastly inferior to what might unconsciously flow through us as the artists of it.
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
D E S I G N DNA
Be the Flow It was the summer of 1969—the summer of love. If you think things are f**ked now, consider that in 1969 the war in Vietnam was raging out of control and we were losing. Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew, was convicted of felony tax fraud while in office and had to be replaced by a new vice president, Gerald Ford, who later became full-on president when his boss broke into a hotel to steal information from the Democratic National Committee. Things were so off the rails that when a music festival was planned on a small farm in upstate New York, nobody could have predicted the massive highway-choking turnout of free-loving youth who desperately needed an escape from the bloody shark frenzy of deceit and depravation at the top of the chain. So suffocated was the infrastructure of this tiny Catskill hamlet where Max Yasgur’s dairy farm was pulverized into a muddy, slippery cataclysm, the headlining acts scheduled to perform couldn’t get there on time—blocked by snarled highways of baking rubber and steel. All except for Richie Havens, a relatively unknown folk singer from New York City’s West Village who, along with his three-piece band, just happened to be there early. Not scheduled until well after five of the biggest names in the music business had blasted out the smash hits of the day—bands like Iron Butterfly, Santana, and The Grateful Dead—Havens went on first, at the bemoaning of the show’s producers, to fill the uncomfortably vacant stage and to quell the impatient human-ocean of fans that swelled before it, playing everything in his entire repertoire and still searching for more while the missing performers were endlessly mired in the quicksand of impassible country roads. What do you do in a situation like this? How do you handle such insurmountable pressure on the creative mind? Apparently, you invent a song on the fly. Richie Haven’s “Freedom,” his final goosebump-inducing cry that became the anthem of the Woodstock Music Festival and one of the most memorable songs of the entire 1960s,
was spontaneously adlibbed from the thin summer air. “Freedom” was so off-the-cuff that Havens had to watch film footage of his performance later so he could duplicate it. This song was not laboriously contrived from the conscious mind, but instead was the result of being in a state of flow— from transcending the consciousness of his will, just as Gropius would have wanted. According to Steven Kotler, a speaker, flow junkie, and author of over 70 publications, including The Rise of Superman, “Flow follows focus.” He says, “When captured only one or perhaps even two days a week, being in a state of flow can increase productivity and the value of our output by a thousand times.” Kotler also describes how the flow state releases all five of the brain’s pleasure enzymes at once—norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, anandamide, and endorphins—making it one of the most highly addictive states of consciousness. This would explain why artists and writers chase expression often with little hope of monetary payback. They are literally addicted to the feeling they get when they can pull information out of their minds that they had no idea was in there. Kotler also explains that if you happen to work for a company where it’s mandatory that emails be returned in an hour or messages be returned in 15 minutes or your presence at meetings is required three or four times a day, that’s a disaster that will destroy high performance. To reach the realm of flow, you need uninterrupted brain-calming focus! Design is well aligned to the game of chess in that to do it right you have to be thinking at least five moves ahead, balancing a tall stack of greasy, unstable ideas before losing them to the rolling breeze. The creation of a strong, resonating three-dimensional form often has as much to do with math as it does the ability to traverse dimensions— seeing the front, side, and top simultaneously in the fleeting yet crystalline movies of your mind while you ride the wave of flow before it plunges you into the cold, sharp coral below,
these brief glimpses lost in the foaming surf, repatriated to the ocean of breakthroughs that always seem to be just out of your reach. This elusive side of design is too slippery to be captured on a three-by-three Post-it note. Adrian Bejan, a mechanical engineering professor at Duke University, the winner of the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Medal for his pioneering contributions in thermodynamics and the father of what is known as constructal law, thinks that all living things try to maximize flow, an essential ingredient to life as well as to how we think. While designing a cooling system for laptop computers, he realized through continuous refinements of its design that the cooling structure started to look like a tree. The more treelike the heat sink looked, the better it worked. The fact that tree branches, the structure of your lungs, a bolt of lightning, and the cracks in a lake bed all look and behave similarly have nothing to do with coincidence. Bejan notes that everything flows, from the fluids inside our bodies to the electricity that feeds our homes, as do artistic movements and breakthroughs in design, and when these systems are blocked, they die. According to Bejan, to get to a heightened state of creative flow, “you must free yourself as much as you can. The freer you are, the more dynamic you’ll be. Freedom is good for design,” as our friend Richie Havens would agree. Ideas Are Like Water Did you know that no new water is being created or destroyed on Earth and that the water molecules we drink, bathe with, and swim in today have been around for at least the past few hundred million years—probably passing through dinosaurs as pee on their way to our mocha latté? Creativity is the same. According to Arthur Koesler in his 1964 book The Act of Creation, “Creativity is a blending of elements drawn from two previously unrelated ideas—combining them into a new meaning by using comparison, abstraction, categorization, analogies and metaphors.” We create fresh combinations of
existing elements, their origins layered in enough abstraction that they read as new. Knowing that seems to make things slightly easier, right? Koesler also says that “creative breakthroughs occur after a period of intense conscious effort directed at the problem [otherwise known as the painful and frustrating part of the creative journey] and these same breakthroughs get suppressed by the anxieties and distractions of our daily routines.” We know the information is in our heads, but we just can’t summon it no matter how hard we try other than to say, “It’s right on the tip of my tongue!” However, you’ve unleashed your subconscious mind toward the task, and although you don’t realize it, it has bolted dutifully from the starting gate and is racing its way toward the backstretch. It just takes a while to return because the information you requested is buried under the dusty cardboard boxes of grandma’s heavy bone china in the cobwebs of your cold, darkened attic. However, you go to sleep for eight hours and when you wake up discover that—voilà!—the information has been magically deposited into your conscious mind as fresh and potent as the morning coffee, your brain having received a software update while you slept. You stitch these experiences, analogies, symbols, and metaphors into a new solution like an excited, giddy child, eyes welled up and heart pounding, because you know you’ve nailed it—and your brain floods with the pleasure drug milkshake that will bring you back for more. I would love for the design student of today to understand that it is OK to seek out solitude in order to calm your mind, think in peace, and find your vision. That the gut-wrenching pain and anxiety you feel during the creative process will give way to brilliance in due time, and that the real excitement of design occurs when we transcend the consciousness of our will and harness the power of flow. —Scott Henderson, IDSA email@example.com
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
BE A U T I L I T Y
he future is in critical condition. It’s the perfect storm times five: (1) pandemic, (2) recession, (3) education, (4) social justice, (5) climate crisis—demonstrating how dependent we are on technology, nature, and each other. We are getting firsthand proof of the ecology of everything, Mother Nature as the original Internet of Things. Forced into remote working and hybrid learning by COVID-19, people everywhere are sampling forms of blended, intradisciplinary, asynchronous, transmedia, modular approaches to working, learning, and living. Hands-on Liberal Arts During a previous shaky era fanned by the Great Depression with the Second World War brewing, our design ancestors took that opportunity to create the industrial design profession. Since they were cooking up a totally original discipline, they first had to explore what it would do, and then with a self-conscious reflection on how to deliver, they created the design process. They put thinking about how to design on the same level as what was designed. And by designing the product’s instruction concurrently with the product, they made pedagogy an integral part of the profession. Before this pandemic turned things inside out, design schools were pivoting in response to shifting job markets. New technology exploded career options as it squeezed class schedules and scrambled curriculums, which led Mike Monteiro to say, “Design education stinks.” According
to his book Ruined by Design, “Today’s design students don’t need help with their self-image any more than any other students. Creativity can’t be the cornerstone of a design foundation anymore. We need to teach students the responsibilities of their craft. … Working ethically is a skill, and it’s a skill that needs to be taught and then developed.” Sensing this weakness in design education back when I was in school, I spent two years at a small liberal arts college reading Kant and Wittgenstein before enrolling at Pratt. Because unlike vocational training, the objective of liberal arts is a love of knowledge. The Greeks’ idea of education was a universal understanding of nature and philosophy, a way to pass the torch of wisdom. By the way, the Liberal Arts are not paintings by Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It’s liberal in the sense of generous servings of the basics: logic, rhetoric, math, and social and physical sciences, not professional or technical subjects. Vital basics, because the problem with design education is not too much technology or an old pedagogy, but gaps in the humanities. Students need to learn how to use their minds as rigorously as they use their bodies to think, create, and make good things. “We find that the study of past human achievements, whether history, literature, philosophy, music, or art, provides us with a nuanced appreciation for the complexity of human existence,” wrote Peter N. Miller, dean of Bard College’s Graduate Center, in The Chronical of Higher Education on March 26, 2015. “Human-centered design redescribes the
classical aim of education as the care and tending of the soul; its focus on empathy follows directly from Rousseau’s stress on compassion as a social virtue.” In the title to his article, he asks, “Is ‘Design Thinking’ the New Liberal Arts?” And explains, “Knowledge has to fit the shape of the problem, not the other way around. … Students have a ‘mission’ instead of a major, and ‘loop’ in and out of the university throughout their work careers, with punctuated periods of different kinds of learning, and with fact-based expertise giving way to skills-based expertise.” We need to combine learning by reading with learning by doing—which adds up to smarter, more enabled people. Design education shows how to fail fast and how to deliver concrete results and beautiful things. We should teach liberal arts students how to materialize their wisdom. After all their reading, research, and discussion, they can make things that test or implement ideas—literally make sense. Maybe add a makerspace or a kitchen to the library, creating a workshop for innovation where they produce hands-on manifestations of the knowledge. Merging liberal arts with industrial design will fill gaps in both fields: ID gains wisdom and liberal arts gains physical authentication. Follow 20th-century John Dewey’s model for progressive education: Blur projectbased hands-on learning with hands-on doing, empowering students’ curiosity and training nimble thinkers and fingers. This isn’t a new idea. The combination of curious minds and talented hands produced the revival of art and literature that ended the Dark Ages with the Renaissance, and the bloom of reason, science, and individualism that trumped dogma and magical thinking, leading to the Age of Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries. What caused those eras to be so successful? Making actual things. Both of those eras supported the free circulation of ideas toward validation—reality checks. People took an objective and multidisciplinary approach, dare I say design approach. A few years ago, David Skorten, the 13th secretary of the Smithsonian, wrote: “When you bring together and cultivate minds from across a range of disciplines, then new ideas, creativity, and innovation can and do flourish. These problems are not intractable. But they will only be solved with a populace broadly educated in the humanities and sciences, working in concert towards solutions, and prepared to make difficult decisions about complex issues.” We live in a world in flux where a clear vision, responsive approach, and smart methodology is vital— and not just for designers. The climate crisis is one of the most complex issues we face, stressing everything and demanding accelerating progress. It will require a lot of work. We need a lot of help. Societies need smart, healthy citizens to reimagine civilization. Designers flourish on the edge where things are fluid and new opportunities are emerging—like when matter is in a liquid state it fosters chemical reactions. Designers in motion bend and blend. The trajectory of industrial design education beginning in the 1930s was based on bending attractive forms to create consumer demand and blending
Yankee ingenuity with practical trial and error. The original industrial designers created our process for agility and to exploit opportunity with context-dependent, action-oriented solutions. Discover, develop, and deliver (in three or five phases). It helps designers swim in a sea of diversity and uncertainty. Every step of our design process strives for unbiased and objective analysis. Now a trans-talented Renaissance man is not so special; anyone can follow design thinking steps. And if they pay attention, are curious and inclusive, and have some talent, they can design something really good. Trust the process—it’s future proof. Infinite Design Feedback Over slices of the “World’s Best Cheesecake” at a class reunion at Junior’s restaurant in Brooklyn a few months after my ID class graduated from Pratt, the main topic of discussion was our job searches during that recession. I was lucky and landed a job with Lance Wyman and Bill Cannan designing the wayfinding system for the National Zoo. But one kid could only get a job selling shoes. Although he was bummed, we reminded him that our industrial design education was transferable: He could use his eye for form analysis, be user centered, and employ a problem-solving way of thinking. With a leg up in the shoe business, couldn’t he work anywhere? The goal of design education is not just to get a job—it’s to get the job done whether it’s designing a communication system, creating the wayfinding for the National Zoo, or selling a shoe. I’m sure Jony Ive, Tim Brown, Patricia Moore, FIDSA, and Raja Schaar, IDSA, would say their industrial design education gave them a great combination of process and maker skills suitable for any need. The high cost of industrial design education is worth it because the results are so priceless. Design is not a luxury—it’s a verb. “Through good design and an open-ended way of understanding it, we can discover—and invent—who we are,” says Cas Holman, RISD teacher, toy maker and star of the Netflix special Abstract: The Art of Design, which echoes the ancient Greek tragedian (that’s the opposite of comedian) Sophocles: “A man, though wise, should never be ashamed of learning more, and must unbend his mind.” Our fragile education industry, culture business, and financial arts are directly impacting our personal health and the health of our communities. Form and function are more critical now when a functioning society and a functional planet seem in doubt. We made it through the election, but humanity is frozen (polarized) by too much information without shared understanding. Our design process unwinds problems then builds practical and real solutions based on common knowledge and talent, not dogma or magical thinking. It works on any project—the ultimate beautility. That’s what we need to teach our children. The students of today are the foundation of tomorrow! —Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA www.tuckerviemeister.com
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
D E S I G N DE F I NE D
IS (DESIGN) GRAD SCHOOL WORTH IT?
n September 17, I moderated a panel at the 2020 International Design Conference (IDC) that posed the question of whether or not graduate school is worth it. This is a giant inquiry, not easily answered in a 45-minute
online conversation. The panel’s conclusion was “It depends.” It depends on who you are, why you’re returning to (or continuing with) school, the format and content of the curriculum, which faculty you’ll work with, and how much it’s going to cost.
As the moderator, I didn’t contribute my own perspective. But as a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s MFA program and current assistant professor of product design at Western Michigan University, I have a lot of opinions on the topic. The Path to Graduate School For me, getting an advanced degree was a requirement in order to continue teaching at the college level. I started as an adjunct professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology shortly after earning my Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design from the University of Cincinnati. This part-time position continued for a few years until the department chair offered me a full-time term contract. The hierarchy of higher education is tumultuous. Typically,
adjunct professors aren’t compensated especially well. Pay is based on the number of credit hours taught and rarely includes the benefits (like health insurance and a retirement plan) that come with full-time work. In addition to better compensation, teaching full-time offers more opportunities to engage with students and other faculty members both in and out of the classroom. In order to secure a long-term teaching position, colleges often require prospective faculty members to have a terminal degree. This is how, seven years after earning my undergraduate degree and with more than five years of teaching experience, I found myself going back to school. In my case, the question of “Is grad school worth it?” was straightforward: I love teaching, and in order to keep teaching, I needed another degree.
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
The Design Foundation
The Design Foundation was founded in 2001 by the Industrial Designers Society of America to produce charitable and educational programming for the advancement of the industrial design profession. Facilitating opportunities that expand the composition of designers in the profession, increasing access to industrial design programming, and offering more learning opportunities in schools and through local community outreach are integral values upon which the Design Foundation is built. Through its focus on education as the starting point for a successful career in industrial design, the Design Foundation also positions IDSA, as a professional membership organization, to be responsive to the present and prepared for the future. Learn more at idsa.org/designfoundation
Learning About Research Let’s take a moment to interrogate the question of why a terminal degree is a requirement for faculty. At many institutions, professors are more than teachers—they are researchers too. Research done at universities results in the creation of new knowledge that can impact professional practice and the field at large. Graduate education offers an immersion into the world of academic research. Grad students may also have the opportunity to gain experience either teaching their own courses or supporting faculty members as teaching assistants. For those who will become professors at research institutions, graduate school can serve as the ultimate training ground. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions is the higher education standard in defining which schools are considered research institutions. The Carnegie system tracks the number of doctoral degrees granted by a school each year as well as the school’s total research expenditures. Design is taught at a variety of institutions, ranging from schools with a heavy research focus to those that focus their curriculum entirely on career preparation. Although many universities require faculty to have a terminal degree, for those teaching at non-research institutions, that requirement is misguided. In graduate school, potential future professors invest time planning, executing, and evaluating academic research, when more focus on (and practice with) teaching may offer better preparation for their intended career paths. Design Outside of Industry Preparation for a career in teaching is not the only reason to seek out a graduate degree in design. Grad school offers the opportunity to create work outside the vacuum (and financial constraints) of corporate industry. Said differently, it’s a chance to do projects that would be difficult to get paid for in any other context. I centered my own graduate research trajectory on public health and well-being. This led to projects that were successfully implemented on Notre Dame’s campus and culminated in a graduate thesis rooted in systems theory and behavior change. Across disciplines, graduate education is generally seen as an opportunity to deepen knowledge and understanding of one particular area of expertise. A graduate education in design offers this opportunity through focused time to do work of your choosing. For practitioners who have become captivated by emerging trends or technology, grad school is a chance to become an expert. This level of experience can open doors to new career paths.
One caveat, however. Many people find their way to design-based graduate programs holding an undergraduate degree in a different discipline. Such students often need to dedicate significant time to learning fundamental skills, which makes it almost impossible for them to create work that is elevated beyond the undergraduate level. This dilutes the value of a graduate degree to the student, the granting institution, and the discipline. The Rhode Island School of Art and Design has devised one workaround for this with its MFA in graphic design. It offers two tracks: a shorter twoyear option for students with a background in the field and a longer three-year option for those without. By the time they reach graduation, every student has the experience and expertise necessary to produce sophisticated graduate-level work. I would love to see this sort of two-tiered graduate program more widely adopted by design schools. Some people with undergraduate degrees in design who, like me, want to teach at the college level choose to pursue a graduate degree in a field other than design. Although I know and respect colleagues who have chosen that path, I don’t believe it serves the same purpose. Sure, it’s helpful to be able to offer students bits of information gleaned from a degree focused on business or sustainability. But everyone improves with practice, and a few years of advanced study focused on design will make even the most seasoned professional a better designer who is more equipped to work with students. This is all to say, I agree with the outcome of the IDC panel. Grad school can be worth it, especially for those who are interested in teaching or curious about digging into work that falls outside the realm of corporate-funded design. As a design educator, I see tremendous potential for graduate programs to evolve in order to more directly address the needs and interests of designers plotting a career in industry while also better preparing the educators of tomorrow. I can imagine a future in which designers return to school in order to take the lead in developing new and novel approaches to design research, concept development, and manufacturing. I can imagine a future in which grad school is, without a doubt, worth it. —Carly Hagins, IDSA firstname.lastname@example.org Carly Hagins is an assistant professor of product design at Western Michigan University
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S CHO LAR SHI P R E CI PI E NT S
Mingyuan (Peggy) Li, S/IDSA | ArtCenter College of Design 2020 Design Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship Winner The first products that had a significant impact on Mingyuan (Peggy) Li as a child were her toys, especially her Barbie doll: “I did all kinds of whimsical experiments,” she says, “cutting down her hair to bald, erasing her lipstick with nail polish, taping on a toilet paper dress, making miniature furniture for her.” She named every toy she owned and believed deeply that each one had its own personality. Her latest project exemplifies this playful spirit. i’mnot is a musical instrument and subscription service for nonmusicians to experiment with sound. The set includes a mini violin, piano, theremin, DJ mixer, xylophone, water phone, and Chinese erhu. Its name is meant to encourage the user to embrace the unknown. “Living in the 21st century, we feel the burden of constantly having to commit to an identity, often in the form of a label,” Li says. On the contrary, i’mnot is designed to allow people to discover more possibilities about themselves and their lives, no matter if they are children, adults, or somewhere in between.
Li is a senior at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA, pursuing a bachelor’s of science degree in product design and a minor in social innovation. Previously, she studied international and public relations at Jilin University in China and, in 2017, completed a Rhode Island School of Design summer study program in jewelry, metalsmithing, and product design. In 2019, she interned at Mattel focusing on doll hair and face design. She loves what she calls the “miracle moments and surprises during the design process” and plans to continue designing products with the utmost responsibility, curiosity, and empathy. She believes it is crucial for designers to shoulder the responsibilities and understand the consequences of their design decisions, especially when designing for children. Every curve and material of an object tells a story, she insists, and those stories echo in the people who interact with it. Her career aspiration is to “design objects that spread joyfulness to the world, little by little.” Below: The i’mnot instrument subscription service, winner of a 2020 Gold IDEA, allows nonmusicians to experiment with sound, designed by Mingyuan Li, S/IDSA.
Alex Cordeiro Neto, S/IDSA | Academy of Art University 2020 Gianninoto Graduate Scholarship Winner Growing up in Brazil, Alex Cordeiro Neto was inspired by his father, a businessman in marketing, and his mother, an art school teacher. “Having grown up in an environment with both worlds, art and business, I believe that helped to shape me into the designer I am,” he says. Neto is currently pursuing a master’s degree in industrial design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He also works as an industrial designer at Sic Studios, assisting in the stages of product development and collaborating with the engineering, marketing, and sales teams. “I’m curious about consumer behavior as well as an enthusiast of new business ideas,” he says. “I’m always trying to improve my design thinking and skills in the field.” This skill set includes CMF design, prototyping, 3D modeling, and sketching (manual and digital). His latest project, Bubble, is designed as a sustainable hub for healthier living that avoids waste, tracks consumption and expenses, and provides real-time storage data. His portfolio also includes the Atar Band, a bracelet with an integrated payment system, and the Alpha chair for the company he co-founded, Ipsilon Design, in Brazil. Previously, he studied industrial design at State University of Santa Catarina in Florianópolis, Brazil. He also worked at Estúdio 566 as a junior industrial designer and later as a mid-level designer and project manager. While earning his undergraduate degree, he developed a project inside a hospital for children with leg disabilities, such as paraplegia and diplegia. Using his knowledge to improve people’s lives was “the best feeling inside of the design industry that I had until that time,” he recalls. He began to wonder “why people think they need a new car or a new cellphone when out there are thousands and thousands of people that can’t even do simple things like go outside to walk by themselves.” Now he is focusing on medical design and developing his portfolio to find work in this field. “I think I still can do more for others, and that is my aspiration with design,” he says. “I believe that design can change the world and make it a better place.” Right: The Alpha chair was the first product for Ipsilon Design, a company that designs furniture for men, designed by Alex Cordeiro Neto, S/IDSA.
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E V E N T R E CAP - 2 0 2 0 E DUCATION SYM POSIUM
DESIGN EXCHANGE: SPANNING THE ACADEMICPRACTICE DIVIDE
ast fall when the IDSA Education Council was exploring the theme for this year’s Education Symposium, little did we know what was to come our way. Once the initial shock of the pandemic subsided and we found some footing again (although still in disbelief that the pandemic was here to stay for a while), we were delighted to have received so many submissions despite the fact that everybody’s lives had been upended. Thanks to our experienced and dedicated reviewers—a mixed group of educators and researchers—a total of nine papers were selected, eight of which were presented and discussed during the Education Symposium as part of the 2020 International Design Conference. (For our tenure-seeking faculty, the acceptance rate was 34%.)
The intent behind the theme of Design Exchange was to share knowledge and learn from each other by spanning the academic-practice divide. The symposium aimed to foster greater collaboration across fields of study as well as across academia and practice. It brought together educators, practitioners, and students from different disciplines with varying experiences and expertise. We invited participants to come together as a community of designers by trade and designers by heart. The papers presented covered a wide array of topics ranging from interdisciplinary problem-solving to the circular economy to using design fiction to teach ethics in design. We had an interaction designer moderate a panel discussion that included two occupational therapists, an industrial designer, and a hybrid engineer-designer, going well beyond our wildest dreams of crossing disciplines and professions. We learned how two designers at MIT explore design thinking in the realm of systems engineering and that going back to grad school after an already quite successful career can be very fulfilling. And we were inspired by two of our most passionate educators and designers talking about merging industry and education, encouraging us to take risks, break the rules, aim high, and not to follow the crowd but to work together. Being in this virtual environment, as our panel moderator Keith Instone put it, allowed us to be more inclusive than ever. We had a freshly minted first-time mother with her newborn participate in the panel discussion, which made her my personal conference hero. Congrats again, Louise Manfredi! As emcee of the Education Symposium, I had the incredible luxury to have Aziza Cyamani by my side as my co-emcee, which probably would not have happened in person. And all the authors of the accepted papers were able to participate, which under previous circumstances might not have been the case for budget reasons. Although we missed out on the serendipitous run-ins that occur during an in-person conference, we were thrilled to have reached so many people across the globe. We truly hope to have inspired and maybe even shaken up the design community with the curated content in the short talks, Q&As, panel discussions, a presentation by the SMA West District winner, and a thought-provoking, encouraging keynote. Continuing the Conversation During the conference, we invited participants to join our Education Symposium Discord server to continue the conversations. Although the momentum has slowed since, we are hopeful that this server provides a platform for us to carry on the discussions. Please DM me for an invitation.
network, and learn from each other. We will start by creating a Discord server for all chapters to easily connect. Stay tuned as we prepare, and let us know if you want to be among the first to test out the kinks. Adopt a Student Chapter We hope to kick-off an initiative where we will invite practitioners to adopt a Student Chapter for a select period of time, a thought that came up a few years back during one of our last District Conferences in Chicago. Many of our Student Chapters are in areas without direct access to a local Professional Chapter. We hope that practitioners will find it invigorating to inspire our next generation. Student Chapters and Professionals, please keep an eye out for our call to connect the dots. Thanks A special thanks go to Maria Miller for editing the idea of the Design Exchange theme into a meaningful call for papers. Thank you to our paper reviewers, whose dedication was not paused by this pandemic. Thank you to all authors who submitted paper proposals and all authors who presented at this yearâ€™s virtual conference. A big heartfelt thank you to Aziza Cyamani for being my co-emcee before and during the conference. Major thanks go to Keith Instone who reached out to me because he was intrigued by the theme and volunteered his time and interest to cross the disciplines. And a closing thanks goes to Owen Foster and John McCabe for never failing to inspire with their passion for design education. Keep an eye out for the theme for the next Education Symposium in 2021. Until then, stay safe, stay well, and in stay touch via our Education Symposium and Student Chapter Discord servers and idsa.org. â€”Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA email@example.com Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA, has been an ID faculty member for more than 15 years with professional ID experience in Germany and the U.S. Her research is focused on changing how people see and solve problems through design thinking methodologies. She serves as the Education Director on the IDSA Board of Directors. Education Symposium presenters and panelists: Basak Altan, Chris Baeza, Michael Barrett, Benjamin Bush, IDSA, Derek Cascio, Aziza Cyamani, Mekin Elcioglu, Mike Elwell, Carly Hagins, IDSA, Keith Instone, Sheng-Hung Lee, John C. Liu, Louise R Manfredi, PhD, IDSA, Sarah McNabb, Rebecca Ngola, James Rudolph, Raja Schaar, IDSA, Eric Schneider, Hector Silva
Empowering Student Chapters Over the next year we plan to explore how we can best connect the Student Chapters to share events, grow their
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INDUSTRIAL DESIGN EDUCATION DURING THE PANDEMIC: A ROUNDTABLE WITH IDSA EDUCATORS
hen lockdowns due to the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in March 2020, educators at all levels had to switch to teaching their classes and conducting most of their work online and from home. It was a difficult transition for many, but especially for design educators at the collegiate level and their students, who traditionally depend on threedimensional, hands-on, and studio-based learning. To learn more about the impact of this year on industrial design education, IDSA reached out to the six educators who won IDSA Awards in 2020. Excerpts from this correspondence, conducted via Zoom and email in mid-October 2020, are included below and have been lightly edited for clarity.
What changes and challenges arose during the Spring 2020 semester and how did you overcome them? Ricardo Gomes, IDSA, a professor at San Francisco State University and a 2020 IDSA Education Award winner: There was immediate trauma on the faculty’s behalf when, all of the sudden, we had to switch boats in the middle of the spring. What the university did initially was give us a week off, so we basically had one week to retool how we deliver our curriculum. The thing that did not make that initial period so bombastic was that it was near midterm. For the last project that semester, students were to make a light with found materials; they were not required to fabricate or build anything. The onus was on the student to identify found objects anywhere. I asked them, “As a designer, how can you be resourceful? How can
you be interpretive?” Many of them had great ideas that were developed from what was around them. One of the resources I used was from IDSA Education Award recipient Steven Skov Holt. He wrote a book called Re-Manufactured about taking things that were manufactured and repurposing them. It was an ideal reference for my students and a wonderful, inspirational tool. Long story short, my students were not intimidated or hindered but in fact very inspired to address the challenge within their means and within their own resources. Betsy Barnhart, IDSA, an assistant professor at the University of Kansas and a 2020 IDSA Young Educator Award winner: The spring semester was incredibly difficult. I was teaching two sections of our senior studio, so not only was I quickly transitioning to an online format, but I was also mentoring graduating seniors through entering into an economy that was shifting every day. I wasn’t sure if the hiring outlook would be similar to after the Great Recession, when there were very few jobs to apply for. Most of my students who had internships lost them, and the other students knew that was happening, which took an enormous emotional toll on the group. Fortunately, we were in the sketch and then CAD phase of their senior projects, so not having access to the shop wasn’t as detrimental as it could have been. Louise Manfredi, PhD, IDSA, an assistant professor at Syracuse University and a 2020 IDSA Young Educator Award winner: The biggest challenge for me was teaching CAD online. If you don’t
have a reliable internet connection, you’ve got problems. If students have Mac computers, Solidworks doesn’t run on them. Although we had all of these IT issues to address, we were able to get it going and it wasn’t too bad. The biggest part of my job was really to talk to the students one-onone and make sure they were OK and to understand what was going on for them at home and where they were. The international students felt incredibly displaced. I had some students waiting on a call from their embassy to tell them that they’d have to jump on a flight the next day. Trying to take care of their needs and hearing them as people was really important. Pascal Malassigné, FIDSA, a senior professor and chair of Industrial Design at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and a 2020 IDSA Education Award winner: We had to completely rethink 3D-intensive projects in order for students to do that from home. In some instances, we had to ship them materials and hand tools. We normally do a lot of clay modeling programs with GM and we were not able to do any of that. That has been a challenge, because we believe very much in clay development, but we have not been able to it because the studio spaces are too small.
What does the fall 2020 semester look like for you and your students in comparison to spring? What are you continuing to learn? Kelly Umstead, IDSA, assistant professor, North Carolina State University and a 2020 IDSA Young Educator Award winner: In the summer I taught what was supposed to be Contextual Inquiry in the Hospital. We had to shift our focus. We couldn’t do in-person observations. That is our new constraint. How do we identify needs that are important if we’re not able to get into a hospital? We doubled down on the interviews; the students conducted an exorbitant number of interviews. On the good side, usually it’s harder to schedule interviews, but there have been a lot of people who were available and willing to talk and share. We’re doing in-room videotaping in the post-natal unit at the NC Women’s Hospital – UNC Medical Center, which
is good because there is no contact there. We’re in the middle of collecting that information, and we’re happy to get any kind of data we can. The thing that’s most frustrating is how to have conversations with post-partum moms that we have no former relationship with without having face-toface interactions. It’s hard to create rapport over Zoom. We think about all the workshops we did prior to this and all of the ramp-up activities we did, and we haven’t found a good way to reproduce them online. It’s also not very reasonable to ask people to sit in front of their computer for more than an hour, even with breaks. Malassigné: Over the summer, the school provided new furniture in the studios. The drawback is that we cannot really teach in the studios, so I’m basically at home. The only possibility the school has set up for meeting with the students is for small groups of eight, plus one instructor, in rooms you can use for one hour, and after that you have to clean up, in order to let the next group in. And all of this needs to be done through a sign-up system. Same for our labs, with two hours max. This is a big detriment. But so far [halfway through the fall semester], MIAD has 900 students and no cases of COVID. About three-quarters of our students are still online. Katherine Bennett, IDSA, a professor at ArtCenter College of Design and a 2020 IDSA Education Award winner: The online format reduces this richness of design education to a flat screen for all concerned. The experience is a pale version of the real thing. The online environment also lacks the ability to fill a wall or a large tabletop with materials and step back for a holistic view. This ability to see everything at once is essential and a key attribute of both generative tools and analysis frameworks: making connections. On a screen, it’s like looking at the universe through a soda straw. However, overcoming these obstacles might enable our students to become adept in using generative tools for online research, perhaps putting them in a leadership position after graduation. Gomes: This semester I’m only doing two classes. One is a graduate seminar, which has been fantastic because I’ve been able to bring in all these guest speakers I normally wouldn’t be able to bring in; it’s much more convenient and accessible via Zoom. However, I am starting to see a bit of a malaise in students this semester. Whereas it was a new and a different challenge in the beginning,
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now—like everyone is feeling with the COVID restrictions— students are getting tired of it or are not as motivated to see how they can be innovative and creative, particularly with the introductory students who require more hands-on engagement that essentially gets flattened on a screen and somewhat neutralized.
What tools are you using for remote and socially distanced learning? Umstead: We use Zoom, sometimes Google Meet, sometimes Teams, depending on who we’re working with. We’ve used Mural and Miro. We’ve been diving headfirst into all the digital Whiteboard platforms, and I can see taking a lot of that with us moving forward, even being in person, because it is so nice in a lot of ways. But as a primary or only interaction, not so much. Barnhart: I have been relying on Zoom and Mural. For Solidworks this has been great; the students have access to content they might have forgotten because the studio is recorded and they have recorded demos I have made. They mostly work from home, so they do miss the option to ask their neighbors how to work through something. However, they do send me files in class and then the entire classroom can see how I work through it, which has been more beneficial. For the senior studio we use Mural and Zoom. Mural has been helpful because students can post their entire workflow and everyone can leave feedback. I have found it harder to get students to post as many sketches as they would in the studio. I think being in a studio setting where everyone can see all the drawings posted up helps everyone rise to meet or beat their peers. The students can all see their classmates work on Mural, but it isn’t the same as being in the studio surrounded by sketches and inspiration. We use breakout rooms, but it can make everyone feel isolated from their peers, and it is difficult for me to know what is happening in the rooms. Now we break into two groups and everyone can work and listen to feedback to others at the same time to get some comradery. Bennett: We have experimented with both Mural and Miro. I created a set of online versions of my nine generative tools in Miro and a set of analysis frameworks in Mural. Students learn the tools in in-class workshops and then conduct their
interviews in Zoom using generative tools. We view recorded highlights in class on Zoom. Much online research uses surveys or interviews alone. There is some use of photo journals or video walk-throughs to see the customer’s point of view. I have found little use of online generative tools similar to the ones we use. The notable exception is the work of Elizabeth Sanders at Ohio State and her long-time collaborators at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, headed by Pieter Jan Stappers. We have been sharing and learning from one another’s transitions to onlineonly research over this year. Gomes: We use a program called iLearn, which is similar to Blackboard and other online boards. But I’m finding that even when you have these tools—and I’m aware of Trello and Asana and Jamboard, and virtual Post-It noting and whiteboarding—the dilemma for virtual online encounters is that some people have a hard time dealing with the medium. With virtual work, the sense of a design studio is distorted and desensitized. In a studio, there are sensory tools that really stimulate students. Design isn’t limited to sketching and modeling, but is really more about experiencing. The experience becomes flattened on the screen. It’s difficult to be truly holistic. I’m quickly coming to the realization of the limitations of Zoom. It’s not interactive, intuitive, or engaging. It’s very linear, in a virtual sense. How do you give it more depth and spontaneity? One great thing about design is improvisation. The virtual environment doesn’t seem to facilitate improvisation, because it’s somewhat one-way. You see everything in windows or palettes, but you don’t see it in a holistic, all-encompassing way. It limits your ability to interact in a more dynamic context. In the classroom, not everyone learns the same way; but with Zoom, you are only learning one way. It really limits learning capacity and ability.
What have you learned about yourself this year? What have you learned about your students? Barnhart: I have learned that I am a pretty social person! I miss seeing everyone, being able to be present in the room and sketch next to someone. I love the interaction with students and listening to them engage with each other. I also have learned that I really care about what these students go through when graduating. For the past five years, prior to this year, the economy was going gangbusters, and I never
had to worry too much about students getting jobs if they put in the effort and had solid skills. Last spring was the first time I really worried about how they would do entering the workforce. Fortunately, most of them have now found work, but it definitely took longer than it usually does. I have stayed in touch with most of them and am always happy hearing how they are doing in transitioning out of school, even when it’s not an easy transition. I have learned that my students are resourceful and resilient; they understood why things were changing and, rather than complaining, stepped up to the plate. They were patient while I fumbled trying to figure out how to make online teaching work, were resilient when internships were closed during the summer, and kept looking for work and were successful. Malassigné: This has been a good learning experience for me, looking at other ways to teach and work with the students. I have found that to be virtual with students requires a great deal more work, because you have more emails to keep track of to see if they are doing what you have presented to them. Bennett: The online environment is less than optimal for the reasons stated, but also to a great degree because of the technology: bad internet connections; the missing subtleties of in-person experience, both in class and in interviews; interviewees not understanding how to navigate Zoom or Miro; and so on. We’re using tools that imperfectly re-create the already bad experience of a typical business meeting when we’d prefer engaging in the high-performance, highfidelity experience we have in person in the studio. Nevertheless, there are good reasons to conduct research and work collaboratively at a distance, and we are forging new methods for this. It’s a testament to my students’ intelligence and creativity that they have been able to make these tools work for professional-quality design research despite the challenges, and I do believe that they will be able to bring this new knowledge to the workplace after graduation. Gomes: For some students, you realize that their environment is not a good living environment, and even worse of a working environment, and may even be a problematic environment. Two of my students doing their senior degree projects this summer were dealing with issues of homelessness and mental health. At a university, the refuge for many students
who have compromised living conditions is the classroom, is the library, is the open space. This really makes it much more difficult for the students. From an instructor’s point of view, we have marginal difficulties. Students tend to have much less control in situations like these. Umstead: I’ve had to be better organized and a stronger communicator. I think everyone has their own teaching style. If you’re in person, there’s some ambiguity that people are comfortable with. When you are virtual, they may be less comfortable with it. Silence in a room seems different than silence in a virtual meeting; it seems longer and more uncomfortable. I feel like I have to give a bit more directness up front, because I want to encourage the students to do all of the exploration and allow for the creativity and flexibility. But I feel like I have to jump-start it more, being virtual. Manfredi: I’ve realized I’m pretty resilient and I like challenges—I always have. I saw this as solving another set of problems. But like Kelly [Umstead] said, also being super organized and very clear in my instructions—because in-person I’d say it a few times and then it’s on paper and it’s written somewhere else. But virtually I’ve had to be incredibly consistent: “Here is all of the information, here are all of my recorded lectures.” I have to be aware that some people may not be able to make it to the lecture because they have to go take care of a family member or they have to go get tested. I had to learn to not absorb everyone else’s feelings too much, because it can take its toll on you to feel the pain that a student is having because they’re worried about family members, or they’re ill themselves. Trying to be empathetic and sympathetic while maintaining some distance has been a bit tricky. Also realizing that things are going to slow down for me professionally. My research is going to take a hit. I don’t have access to my labs, so I can’t work with undergrads to assess sustainable materials, so now I have to think about other stuff to do. I have been more tied into a professional network. This year I’ve relied more on the IDSA network than I ever have for any professional body. That’s been really, really great. It’s been such an amazing source of strength and inspiration.
Thank you all very much for your time and insight into these important topics!
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THE PLOT-TWIST: LESSONS FROM TEACHING STUDIO VIRTUALLY
s the pandemic began to take grip in March 2020 and universities were forced to shift to remote learning, the studio was uprooted. Consequently, teaching became remote with all studio interactions occurring via electronic screens. Instead of students having a centralized place for learning and making with a proper set up of tools and equipment and enough space for movement and reflection, they were required to pack up and find spaces to work within their quarantine dwellings. What had previously been a classroom that thrived on values of community found itself contingent on isolated learning. This challenged both instructors and students. At the start of the pandemic, I was teaching a first-year environmental design studio course and am currently teaching a sophomore industrial design and interior architecture studio, primarily online. Here are some of the lessons I have learned: Lesson #1: Empathy is the lesson of the day. In the week prior to shifting online mid-semester in the spring, I spent countless hours planning and accounting for all aspects to keep my studio classroom running effectively, albeit remotely. That first week online we knew this was not going to be a typical semester, but we were committed to seeing it through. Some students adapted to remote learning rather quickly, while others struggled to adjust to the changes in their environment and the working conditions brought by inadequate space, tools, and materials; unreliable internet; and personal and family expectations. As we began online classes, I was quickly forced to slow down and rethink my lesson plans when I realized that some of my students were not acquainted with basic computer commands. In fact, an important task many instructors who teach digital tools in lower-level courses perform is to help students overcome the anxiety of using computers. I had encountered this in the visual communication course
I taught prior to the pandemic, so I could empathize with how these particular students were feeling. I realized that in order to continue learning, we needed to first ease into our new environment. As the semester progressed, I adjusted studio expectations and created a flexible schedule for meeting with students. Some days I was reviewing studentâ€™s work at night and/or on weekends because that was the only time the students were free from caregiving responsibilities. Without many options, my goal was to maintain a bit of normalcy in the virtual studio while the world around us was transfiguring. I speak for many instructors when I say that at some point empathy was the most important lesson we could bring to the learning environment. Lesson #2: Simplify and create a routine. As we came into the fall semester, my students and I were better prepared for another atypical semester. I had spent the summer optimizing a lesson plan that would allow us to learn regardless of format. My goal was to simplify the studio structure and adapt tools and processes to be easy to follow in a remote environment. My learning methods were focused on collaboration, redundancy, and flexibility. I dedicated the first few weeks of studio to discovering technology and creating a routine. Instead of using multiple platforms for course content, submission, feedback, and communication, I focused on just a couple and created a simple routine. I took into consideration studentsâ€™ varying technical capabilities and planned my initial studio activities to be conducted in groups. This way students could discover together and get to know each other. I had more success with this approach than I did in my other course where students were working individually. In regard to course delivery, I opted to teach my studio course in a hybrid format with most of my classes
conducted virtually and synchronously. Thanks to a thriving video-sharing culture on social media, I found great little tools to enhance my virtual work environment. I taught and did demonstrations, gave students time to do the tasks, and then had them share, comment, and ask questions via Zoom. The sessions were recorded and made available for later access. I noticed more engagement with students through this format and found that this approach allowed them to maintain the studio pace while also having access to the class content outside the classroom. As every good mitigation plan does, I anticipated loopholes. One being that my university was planning to shift to 100% virtual after Thanksgiving break. Instead of fighting the uphill battle of changing the meticulously crafted lesson plan mid-semester, I had created my course to run primarily virtually and to offset the unknowns. I also added buffers days. These were blank days on which if we were behind or needed to slow down we could recover. During the semester, I was flexible with the pace of the class. As I write this in early November, I have used up all my buffer days. Lesson #3: Recruit reviewers from far and wide. The biggest advantage I have found in teaching studio remotely is the ability to have various people join our classroom during critiques. I have had more upper-class students participate in my studio’s mid-crits than at any other time because of the flexibility to participate remotely regardless of physical location. Additionally, the remote structure allowed me the flexibility to accommodate more reviewers with different schedules, which opened the door for other faculty to engage and contribute to my studio course. This is a learning aspect that I hope to keep as part my studio course regardless of format. I also foresee opportunities for collaboration with other colleges as well as programs from other universities.
Lesson #4: Cultivate a virtual studio social culture. I cannot conclude without touching on the social aspect of studio. As a long-term design student myself, I know the importance of being a part of the studio community. Some of my long-term friendships were formed around sanding blue foam and countless hours spent using digital tools. With social distancing and remote learning, my heart aches for students who are not able to work together in studio. Therefore, it is imperative that as virtual instructors we nurture comradery and create opportunities for students to collaborate. The breakout room on Zoom is a tool I have found to be helpful in facilitating this aspect. Recently, it warmed my heart when one of my students initiated doing peer critiques in the breakout room! Design Studio 2.0 These lessons are far from being comprehensive, but rather a preliminary attempt to capture a different way of teaching design studio and to challenge my own longstanding notions of the studio culture. I know that despite all of this year’s challenges, when I return to the physical classroom, I will cherish the ability to engage in face-to-face dialogue, draw and model together, and critique drawings as they hang on boards. Even more so, I look forward to returning to the design studio 2.0. Until then, my students and I will continue to learn on Zoom! —Aziza Cyamani, IDSA firstname.lastname@example.org Aziza Cyamani is an instructor in the Department of Interior Architecture and Industrial Design at Kansas State University. She received her master’s degrees in industrial design and sustainable environments at Iowa State University.
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9 WAYS TO INCREASE DIVERSITY AT YOUR SCHOOL
had a much longer list, but I shortened it to nine to give you a few things to “try.” I say “try” because that is what most schools say they are doing when it comes to diversity but actually aren’t. I challenge you to tell your boss I “tried” to do my job today, or yesterday, or last month, or last year but was just not successful. How long do you think you will have that job? If “trying” is not acceptable in any other parts of your job, then why is it acceptable around the topic of diversity? For those who know me, I am a straightforward guy. I will give you real things to think about, and this topic is no different. Being Black is not an “option.” For the majority of you reading this, you have the “option” to “opt into” our world when you want, which is why “trying” is acceptable These nine points are written through the lens of “what if you” didn’t have an “option.” 1. What if you connected salaries to performance? I am willing to bet that none of you reading this—or any president, provost, vice president, or department chair—have your salary tied to how well your school performs against the diversity goals it “tries” to achieve annually. It is the No. 1 reason why the plans have not been as successful as they can be. Today, there are no consequences for failing to implement your plans, which is ironic considering your school hands out grades as a consequence for an agreedupon action you have made with your students; yet you have not done the same for your students or, more importantly, the parents of those students who trust you with their children.
2. What if you highlight your Black alumni? Assuming your school has Black alumni, a simple action is to show them appreciation every month, not just in February. Create a section on your school’s website that highlights the achievements of your Black students and alumni. Therefore, when your recruiters go out to speak to new students, they can show off the diversity in your school so potential Black students can feel they belong. It will also help your school to be seen as more diverse through the lens of corporations that are looking to support your school. One of the biggest challenges Black students face when attending a school that is not a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) is that they are still the minority and spend more time searching for belonging rather than understanding they are there to receive a great education and to inspire the next generation. 3. What if you had more Black faculty, speakers, and staff? Having some Black faculty and staff is an “option.” Conduct an audit of your school to see what your diversity numbers are as they pertain to the daily life of your students and staff. If diversity is as important to you as eating, you will be successful. No more excuses. Diversity needs to be woven into who you are and how you run a business—and yes, a school is a business. “Try” to have regular Black guest critics, lecturers, and speakers. This is not just for the Black students and staff; it is for everyone so they will realize that the industry of design is more diverse than what your school is showing them. 4. What if you taught Black design education? Take a hard look at your curriculum to see if you have woven Black designers, inventors, engineers, and products designed by
Black creatives into the way you teach. “Try” to make your class assignments, subjects, and lectures more diverse and you will discover amazing Black creatives that all students will learn about. This is not just Black History, it is American History. 5. What if you conducted a Black student census? Keep track of your Black students from the time they are first-years through the rest of their career at your school. Corporations are looking for diverse talent. If your school has a database of alumni, your school will be remembered first when those corporations look to support schools. “Try” to keep in touch with those who drop out, because they came to your school for a reason. If there are ways to nurture talent—not just while they are still in school, but nurture them back to school—it would change a person’s life. 6. What if you supported peer-to-peer mentoring for a grade? When a Black student becomes a sophomore, they would be assigned a Black first-year student to mentor and the cycle would continue until each student graduates. This is the easiest form of creating fellowship, guidance, trust, growth, and sharing of knowledge that all students need. If this was instituted as a mandatory credit, you would see an increase in a sense of belonging, confidence, retention, and maybe even enrollment of Black students at your school. 7. What if you created a Black IDSA student chapter? My intention is not to divide. It is to create unity for the small population of Black students in design education. With a renewed interest in diversity in corporate America, companies are finding it difficult to quickly identify diverse
students for targeted opportunities. Having a Black student IDSA chapter would not only help companies connect with Black students but also increase the opportunities available to them and the schools themselves. 8. What if you partnered with an HBCU? If you are a design school in the same state as an HBCU, you should consider partnering with them to create a sister school program. I have always admired the European sister school system and have felt that U.S. students would receive a better design education with such an experience. HBCU’s have some of the brightest minds in our country, but do not have the same access to design education. This action would not only increase your school’s Black student body, but it would increase funding from corporations. 9. What if you hired a diversity and inclusion person and gave them the budget and authority to do what you hired them to do? NO MORE EXCUSES! Any school that wants to get serious about the future of your Black students, contact me. I can provide opportunities for them to partner with you. Lastly, please stop “trying” and DO! —D’Wayne Edwards email@example.com Dr. D’Wayne Edwards is the founder of PENSOLE Academy, the first academy in the U.S. dedicated to footwear design. Through its industry partnerships, the school has placed more than 475 alumni in positions working for some of today’s top footwear brands.
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AWAKENING A DEEPER DESIGN CONSCIOUSNESS
he four stages of competence, a framing of cognitive development created in the 1960s, can help anyone appreciate the process of learning. We start learning journeys in a state of unconscious incompetence, ignorant about the things we’re incapable of doing. If we take learning to ride a bike as an example, we’re jerked out of our initial innocence when a neighborhood friend graduates from three wheels to two. At that moment we realize we don’t possess the skills necessary to perform an activity we might enjoy or otherwise benefit from. This marks the entry point into an awkward second stage of conscious incompetence that forces us to acknowledge an inability to perform something we find value in, despite our initial efforts. The third stage of continual effort, called conscious competence, is the most frustrating stage because gains come only through painstaking focus and trial and error. Every new adventure beyond our neighborhood comes with the threat of a new bruise or scratch. With perseverance, we arrive at a state of unconscious competence where our mastery of the new skill allows us to apply it with seeming effortlessness, even as it acts as a springboard for further skill development: Not only can we now ride a two-wheeled bike but we can carry a friend on the handle bars and even ride handsfree over bumpy roads.
The Price of Ignorance Seasoned designers are good at what we do because we’ve persevered through the toughest stages of conscious competence. Yet for everything we’ve collectively accomplished over the last century, something (or a lack of something) in our combined skill sets has directed the consequences of many of our efforts toward a cascade of corrosive environmental and social impacts we never intended. We’ve been ignorant of a deeper interdependence within this world that expands beyond our initial intentions, and an inability to avoid the consequences of this blind spot has become a signature of our trade. A perpetual production cycle of consumer goods coupled with a self-reinforcing cultural belief that endless consumption represents the true path to happiness has led us to a global reckoning. The last 50 years have been rich with well-researched, well-reasoned, and well-publicized warnings of existential threats to human well-being in overshooting Earth’s carrying capacity. The comforts we’ve designed into our lives have come at a price. They’re eroding the potential for future comforts at an accelerating rate, even as they’ve made the dismissal of this erosion more comforting to embrace. And when advancements in technology outstrip our ability to manage their impacts, the time has come to
unconscious incompetence unconscious competence
Seasoned designers must add consciousness
Consciousness competence should be taught to young
competence to their existing skills.
designers at the earliest stage of design education.
reimagine our creative capacities to more intentionally shape desirable futures. The time has come to add another skill: consciousness competence. Adding a Competence of Consciousness So we’ve discovered that our otherwise magical stages of competence in design have been lacking something vital for humans to thrive on an increasingly small planet: consciousness competence, an awareness that all things are interdependent, that all actions have consequences, and that those consequences reverberate in surprising ways far beyond our imagination. Things are not just connected; they’re dynamically interconnected. And actions are never linear in their impacts in either sense of the word; they are instead both cyclical and nonlinear. A big question for designers is, Which interdependencies have we been taught to ignore? This is a relevant question, because individual design actions, by definition, enable others to act at larger scales. Our work has consequences that are both intended and unintended. The impacts of any design, by their very nature, are compounded by the actions of those who adopt them. Because as designers our actions have such outsized impacts, we should be as aware of them as possible throughout our entire process.
Designers of my generation are playing catch up. It’s not easy to unlearn deeply ingrained patterns of thought, especially when our career success has been built on them. At a time when we’re supposed to be the sages, we must acknowledge we’ve been trained to ignore fundamental aspects of design consequence and commit to developing our own consciousness competence as a fifth stage of learning, tacking it onto the other four after the fact (see figure 1a). More importantly, we have to shake our own students loose from that same narrow path so that their consciousness competence guides the development of their design mind, not the other way around. We can do this by teaching them a suite of systems thinking competencies that have a fundamental appreciation for interdependence baked directly into them (see figure 1b). The requisite body of knowledge has been waiting for designers for decades. And while complex and nuanced, these fundamentals are already being taught to everyone from business managers to school children. Thinking in Systems Design has a strange relationship with systems thinking. On the one hand we can trace it back to Buckminster Fuller’s Anticipatory Design Science, Herbert Simon’s “Architecture
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DOWNSTREAM NUTRIENT MANAGERS (material flows)
CAPABILITY STEWARDS (human-centeredness)
Figure 2: The traditional triad of client, designer, and user must be expanded at the earliest stage of design research not only to minimize negative impacts both upstream and downstream but to actually enhance the design opportunity into a multitude of win-win scenarios.
of Complexity,” and Richard Buchanan’s “New Liberal Art of Technological Culture” and weave it through more recent initiatives such as Design X and the Systemic Design Research Network. SCAD’s Design for Sustainability program has been teaching systems thinking for 11 years within its BFA minor and two master’s degrees. On the other hand, many designers who’ve had a small taste of systems thinking fail to push beyond a circumscribed and superficial application of its principles. I often hear from designers that design thinking and systems thinking are “the same thing.” No, they’re not. Believing we know has been the biggest barrier to coming to know. Yet when today’s teachers struggle to acknowledge and address their own conscious incompetence in dynamic interdependence, it’s no wonder that our students generate the same unintended consequences. Because the two do pair well together, systems thinking can be seamlessly introduced into the design curriculum. We can holistically incorporate it into design education by expanding two domains within the existing design curriculum: material flows and human centeredness. There are common patterns of interdependence in both of these that systems thinking can help illuminate. This includes a basic framing of interconnected design consequences that expands far beyond both the insulated circle of client, designer, and user
and the short-now perspective of immediate gratification that eschews long-term consequences (see figure 2). Systemsbased tools—from the technically oriented life-cycle analysis to the relationship-oriented casual loop diagram—allow us to see beyond both of these short-sighted perspectives. If we were to trace the material flows and human energies that establish the starting point of the design opportunity to begin with and imagine the cascading post-design impacts on those same flows and relations on the other, we would find ourselves cultivating the interdependent webs of biological and social life rather than defuturing them. In SCAD’s Design for Sustainability program, we frame these two systems-based opportunities by encouraging our students to simultaneously become mindful nutrient managers and capability stewards. They become students of the material and technical realms of circular economies. Their worldview is guided by a humanistic appreciation for how design decisions can nurture or erode the human capabilities of individuals who are both directly and tangentially implicated. The interdependencies between the material flows that directly implicate human lives and the belief and behavioral systems that arise from the mindset that created them in the first place thus become an interwoven foundational consideration for design intention.
FORM OF INNOVATION
FORM OF WELLBEING
Telling new stories Visualizing new values in action Making new habits meaningful Celebrating marginalized cultures Enabling perceptual leaps from ‘what is’ to ‘what could be’
Resource productivity Circular economy + LCA Alternative materials Cradle to cradle Renewable energy Service and flow
Participatory, inclusive + equitable Harmonizing the parts with the whole Addressing power asymmetries Empowering local assets Exploratory + iterative Amplifying alternative cultures
Figure 3: The Three Innovations Framework from SCAD’s Design for Sustainability program defines design opportunities as a rigorous exploration of consequences across three areas of sustainability: people, planet, and prosperity. The left-hand column serves as a list of interdisciplinary menu options where design teams choose the best sampling of strategic approaches across a wide spectrum of innovations with an eye toward context-specific solutions.
If this sounds too expansive, we should question what self-reinforcing constraints might be responsible for such a reaction. We should ask what forms of incompetence we are unconsciously perpetuating. After all, we teach students about human factors without the benefit of being physiologists and about semiotics without the benefit of being linguists. Why would we leave out the central framing of design as a process of enacting interconnected consequences? The journey toward a consciousness competence in systems thinking can begin at the very earliest stages of design education. Like any realm of learning, a fundamental framing at the beginning of a systems thinking education is key to creating a user-friendly container for students to fill as they advance their education. The Three Innovations Framework that SCAD’s Design for Sustainability program uses to define the design opportunity provides a quick peek at what this might look like, where the ultimate ends for any project (people, planet, and prosperity) are arrived at through a context-specific selection of different forms of innovation (see figure 3). Like a tapas menu of interdisciplinary approaches, the Three Innovations Framework forces designers to consider a much wider perspective of design intention and design consequence. We frame the topic early as an essential foundation and then help students build that
knowledge as they move forward. If taught early and often, systems thinking creates a spiral of growth with its own exponential possibilities. Designers become both more capable and more regenerative in the process. The language and tools that emphasize pattern finding, nested wholes and holons, the architecture of complexity, casual loop diagrams, life-cycle analysis, cultural competence, social justice and plurality, and the life-enriching power of diversity in all its forms—just to name a few—can provide a wealth of new knowledge that fits seamlessly into core elements of existing design education. If we, as educators, can reshape our own appreciation for holistic thinking, this simple awakening of consciousness will have profound effects on the design consequences of generations to come. —Scott Boylston firstname.lastname@example.org Scott Boylston is the co-author and graduate coordinator of SCAD’s Design for Sustainability master’s degree, founder of Emergent Structures, author of four books, and a Catapult Design board member.
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esign is about communication, and communicating by Zoom and Google Meet is changing the way we teach. We are in the midst of a great unknown, navigating problems and conditions we haven’t faced. What are design educators thinking and doing about their students and classes this year? With this question in mind, I spoke with design educators from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York to see how they are communicating with their students during the pandemic. Some educators see this time as an opportunity to try new ideas, some are seeing their students more clearly, and all are optimistic about how it will turn out. Here’s what they are thinking. Finding Inspiration at Home In the fall of 2019, when Constantin Boym, chair of industrial design at Pratt Institute, suggested a class called Homework to Linda Celentano, she explained, “It’s about the products we use in our home: paperclips, staplers, tape dispensers, lights, etc.” Neither one knew that a few months later Celentano, an adjunct associate professor at Pratt, would be teaching Homework from her home to students spread across the globe, each one working from their own homes.
The students’ homes have become their laboratory where they can discover real design problems and solutions. “The class is fun because the students roam around their homes and show stuff they love and what needs work,” says Celentano. Every week the students create a PowerPoint of their sketches, drawings, and experiments and share them with them everyone. “It’s a visual free-for-all of what they are working on,” she says. Analog Hacks As Darwin said, adaptation is the key to survival. Many of the teachers I spoke with are discovering ways to teach that might never have happened without isolation. Harvey Bernstein, a CCE tenured professor at Pratt Institute, invented a way to draw and demonstrate stuff that seems to be nothing short of brilliant, eliminating the need to click on controls that may or may not be intuitive or send the class careening into virtual space. It’s a simple adaptation of a mechanical interface using a mirror, tape, and small platform that fits over the keyboard. When demonstrating over Zoom, “The students see my hand drawing, not a mysterious avatar of a moving pen,” says Bernstein.
Although it sounds complicated, it really isn’t. Bernstein explains: “You use a mirror with an articulating hinge that bends into any position. Attach it to the top of the screen over and above the camera with non-marring tape that’s easy to remove. I flip it down toward my keyboard to make my screen reflect what someone sees in Zoom. I built a little shelf that hovers over the keyboard so I don’t accidentally press the keys while sketching. I don’t have to use the Zoom drawing controls, which take time to bring up and put away. When I want to draw I just say to a student who is using the screen to stop sharing their screen so they see my screen, which is my camera’s view looking down at my keyboard in real time with no real tech to maneuver.” George Kodaris, an adjunct associate professor at ArtCenter, reports that his history of furniture design class online is better than in person. “My home is my classroom!” Kodaris says. And his home is filled with classic modern furniture. He sits in a Cini Boeri sofa with a Gae Auelenti table facing a Florence Knoll credenza that he uses as examples of 1950s–1970s modern furniture. He walks around using his iPhone to show students the details that define modernism on pieces of furniture. Through this format he can better explain why the Eames shelving unit has stood the test of time by being able to point to it. Kodaris says he shows stuff that he would never have thought of in a prepared lecture. Unearthing Materials Among the many limitations and challenges design students and educators have tackled in the face of remote learning is how to replicate a material- and tool-filled studio at home. I asked Sinclair Smith, of the School of Visual Art’s Product of Design department, what changes he made in his 3D Product Design 1 class, which moves the students from form to function, from abstract to pragmatic. Very simply, he limited the materials the students could use to 11x17 paper only. By going super minimal, he thinks it levels the playing field for all the students and eliminates the mess of blue foam, wood, clay, etc., which while OK in the studio might be problematic in the students’ homes.
According to Sinclair, his approach to teaching threedimensional design has always been fairly Luddite. He encourages the students to learn to draw and build models by hand and insists they develop skills that allow them to express their ideas clearly and precisely so the curves and forms they present are exactly or as close as possible to what they want the product to be. Now in a virtual studio setting, his students are learning to fold, crease, and generally become expert at building models from common printer paper. Mia Ferrera Wiesenthal, an assistant professor at ArtCenter, was similarly undaunted. “It seems there is enough stuff in most people’s homes to make pretty convincing models,” she says. In her Product Design 1 class this summer, students used chipboard, chopsticks, veneer edging, and squash, yes squash, to make one-fifth scale models of their furniture with a focus on form, material, and style for a specific environment. “One student,” according to Wiesenthal, “used Q-Tips as a brush and nail polish as paint, drying the model in the nail polish dryer.” Another student cut up chino pants to make cushions for his model. Others invented processes using toothpicks, toilet paper, and brown paper bags to simulate the forms they were creating. “One of the most unexpected ideas that works amazingly well is using a bathtub as a seamless backdrop for photography,” says Wiesenthal. Ricardo Gomes, a profession at San Francisco State University and one of the 2020 recipients of the IDSA Education Award, took a similar approach to the materials problem. In the spring 2020 semester, he had his Design Process class create a light from three existing materials they found, discovered, or unearthed in their homes. The resulting solutions were unique to the students’ environments, reflecting their homes. It is clear from talking to the teachers that there is value to be mined in students’ homes. The Pros and Cons of Technology No discussion of teaching during a pandemic would be complete without mentioning technology. Reflecting on this year’s virtual experiment, Celentano says, “It’s almost
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easier than being in a real class. Learning the technology and getting up to speed with these virtual processes takes time, but it’s all so visual, and it all supports the teaching.” She says she loves “the technology that allows her to draw on their photos, sketches, and even 3D models as we are talking.” A number of teachers found aspects of technology to be challenging. Reflecting on how tiring it can be to connect over Zoom, Wiesenthal wonders, “Is it the forced concentration? The unrelenting talking? … But the students’ remarkably creative ways of creating models may make it worth it.” Kodaris says the one drawback, at least for his class, is the need for a teaching assistant to help line up the students’ presentations and questions. “I couldn’t do it alone if I didn’t have a teaching assistant,” he said. “It would slow the class to a crawl.” This year has shown us that technology needs to catch up to the speed at which most classes operate. Eliminating Borders, Walls, and Barriers With students scattered to the wind no longer united by shared spaces, new questions and opportunities arise for design education. Karen Stone teaches two threedimensional design courses to sophomores and juniors at Pratt. During one of her first classes this semester she realized she “was speaking to students in six time zones, and it was either 6 a.m. or 9 p.m. That’s a 15-hour spread.” She wondered, “How do I address the class? ‘Good morning’? ‘Good Evening’?” She settled for “Good Day.” There were no borders, walls, or barriers to cross as the students are in Beijing and Shanghai, China; Ulan Bator, Mongolia; Seoul, South Korea; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Istanbul, Turkey; and Portland, OR, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Brooklyn in the United States. Students began the class ready with Roma Plasticina clay and a knife. Stone had sent the students a list of materials and, by some miracle, they all figured out how to buy what they needed. She had doubts about being able to teach them the elements of design remotely. Despite her doubts, she said, “I like to be very positive on the screen
because it’s like putting on a show. It’s a performance in the way I engage the students. I have found this is especially important when teaching virtually.” As Stone says, we are all in showbiz now because we are communicating through a medium we all grew up with, TV, which for better or worse makes us all critics of each other. Stone also encourages her students to not be discouraged by this time. She tells them, “This is your opportunity to take advantage of today’s challenges, practice your talent and your ideas, and discipline yourselves to be responsible citizens of the world, crossing borders of all kinds!” Problem-Solving through Current Conditions Designers love challenges, and the COVID-19 quarantine is throwing problems at us left and right, especially in design education as classes have become a hybrid of in person and online. Teaching problem-solving is the design professor’s job, so it’s no surprise that they are more optimistic than most about responding to our present condition. I’m sure we are learning more than we realize, testing the limits of communications, and creating classes that span the globe. There are no borders, boundaries, or walls preventing design education from reaching students anywhere and everywhere, an amazing accomplishment that is exceeded only by the enthusiasm of the students. During the pandemic, the teaching environment and tools seem to be expanding rather than contracting as teachers and students learn to communicate beyond the classroom and studio. We can only hope design education continues in this direction. —Bruce Hannah, IDSA email@example.com Bruce Hannah is a professor emeritus at Pratt Institute and designer of the Knoll Hannah Desk System, chosen as an IDSA Design of the Decade by IDSA in 1990. Left: Harry Bernstein invented a way to demonstrate how to draw over Zoom that allows students to actually watch his hand as he draws.
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HOW DESIGNERS CAN IMPACT DIVERSITY IN DESIGN
was recently asked if I felt professional design associations were responsible for the lack of diversity in design. The reality is that the lack of diversity in design is a complex matter and can be attributed to numerous systemic factors. Therefore, it is unfair to single out any one particular design association, community organization, or employer for this wicked problem within the profession. Yet, I do feel that designers who are currently involved in a design career, along with those who have successfully navigated their career journey, possess the greatest potential to impact the lack of diversity in design. Some would assume that the underrepresentation in design is a pipeline problem, a scarcity of BIPoC designers. The pipeline is often blamed when societal problems intersect with people and education. But it is a myth. A significant number of individuals from diverse backgrounds do express interest in entering the design field and seek a degree in order to do so. By condensing this complex issue down to a lack of minorities graduating with degrees in the design profession, we fail to shine a light on the systemic barriers that prevent marginalized youth from succeeding in the design profession. Perhaps a better approach to addressing the poor representation in the design profession is to look at individuals who have successfully navigated their design journey and those who have the greatest potential to influence the pipeline. In my thesis Design Journeys: Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Design Disciplines (2016) (designexplorr.com/ research), I uncover the various possible root causes for this complex problem. These include: • Limited access to art and design classes. • Lack of exposure to design. • Less focus given to careers in creativity. • Inequities within design education. • Scarcity of opportunities along designers’ career journeys. • Attempts to dismantle the Civil Rights Act. • Socio-cultural and socio-economic issues. • Mass incarceration. • Institutionalized racism.
While each of the aforementioned problems do contribute to the lack of diversity in design, they are difficult to undo. Many of them are deeply ingrained in our society and will take immense effort from social movements to remedy. If we wish to see the change that’s so desperately needed in the profession, designers who have successfully navigated their design journey need to be encouraged to share their love of design in places where they can create impactful connections with the next generation of young designers. The Limited Role of Professional Associations and Organizations After reading the aforementioned points, you may be tempted to ask why this change can’t be brought about by professional organizations. After all, organizations are generally a collection of individuals, each of whom possesses the potential to bring about change. However, the differentiating factor here is the fact that individuals within an organization are required to operate within certain boundaries. Convincing an entire organization to redirect their thinking is a challenging task requiring effort from numerous individuals within the organization itself. Should that organization not easily step outside of its circle of comfort, or culture, the necessity to bring change rests solely on the volunteers. Many associations heavily rely on a revolving pool of drained volunteers to lead initiatives and perform activities, which can also limit their effectiveness at bringing about change for the profession. In addition, there is a distinct lack of cross-disciplinary initiatives that occur among design organizations. Diversity initiatives undertaken jointly between different associations and disciplines are incredibly important when addressing complex problems, because combined such efforts will create the greatest opportunity to bridge the gaps for underrepresented youth. Their collaborative nature is exactly what’s needed to address wicked problems. Underrepresented youth face hurdles in numerous types of design organizations, whether it is schools, employers,
or independent groups, due to a lack of experience with navigating them. Joint initiatives that combine diverse thinking and collaboration to reach a greater number of marginalized youth are most effective at helping aspiring designers be prepared to maneuver future institutional roadblocks. I believe that education is one area where professional associations can make sweeping changes. Many associations also agree. However, educational organizations have pertinent priorities, like studentsâ€™ academic attainment and well-being, that require their immediate focus. Although they may view the lack of diversity in design as an important problem that should be remedied, due to educating students and managing daily operations, they often have to place it on the laundry list of other priorities. Employers stand to lose the most if the lack of diversity is not addressed in organizations, professional associations, and educational institutions. For instance, having a more diverse staff helps organizations to design solutions that serve a more diverse set of users. Employers also play a key role in deciding which groups are represented in the design profession based on their hiring practices. However, many employers fail to undertake diversity initiatives, like diversifying their school hunt, due to constraints such as size, resources, networks, and the cost associated with developing and maintaining them. In addition to this, their understanding of these diversity initiatives may be limited, which makes them a low priority in many cases. Why This Change Needs to Come from Professionals Professionals within the design industry are best suited for this goal because they do not need to operate within a governed system. They possess the perfect degree of autonomy, which can be put toward remedying the lack of diversity in design. By choosing which systems, organizations, and communities they participate in, design professionals can boost the voices of those who are marginalized and help them obtain opportunities for success within the design field. These professionals can also use the knowledge they have gained from being part of the workforce to empower others. The experience and educational knowledge they possess is
incredibly valuable and can be shared to help close the opportunity gap that is keeping underrepresented individuals out of the design field. This will certainly take effort from multiple individuals, but it can be done by directing their skills and resources in the right places. Design professionals can volunteer for causes that empower the underrepresented youth and help them get acquainted with the different ways they can succeed within the existing system. In addition to this, the role of designers is constantly evolving. This can put designers from marginalized groups at a disadvantage if they donâ€™t have access to the resources needed to say abreast of the changes. This potentially limits the value they can offer employers, making them less likely to be hired for professional design roles. Those who are best able to help design students and professionals stay relevant are design professionals themselves who are active in the field and adapting their career to meet the changing demands. How Professionals Can Get Involved We can design the profession. Our profession will be what we make of it. And you can be a part of its impact. Get involved by volunteering with various organizations, institutions, or youth centers in your area. Or if you are unsure where to start, contact one of the organizations listed on the accompanying map. If you are already part of a group that is actively working to improve the lack of diversity in design, please get in touch so I can add your organization to the map. My hope for sharing these dynamics and the list of schools and community-based organizations is to highlight who has the greatest potential to create change in the profession. Are you with me?
â€”Jacinda Walker firstname.lastname@example.org Jacinda Walker is renowned for her work in design and diversity. She is the founder of designExplorr, an organization whose mission is changing the face of design.
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DESIGNERS HAVE THE GREATEST POTENTIAL TO IMPACT THE LACK OF DIVERSITY WITHIN THE DESIGN PROFESSION This graphic represents the organizations, businesses, schools, and community-based groups that are addressing the lack of diversity i n design by working with underrepresented youth. It spotlights the places where designers—you— can share their love of design w ith youth and help them succeed in the design profession. See something missing? Let me know at email@example.com.
BAY CENTER FOR ARTS & TECHNOLOGY San Francisco, CA
PENSOLE Portland, OR
RUTH ASAWA SCHOOL OF THE ARTS San Francisco, CA
PROJECT OSMOSIS Chicago, IL JUXTAPOSITION ARTS Minneapolis, MN THE BRANDLAB Minneapolis, MN
INNERACT PROJECT Oakland, CA GIRLS GARAGE Berkeley, CA
THE BRANDLAB Kansas City, MO
DA VINCI DESIGN Hawthorne, CA
PATHWAYS TO DESIGN Kansas City, MO
INNER CITY ARTS Los Angeles, CA
NEW ORLEANS CENTER FOR CREATIVE ARTS New Orleans, LA
Educational Resource Types: Design-Centered High Schools Non-profit/Community Design Education Affiliated Arts & Technology Centers Organizations, Non-profits, Companies
Design Discipline Types: Graphics
Architecture © Map illustration by Keirtography for designExplorr.
E4 YOUTH Austin, TX HENRY FORD ACADEMY: ALAMEDA SCHOOL FOR ART & DESIGN San Antonio, TX DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE SENIOR HIGH Miami, FL NEW WORLD SCHOOL OF ARTS Miami, FL
CINCINNATI ARTS & TECHNOLOGY CENTER Cincinnati, OH
WEST MICHIGAN CENTER FOR ARTS & TECHNOLOGY Grand Rapids, MI
HENRY FORD ACADEMY: SCHOOL FOR CREATIVE STUDIES Detroit, MI COLLEGE FOR CREATIVE STUDIES Detroit, MI HENRY FORD LEARNING INSTITUTE Dearborn, MI
LUMA INSTITUTE Pittsburgh, PA NATIONAL CENTER FOR ARTS & TECHNOLOGY Pittsburgh, PA
BROCKWAY CENTER FOR ARTS & TECHNOLOGY Brockway, PA
BUFFALO CENTER FOR ARTS & TECHNOLOGY Buffalo, NY
DESIGNEXPLORR Cleveland, OH NEWBRIDGE CLEVELAND CENTER FOR ARTS & TECHNOLOGY Cleveland, OH
NEW DESIGN HIGH SCHOOL New York, NY MANHATTAN EARLY COLLEGE SCHOOL OF ADVERTISING (MECA) New York, NY THE HIGH SCHOOL FOR INNOVATION IN ADVERTISING AND MEDIA (IAM) Brooklyn, NY ONE CLUB FOR CREATIVITY New York, NY FLATIRON SCHOOL New York, NY
NEW ENGLAND CENTER FOR ARTS & TECHNOLOGY Boston, MA FUTURE PREP 101 Boston, MA INCLUDE INNOVATION Boston, MA
NORTHLAND HILLS HIGH SCHOOL Columbus, OH METRO STEM HIGH SCHOOL Columbus, OH FT. HAYES METROPOLITAN EDUCATION CENTER Columbus, OH DOWNTOWN HIGH SCHOOL & VOCATIONAL SCHOOL Columbus, OH CAMP ARCHITECTURE Columbus, OH STIVERS SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS Dayton, OH
CONNECTICUT CENTER FOR ARTS & TECHNOLOGY New Haven, CT DESIGN-ED Spotswood, NJ BALTIMORE DESIGN SCHOOL Baltimore, MD
NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF MINORITY ARCHITECTS Washington, DC
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E D U C A TI O N I NT E R R UPT E D
STUDIO CULTURE IN A VIRTUAL WORLD
’ve always loved the environment of the studio: sketches on the walls, the 3D printer whirring in the background, foam core shreds littering the floor. I can’t quite put my finger on why this place means so much to me, but I’m certain a good bit of it involves the teamwork that lives in the studio. There is magic in the side conversations, the tension of critiques, and the unifying truth that a team can accomplish much more together than anyone can achieve on their own. For that and a host of other reasons, when our university transitioned to remote learning in March, I didn’t believe that my ID studio would successfully make the jump to a virtual world … until it did. Building Culture Emphasizing the power of studio culture has always been a part of my practice as an educator. Auburn ID’s cohorts are rather small: 45 students divided among three professors. Even with that intimacy, there is still a chance that students don’t come to really know each other. Yet it is integral to their development to practice working with different personalities so that they are experienced and prepared to do so professionally. Part of my methodology for developing a culture of teamwork and respect are the three rhythms of my studios: Monologue Mondays, What’s New Wednesdays, and Funday Friday. Monologue Monday is an invitation for students to reflect on their journeys. Each Monday one student is selected to answer eight questions. Some questions I ask are: What is your family like? What in your childhood inspired you to become a designer? How do you recharge? What are your two biggest values? If I gave you $500,000
and promised that you would not fail on the design project of your dreams, what would you do? While it’s true that design brings all of the students to the classroom, I want them to notice that despite age, gender, race, or country of origin, or any other perceived difference, they have more in common with one another than what they first realize. These questions help bridge a gap in awareness that would seldom come about in the course of daily conversations. What’s New Wednesday is an opportunity for students to bring their whole selves to our class. Each has roughly 90 seconds to talk about what is going on in their lives outside of the studio. They get to know each other beyond the walls of our building, bringing fresh, interesting, and sometimes hilarious tidbits to share. They can seek camaraderie, inspiration, and even support, though students always have the autonomy to pass. Funday Friday is all about harnessing the power of play. Students are placed in teams of two or three to compete with and against one another. We spend the first 30 minutes of studio playing card or board games, mostly design related, to energize us, get us thinking outside the box, and create a space for us to both rely on and challenge each other. Virtual Rhythms In the transition to a virtual studio, Monologue Monday was largely unchanged, and sometimes even enhanced! A student talking about their family transformed into “Wait, let me take you to meet them!” Many questions felt the same in both contexts, but one began to carry a different weight: If I gave you $500,000 and promised that you would not fail
on the design project of your dreams, what would you do? As we watched the world around us shift and change while systems we trusted unraveled, a guarantee that you would not fail felt freeing. In the midst of anxiety about an uncertain future, especially for my seniors, it was powerful for students to have the chance to dream out loud. Zoom offered us a portal into each other’s spaces. What’s New Wednesday led to a deeper discovery of each person through the objects and environments around them. If a student traveled to their parents’ house, we were curious about every detail from the cooking to the conversations. We had many narrated tours and virtual art galleries as we explored each other’s homes. Not only did the virtual classroom allow us to learn about one another deeply, it also acted as a support for us all. Having the space to voice what was going on was therapeutic. We were all struggling with similar challenges, and we knew that we weren’t struggling alone. We shared podcasts and Ted Talks that we found interesting, small adventures that we went on in our own neighborhoods, and tips on growing our very own sourdough starter. We struck a delicate balance between encouraging productivity and allowing for humanity; our studio became a moment of connectedness in a time of isolation. Of the transitions, shifting our studio rhythm of Funday Friday proved to be the most challenging. Prior to virtual learning, this moment of inspiration through play depended on our proximity to one another: shared spaces, lively conversations, and unruly bursts of laughter. In place of the card games and physical challenges, I dove into the world of multiplayer online games. There were some missteps, namely a version of hangman that wasn’t accessible to all of my students, but after a few rounds of trial and error, we better defined an experience that would work for everyone. We played games similar to Fortnite where we would team up and pounce up on unsuspecting players—none of us would last longer than four minutes, but we shared lots of laughs. We tried an imitation Mario Kart Battle where we fired rockets at one another. We even tried a game where I drove a ship and my students, who played as cannons, tried to sink ships around us. The most delightful of the games we tried was bonk2.io. In this game everyone has the ability to jump and nudge one another off a cliff—super simple and wildly entertaining, yielding total team buy in! Within five minutes things would get out of hand in the best way possible, and every Friday we would rekindle our rivalries once more. Was I able to build community in a virtual studio? Well, one Friday I was working remotely with a poor internet connection. My mobile data was running low and I checked out of the studio an hour early. Rare is the day that a student doesn’t want to begin a weekend early. Monday, I found out that they did not start the weekend early. In fact, they all
stuck around to square off in their favorite online game; they carried on as a community all on their own. Ripe for Evolution The semester was a blend of weird and wonderful. Maintaining the kind of culture that makes design studios magical was difficult, but the circumstances pushed us all to grow exponentially. I had to reevaluate my expectations of deliverables and become more accommodating to students’ unique situations. I became more encouraging, reminding them that I appreciated their determination. Reflecting on our semester together, I am so impressed by the flexibility and perseverance that my students exhibited, as well as the quality of their projects. They thrived in the midst of chaos, adapted to new software packages, and relied on and supported one another. There was definitely something special about those students and that semester, but good teamwork doesn’t happen by accident. Being intentional about building camaraderie in the design studio is a cause that pays dividends. Yet, the state of design culture within the studio setting has taken a severe hit. Recently, I’ve noticed that lots of my students are lacking one of the most basic pillars of education. It’s not finding new ways to view design or creating games that open their minds; it’s just plain and simple accountability. Some students can thrive with the added flexibility of online or blended classes, while others need the rhythm of coming to a dedicated space to focus and do work. Never in recorded history have we had so many ways to connect. Equally, it’s never been easier to disconnect, and that’s what I am fighting against in the last few weeks of the fall semester. At the moment it appears that the spring semester will be strikingly similar to this fall: 50% occupancy in the studio, limited building hours, reservations required for using fabrication or shop spaces. An entire cohort will not know how good studio can be. But the greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity for growth. Restoring and developing a new sense of design culture will take time. Our institutions will need driven and engaged professors who have a fierce dedication to their students. If there ever has been a time to share best practices with your peers—the time is now! Pick up a phone and make an old-school phone call, grab a cup of coffee if you can. There is work to be done, together! And if we do this right, we might just enjoy ourselves along the way. —Benjamin Bush, IDSA firstname.lastname@example.org Benjamin Bush is a designer, mentor, and educator originally from the woods of Alabama. He believes in hard work, nontraditional leaning environments, and instilling fun into all walks of life.
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E D U C A TI O N PAPE R
USING DESIGN FICTION TO TEACH ETHICS IN DESIGN
Preparing Design Students to Be Ethical Entrepreneurs by Studying the Implications of Speculative Futures
1. Introduction As design practices shift, awareness of the ethical implications has become a necessity and responsibility, not only for design professionals but also for design educators who are teaching the next generation. Design curricula may skim the surface of ethical design, but they often fall short on integrating ethical decision-making into design education. Based on individual research, literature reviews, and various adjustments to course design, this paper explores the exchange of ideas and the intersection of the fields of design fiction, ethics, and entrepreneurship in design education and asserts the importance of this exchange regarding how design problems are understood, how solutions will be executed, and how design education develops the next generation of design professionals, regardless of discipline. The main objective is to model a way to use science fiction as case studies to study the ethical implications of design in a course or courses within curricula. The motivation for this was an acknowledgment that the students during their undergraduate studies mature as humans and consumers and develop as designers who grow up with the knowledge that the world today faces unprecedented social and environmental challenges. According to EU research, over 80% of all product-related environmental impacts can be influenced during the design phase. Are design programs preparing students to be responsible designers?
Designers are trained to solve problems and make people’s lives better. Does design education adequately explore the range of problems people face and allow students to consider what “better” actually is? Matthew Manos, the founder of verynice, explains, “A social entrepreneur is a designer of business whose intentions are not in capital gain, but instead in the advancement of the greater good of society.” Recognized as one of the 100 most influential creatives working today by HOW magazine, Manos is also a professor who focuses on social impact. The formula is: business + design + ethics (greater good) = social enterprise. Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist, microfinancing pioneer, and founder of the grassroots Grameen Bank, was quoted in The Guardian as saying, “We are all entrepreneurs.” He believes in social enterprises that adopt entrepreneurial market-based approaches to create social and environmental impact. Should entrepreneurship be an integral part of design curricula? The authors seek to answer this overarching question: Are designers better prepared after graduation when ethics and entrepreneurship are an integral part of design curricula? How can the context and concepts of design fiction allow students space to conceptualize, explore, and critique design ideas through an ethical lens? 1.1 Rationale for Teaching Ethics and Entrepreneurship Specific to Design Design programs and students are recognized for their creative thinking and skill sets. Universities have come to understand that the teaching of entrepreneurship is critical to giving students the tools needed to take concepts to market and to compete and perform in today’s business environment. However, such courses stand apart from a student’s design degree. While the processes of design and entrepreneurial mindset work hand in hand to create novel solutions to problems, these innovations are often assessed based on their marketable value proposition, rather than the appropriateness of the design from a sustainable and ethical lens. 2. Design Fiction Design fiction as an approach to speculative design affords designers an opportunity to create and solve in an imagined
world separate from the realities of the present day. Design fictions not only allow designers to propose speculative design ideas but also give them license to imagine scenarios in which the design idea exists, will be made, and will be used. These imagined scenarios establish a frame of reference or a set of constraints to test the design concept against. These hypothetical cultures, economic conditions, environmental conditions, power structures, technologies, lived experiences, and values establish the criteria for success. Design fictions also push designers to explore far beyond present-day technological constraints and encourage the question “what if?”—leading to wildly imaginative and novel solutions to both imagined and real problems. 2.1 Speculative Design Project Overview In an interdisciplinary product design course at the authors’ university, a project entitled Designs for Different Futures was introduced to third-year students to provide a sevenweek experience in which they navigated various future frames. Interdisciplinary student teams were to understand speculative design and design fiction, and ultimately develop their own concepts in response to given categories from the exhibition Designs for Different Futures. Their final concept could take the form of an installation, product, service, system, or experience that either provokes, interrogates, explores, or solves a social or environmental issue. The project sequence included a number of research and analysis activities beginning with a tour and an in-depth study of the speculative design works in the exhibition, analysis and research exercises, a concept development cycle, and a final product and video. 2.2 Student Work: Design Fiction Case Studies Students conducted case studies of speculative design concepts and their real-world analogs. The objective of the case study is to understand the context of design and the interpret the design intent of the speculative work while drawing comparisons to design intent and the impact of the real-world products. Students then connect those themes to science fiction worlds depicted through books, stories, movies, or TV shows. The stories and fictitious worlds in which
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Figure 1. The Oracle, a project by Drexel University interdisciplinary product design students from product design, graphic design, and international business.
the concepts reside expose complexities, value systems, histories, causes, and effects that either drive the need for a concept, are based on that concept, and/or illustrate the consequences of that concept. This exercise inspires a format for storytelling that the students may use in designing and situating products their own design fictions. In one of the case studies, students were inspired by the intent of the Raising Robotic Natives work by artist and designer Philip Schmitt. The piece was intended to provoke discourse around the nature of robots, jobs, and caretaking. The team connected this to growing tensions around artificial intelligence’s possible erasure of creative jobs. In looking for real-world examples of automation and creativity, the team found the Short Story Dispenser by Short Edition. This kiosk robot prints stories of desired read lengths at the push of button. The science fiction example referenced in the third case study was the trailer for the AI thriller Morgan. The trailer was created by IBM’s AI tool Watson. These case studies went on to inspire a speculative machine-learning design bot that creates optimized products with a quick retinal scan of the user. In another case study (figure 1), students examined the power structures of video surveillance through Forensic Architecture’s video piece Killing in Umm Al-Hiran, which uses reenactment, 3D modeling, and photogrammetry to re-create an incident between Israeli police and a Palestinian villager. The forensic techniques used to create the video
shed light on the truth of the events. The student team looked at the Chinese Social Credit System, which uses physical and digital surveillance to score citizens and create a culture of compliance and accountability. These case studies became impetus for the creation of a short movie situated in a world that has a global social network called The Oracle powered by artificial intelligence named Delphi, which the user accesses through a smart contact and earpiece. Delphi guides users in everyday tasks and financial matters, as well as major life decisions. 3. Going Beyond Speculation: The Need for Exchange Throughout the speculative design project described above, the students reflected on ways design and technology intersect with issues of surveillance, privacy, autonomy, power, race, and the environment. What role might the intentional study of ethics play in guiding these reflections and discussion? By looking at design fiction and speculative design through an ethical framework, could designers better understand the ways their concepts might have real-world and present-day implications to social, political, and environmental problems? Does situating concepts in fictitious contexts with imposed fictitious dilemmas allow for critique of ideas? Going further, might an ethical analysis and realworld market validation encourage students to ask if their speculative designs, technologies, and systems should
exist at all? If the product should or shouldn’t exist in this imagined world, how might this same critique extend to design implications in the real world? This conversation requires an introduction to an understanding of ethical implications of design, how that intersects with design decision-making, and the economic viability where business is seen as a force for good in the world. 4. Ethics for Designers Ethics provides a set of standards for behavior that help guide decision-making. In a sense, ethics is all about making choices and about providing reasons why these choices were made. Ethics, as a field of study, has a lot of knowledge to offer. However, it can be overwhelming for a design educator. The authors’ aim is to make the integration of ethics into design curricula accessible. The authors’ research led to the Ethics for Designers website (ethicsfordesigners.com) where Jet Gispen developed a template that introduces the most commonly known theories of normative ethics (virtue, duty, and consequentialism): the study of ethical action. Gispen, like the authors, identified an opportunity for design students to incorporate ethics into the design process. According to Keitsch and Ornäs (2016), “There are at least two possibilities of integrating ethics in design curriculum: (1) Recognition of ethical dilemmas
through informed discourse and (2) intuitive understanding of these dilemmas through reflective practice, or according to Aristotle, ‘developing one’s moral and intellectual virtues.’ The former is discussing moral challenges by identifying, analyzing and assessing ethical problems connected with products and services. The latter is applying ethics in design cases and getting an intuitive understanding of right and wrong” (Keitsch & Ornäs, 2016). The Design Ethics Canvas tool (figure 2) will be used in design courses to create moments of reflection in the design process to understand the ethical implication of decisions and speculations. The canvas was adapted from a template developed by Gispen. 5. Entrepreneurship for Designers In contrast to design fiction, the value of entrepreneurship is the emphasis on real-world market validation and the sustainability of ideas as viable business endeavors. Designers and design students are often challenged to create novel human-centered solutions that can be tested and validated by users, experts, and prototypes. While some may argue that there is license to explore beyond realworld constraints in both entrepreneurship and design more broadly, the emphasis on real-world validation and testing pushes students away from speculative and conceptual design ideas, which are often clouded in ambiguity, leaving
DESIGN GOAL I WANT TO…. (THE INTENTION)
BY DOING …. (THE DESIGN)
IN ORDER TO…. (THE EFFECT)
ASSESS YOUR DESIGN GOAL VIRTUE ETHICS
Deals with the rightness or wrongness of individual actions; it provides guidance as to the sort of characteristics and behaviors a good person will seek to achieve.
Is your design morally/ethically right? Why (not)? How could you change that?
Duty-based ethics teaches that some acts are right or wrong because of the sorts of things they are, and people have a duty to act accordingly, regardless of the good or bad consequences that may be produced.
Right or wrong depend on the consequences of an act, and that the more good consequences are produced, the better theact.
Is your design morally/ethically right? Why (not)? How could you change that?
Is your design morally/ethically right? Why (not)? How could you change that?
BRAINSTORM FOR IMPROVEMENT Could your design stimulate virtuous behavior?
What would the world be like if everyone used your design?
How could your design cause the greatest impact for the greatest number?
ADAPTED FROM TOOLS FOR ETHICAL DESIGNERS
Figure 2. Design Ethics Canvas
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students struggling to explain them and educators without a frame of reference for constructive critique. Entrepreneurship is an act of being an entrepreneur, or “the owner or manager of a business enterprise who, by risk and initiative, attempts to make profits” (Dictionary. com). Entrepreneurs act as managers and oversee the launch and growth of an enterprise. In the 1930s, economist Joseph Schumpeter shaped our current understanding of entrepreneurship. According to Schumpeter, an entrepreneur is a person who is willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation. In the 2000s, usage of the term “entrepreneurship” expanded to include how and why some individuals identify opportunities, evaluate them as viable, use these opportunities to develop new products or services, launch new firms or industries, and create wealth. There has been a further extension of entrepreneurship from its origin in for-profit businesses to
include social entrepreneurship, in which business goals are aligned with social and environmental goals. The landscape of American corporations is changing. As the 21st century unfolds, there has been an increased emphasis on other values and measures for a success of a business, particularly social and environmental concerns. The trend for change has led to the explosive growth of B Corporations, which dates back to 2007. As seen on bcorporation. net, “Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” The qualitative evidence by researchers Suntae Kim and Todd Schifeling reveal that Certified B firms believe that “the major crises of our time are a result of the way we conduct business,” and they became a B Corporation to “join the movement of creating a new economy with a
WORKERS GOVERNANCE Will management be evaluated in writing on their performance with regard to corporate social and environmental targets? (What portion?) Will the company have a formal process to
share financial information (except salary info) with its full-time employees?
Will the company work within its industry to develop social and environmental standards for your industry? How will you ensure that the social or environmental mission of your company will be maintained over time, regardless of company ownership?
Based on referenced compensation studies, how will your company's compensation structure (excluding executive management) compare with the market?
When evaluating the social and environmental performance of significant suppliers, which of the following practices apply:
What % of full-time workers were reimbursed for continuing education opportunities in the last fiscal year?
What % of management is from
What % of the company is owned by full-time workers (excluding founders/executives)?
Based on the results of your employee satisfaction assessment (conducted within the past two fiscal years), what percent of your employees are ”satisfied" or ”engaged"? Do you have a worker health and safety
committee that helps monitor and advise on occupational health and safety programs (please choose n/a if the company does not use warehousing or manufacturing facilities)?
underrepresented populations? (This includes women, minority/previously excluded populations, people with disabilities, and/or individuals living in low-income communities.) Are full-time employees explicitly allowed any of the following paid or non-paid time-off hours options for community service? Which of the following underserved populations does your business impact or
target? If you are a business-to-business focused company, think of who the ultimate user of your product or service is.
ADAPTED FROM THE BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS, SOCIAL BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS AND B CORP ASSESSMENT
Figure 3. Ethical Entrepreneurship Canvas
Which is the broadest community with whom your environmental reviews/audits are formally shared?
If you lease your facilities, have you worked with your landlord to implement any of the following in the past two fiscal years? (Choose n/a if you do not lease your building) What % of energy (relative to company revenues) was saved in the last year for your corporate facilities? What % of energy used is from renewable on-site energy production for corporate facilities? Does your company monitor and record its universal waste production?
new set of rules” and “redefine the way people perceive success in the business world” (hbr.com). The Ethical Entrepreneurship Canvas tool (Fig. 3) will be used in design courses in conjunction with the Design Ethics Canvas, allowing students to develop a market-based solution aligned with ethical decision-making. The canvas was adapted from the business model canvas, the social business model canvas, and the B-Corp Assessment Pillars. 6. Conclusion and Outlook In the field of design education, we have a limited amount of class time to pack in lessons and concepts that challenge world views while also teaching skill development. By creating projects grounded in the exchange ideas, methods, and best practices stemming from design fiction, ethics, and social entrepreneurship, might we be able to instill in design students that success is incumbent upon the understanding of the immediate and longstanding consequences of design decisions? Entrepreneurial-focused designers trained in ethical decision-making as part of their design process may hold the key to solving the world’s most pressing issues, from climate change and health disparities to social injustices. Moving forward, the authors seek to evolve the Designs for Different Futures project to include ethics and entrepreneurship using the analysis tools above and will conduct qualitative studies to be able to understand the design students’ perspectives on ethics prior to and after the course and into their early careers. The goal is to evaluate how this approach might help to prepare a new generation of transformative designers.
7. References BBC. (n.d.). Consequentialism. (n.d.). http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction/ consequentialism_1.shtml BBC. (n.d.). Duty-based ethics. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction /duty_1.shtml BBC. (n.d.). Virtue. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction/virtue.shtml B Lab. (n.d.). About B corps. Certified B Corporation. https://bcorporation.net/ about-b-corps 10.1080/14606925.2017.1352867 Design fiction. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki /Design_fiction#cite_note- :10-31 Dictionary.com. (n.d.) Entrepreneur. In Dictionary.com. https://www.dictionary. com/browse/entrepreneur Dunne, A. & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything: Design, fiction, and social dreaming. The MIT Press. Forlano, L & Mathew, A. (2014). From design fiction to design friction: speculative and participatory design of values- embedded urban technology. Journal of Urban Technology, 21:4, 7-24. Gottlieb, P. (2016, March 6). Aristotle Book II, Nicomachean Ethics. Archelogos. www.archelogos.com/xml/toc/toceni.htm Hales, D. (2013). Design fictions an introduction and provisional taxonomy. Digital Creativity, 24:1, 1-10. Keitsch, M. & Ornäs, V. H. (2016). Ethics in design curricula - teaching approaches. (p. 6). International conference on engineering and product design education 8 & 9 September 2016, Aalborg University, Denmark. Morrison, A. & Chisin, A. (2017). Design fiction, culture and climate change. Weaving together personas, collaboration and fabulous futures. The Design Journal, 20:sup1, S146-S159. Suntae Kim, M. J. (20016, June 17). Why companies are becoming B corporations. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2016/06/whycompanies-are-becoming-b-corporations
—Raja Schaar, IDSA and Chris Baeza Raja Schaar, IDSA is program director and assistawnt professor of product design at Drexel University. She also co-chairs IDSA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. Chris Baeza is program director and assistant teaching professor of design and merchandising at Drexel University. This paper was presented at the 2020 IDSA Education Symposium and selected through peer review for inclusion in this issue. It is presented here in a slightly edited form. For the complete paper, and other 2020 education paper submissions, visit idsa.org/education/education-papers.
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EXPERIMENTING WITH DESIGN THINKING AND SYSTEM ENGINEERING METHODOLOGIES USING A COMMERCIAL CISLUNAR SPACE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT AS AN EXAMPLE
1. Introduction In today’s world, many human-made systems have failed to meet the needs of the broader population as macro trends such as climate change, inequality, and the proliferation of new technologies continue to change how we live, work, and play. Without having to look far, individuals can easily notice the shortcomings of transportation, healthcare, education, government, and many more human-made systems that are designed to serve the public. As in the past, designers and engineers are uniquely positioned to address these complex issues by inventing new problem-solving methodologies in times of need. Based on Charles Owen’s framework in his 1998 paper “Design, Advanced Planning and Product Development” and Thomas Both’s article “Human-Centered, SystemsMinded Design” from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, an opportunity exists to combine human-centered design approaches with System Engineering methodologies in order to solve system design challenges in a humancentered way. Owen and Both’s research have inspired questions: How might we embed a layer of human touch into the System Engineering method? How might we create a human-centered system design methodology incorporating quantitative and qualitative techniques? This study will demonstrate the similarities and differences of both methodologies on a principle level by applying their processes and tools to a commercial cislunar space development project.
2. Literature and Methodology Review 2.1 Design Thinking The commonly accepted industry term for human-centered design methods is “Design Thinking,” which was coined by John E. Arnold in his book Creative Engineering in 1959. L. Bruce Archer also mentioned the term in his book Systematic Method for Designers in 1965. At the time, research on developing creativity techniques was rapidly growing and the core concepts of Design Thinking were adopted by design and innovation consultancies such as IDEO, Continuum, frog design, and others to assist corporate clients in discovering new market opportunities. At a high-level, Design Thinking involves four problemsolving steps: inspiration, ideation, implementation, and iteration. The first step of inspiration involves in-depth research through techniques such as interviews and ethnography, followed by data synthesis to uncover latent needs. Once problems are clearly defined, a diverse team of experts is assembled to generate ideas that will be down-selected for implementation. Lastly, a prototype for these ideas will be created and tested with users to obtain feedback, which will inform the next iteration of the prototype. The hallmark of Design Thinking is this continuous cycle of convergence and divergence around the exploration, synthesis, and actualization of ideas. Design Thinking is now widely applied to many industries to solve design challenges that range from new product development,
Diverge & Converge
Decomposition & Integration
Primarily small-scale projects
Primarily large-scale projects
Inspiration (e.g., research, interview), ideation (e.g., brainstorm, design) and implementation (e.g., prototype, test, refinement, manufacturing) Note: This was adapted from IDEO Method Cards (2003).
Input and output; requirements analysis and loop; functional analysis/allocation; synthesis; design loop; verification and balance (System Engineering Fundamentals, 2001)
Table 1. Summary of Design Thinking and Systems Engineering
brand design, interaction, service experience, and socially impactful projects. 2.2 System Engineering System Engineering is a language and method that enables communication among engineering disciplines on largescale complex projects. If we use a simple metaphor, in various engineering disciplines, engineers solve the problem for either 0 or 1, whereas in Systems Engineering engineers tackle the problem area between 0 and 1. The term “Systems Engineering” can be traced back to Bell Labs in the 1940s, but the discipline was formalized after World War II when it was applied to national science projects such as the Apollo space program under President John F. Kennedy. “System engineering is a robust approach to the design, creation, and operation of systems. In simple terms, the approach consists of identification and quantification of system goals, creation of alternative system design concepts, performance of design trades, selection and implementation of the best design, verification that the design is properly built and integrated, and postimplementation assessment of how well the system meets (or met) the goals” (NASA, 2017). Most complex systems and engineering management issues will utilize system thinking principles to organize and solve challenges. In contrast to Design Thinking, System Engineering is geared toward projects that require significant consideration for systems architecture and the
integration of subsystems. “System architecture is the embodiment of concept, and the allocation of physical & informational function to elements of form, and the definition of relationships among the elements and with the surround context” (Crawley et al., 2016). 2.3 Comparing Two Methodologies Design Thinking and System Engineering each have their advantages and disadvantages. Instead of ranking the two methodologies, it is more important to understand the context for which the methods should be suitably and accurately applied. Table 1 summarizes the key characteristics of both methodologies. 3. Design Process 3.1 Project Context and Brief Cislunar space represents a prime environment for future business opportunities that improve life on Earth through the use of space. In the project, an interdisciplinary team identified opportunities to expand the economic sphere beyond the Earth’s surface and developed a novel concept for a commercial cislunar business. The study applied the aforementioned Design Thinking approach and System Engineering methodologies to generate the preliminary design architecture of a lunar energy grid that would provide power to NASA’s future space missions based on a call for proposals from the 2020 RASC-AL competition. The project team consisted of four experts with
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Day 4 Scenario
Overall ConOps 5
Phase - III: Land on the Mood
Transport Equipment to site (Type 1 - Transport Rover) (Day 10)
Launch the Rocket from the Earth to the Moon. (2030 - Day 0) 7
Expand Solar Panel Grid (Dependent on customer)
Type 3 - Robotic Rover
Type 2 - 3D Print Rover
Land on the Moon & Assembly (Day 4)
Type 1 - Transport Rover
Prepare the Materials to the Moon (2020-2030) 8
Solar Panel + Battery Bank Setup (Type 3 - Robotic Rover) (Day 10)
Build Solar Power Energy Transmission System (Dependent on customer) Plan 1. Release the shipment 2. Deploy Rovers 3. Set-up Base Station
3D Printing Material, Mining & Extraction (Type 2 - Mining & 3D Print Rover) (Day 5)
Key Considerations How do you select the best site landing on the moon? How do you set up the communication system with the site and other devices e.g. rovers?
Figure 1. The overall ConOp of a commercial cislunar space development project (left) and a detailed scenario view of Phase III by adding key considerations and an analogous example (right).
experiences across industrial design, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, business, and finance. The project accomplished the allocation and derivation of a lunar energy grid and its subsystems by combining Design Thinking tools with two important frameworks from System Engineering: concept of operation (ConOp) and ObjectProcess Methodology (OPM). 3.2 ConOp for Systems Design & Scenario Exploration A concept of operation (ConOp) is a verbal statement or graphic to describe a complex system. The ConOp includes a sequence of phases, an estimated timeline for deployment, and an overview of important system characteristics shown in a quantitative and qualitative way. According to Edward Crawley (2019), professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at MIT, â€œThe ConOp is an important component in capturing expectations, forming requirements and developing the architecture of a project or systemâ€? (slide 61). ConOp is a tool commonly used in stakeholder meetings and
discussions during the early concept development stage for the military, aerospace industry, and government services. In short, ConOp can be viewed as a system blueprint that guides the implementation of a complex project. The project team followed a step-by-step process to create a ConOp for a lunar energy grid (Figure 1, left). First, the team generated the key technical requirements for the system and its subsystems to deliver value for all stakeholders involved. When developing the ConOp, the team considered critical questions that inform the system architecture: How can the lunar grid capture, store, and transmit energy? What technologies are necessary for the energy system to work? Next, the team entered a radical ideation stage where each member had an important role: the designer rapidly visualized concepts that emerged, the engineers stress tested concepts for technical feasibility, and the business expert evaluated the viability of the system for the burgeoning space industry. During this stage of brainstorming, the sequence of phases and timeline for deployment began
to serve as valuable constraints that brought more fidelity to the ConOp. The team began to consider more detailed questions for the subsystems of the energy grid: Who should operate the lunar rovers for solar panel deployment? Where will the rovers transport the solar panels on the moonâ€™s surface? What is the transportation capacity and energy needs for each rover? The final stage of ConOp development was to identify analogous examples that could inspire the design of subsystems (Figure 1, right). Both detailed scenarios and examples brought higher fidelity for the whole system map. Typically, a ConOp is a single diagram that communicates an abstracted view of a system, but it does not immerse stakeholders in the detailed design. In contrast, the experimental ConOp that was developed consisted of valuable information to convey a more nuanced picture of how a system functions for its stakeholders. Through this process of rapid concept generation and inquiry, the project team was able to envision a lunar energy grid that was radically different from existing archetypes in the space industry. The ConOp was a blank canvas, and the project team became the paintbrush. 3.3 Integrating User Journey within OPM System Modeling Object-Process Methodology (OPM) is a modeling tool to represent a complex system in a graphical and textual way by showing the structural relationships between two fundamental elements: object and process. An object is a
physical or informatical element that exists, while processes are elements that transform (create, destroy, or change the state of) the objects. OPM was initially developed for Systems Engineering and can be used to model a wide range of topics ranging from complex systems, information, social issues, and natural disasters to product design challenges. OPM is a valuable tool to communicate the structure and behavior of a system to stakeholders on a large-scale project. It was recently adopted in 2014 as ISO 19450, a global standard language for system modeling. The project team used OPM to create a representation of the energy system depicted by their experimental ConOp, which displayed critical components such as the lunar rovers, lasers, laser transmission energy, and others. Within each component, there are multiple subsystems, elements, and processes. The team also made an important modification to the standard OPM diagram of the lunar energy grid by adding a layer to depict a user journey within the system. Figure 2 illustrates how OPM and user journeys can be combined to empower a system designer in balancing the user journey against a system architecture and vice versa. Many iterations of a system design can be created to achieve a future state that would meet key stakeholder needs and system requirements. Furthermore, the tool can assist system planners and designers in capturing a comprehensive user journey from both an emotional and functional perspective.
Figure 2. Combining the Object-Process Methodology (OPM) and user journey map.
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2021 DESIGN FOUNDATION ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIPS The Design Foundation offers one undergraduate and one graduate scholarship each year through funds generously donated by our community to help industrial design students at the earliest stages of their career and provide much needed financial support for their education. Applications accepted April 19 - May 19, 2021 idsa.org/scholarships
4. Extending System Engineering to Human-Centered Design For designers, cislunar space is not a typical environment for a human-centered design challenge. Space systems are unique because they may not have precedents and safety trumps nearly all other requirements. NASA does not design a space system by first asking what an astronaut desires for the experience. Instead, NASA will ask systems engineers to coordinate engineering teams to deliver on functional system requirements set against constraints. This approach is not immediately compatible with Design Thinking, where designers often begin a project by building empathy with end users to create solutions that address both functional and emotional needs. As projects grow in complexity, designers will need tools to diagnose problems from a systems perspective and to design for systems that positively influence human behavior. The experimental ConOp helps designers to illustrate both an abstract and a deconstructed view of a system. By following the same brainstorm process as the project team and stepping away from norms, designers have the freedom to conceive radically new systems that may transform companies and industries. The OPM system modeling tool allows a designer to make tradeoffs between the user journey and a system’s structure and functionality. OPM also empowers a designer to better facilitate the creative output of engineering and design teams on system-related projects. Bringing together two methodologies is a challenging task due to the radically different contexts in which they were born, but one characteristic that bridges the current direction of Design Thinking and the discipline of Systems Engineering is the need for better designed human systems. The methods proposed in this paper aim to support the design community in expanding its impact in the field of systems innovation. As stated by Olivier de Weck, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering eystems at MIT in his book, “Designing the design process becomes a significant concern for large-scale projects” (De Weck et al., 2016, p.127). 5. Conclusion The project has led to critical questions to take this study further: What should be the criteria for determining whether a project or opportunity space is suitable for application of these two methodologies? What are the conditions necessary for a new methodology to emerge? The answers to these questions will enable designers and engineers to better solve the world’s system-related issues in the decades to come.
Systems Engineering emerged from NASA’s lunar missions as a discipline to address engineering design challenges in the most extreme conditions. In these missions, the requirements for space engineering systems to guarantee safety and success for all key stakeholders involved meant that the functional attributes of a space system took precedent over the human experience. Design Thinking has emerged from the field of industrial and product design, where designers focus on creating products that address emotional needs in conjunction with the functional needs of users. Therefore, the goal is to develop and curate a new methodology that enables designers and engineers to create human-centered systems where the needs of the user and the system can be simultaneously met. 6. References Both, T. (2018. March 9). Human-centered, systems-minded design. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/ human_centered_systems_minded_design Crawley, E. (2019). Fundamentals of Systems Engineering. [PowerPoint presentation]. Cambridge. Crawley, E., Cameron, B., & Selva, D. (2016). System architecture: Strategy and Product Development for complex systems. United Kingdom: Pearson. Crawley, E., de Weck, O., Eppinger, S., Magee, C., Moses, J., Seering, W., Schindall, J., Wallace, D., & Whitney, D. (2004). The influence of architecture in engineering systems. Engineering Systems Monograph. MIT Engineering Systems Division. De Weck, O. L., Roos, D., & Magee, C. L. (2016). Engineering Systems: Meeting Human Needs in a Complex Technological World. United Kingdom: MIT Press. Dori, D. (2002). Object-Process Methodology: A Holistic Systems Paradigm. Berlin: Springer. IDEO Product Development (Ed.). (2003). IDEO Method Cards: 51 ways to inspire design; learn, look, ask, try. IDEO. NASA (2017). NASA Systems Engineering Handbook. United States: 12th Media Services. Owen, C. L. (1998). Design, advanced planning and product development. In 3o Congresso Brasileiro de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento em Design, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (October 26, 1998) and International Symposium: Nuevos Metodos y Tecnologias para el Diseño de Productos, Santiago, Chile (November 12, 1998).
—Sheng-Hung Lee, IDSA and John Liu email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org Sheng-Hung Lee is a research assistant at the MIT AgeLab. John Liu is a master’s candidate at MIT Integrated Design & Management. This paper was presented at the 2020 IDSA Education Symposium and selected through peer review for inclusion in this issue. It is presented here in a slightly edited form. For the complete paper, and other 2020 education paper submissions, visit idsa.org/education/education-papers.
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Ellen Posch, S/IDSA | University of Cincinnati
FINDING BALANCE IN LIFE AND DESIGN
llen Posch, S/IDSA, is a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), where she was first in her class academically. Her industry experience includes six design internships ranging from large corporations to design firms specializing in consumer technology. Currently she is working full time at Level Design in San Francisco. “I am super excited to be part of the team and already feel like I have been given many opportunities to grow,” Posch says. Unlike many other designers, Posch has known about industrial design as a profession for most of her life. She grew up in the diverse, creative community of Cleveland Heights, OH, and her mother studied urban planning at DAAP. However, when the time came to choose a college, Posch was training to be a Division I diver and picked Georgia Tech based on the quality of both the school’s platform diving opportunities and its engineering program. “While there, I tried an industrial design class and fell in love because of the diverse types of thinking we do as designers,” Posch says. “It was the perfect combination of creativity, technology, and engineering for me. I felt that with design I could make a real impact on the people around me.” To best continue her design education, in combination with diving, Posch moved home to Ohio to study at DAAP. “I was most challenged in my ID studies by learning to balance my life outside design with who I am as a designer,” she says. “Diving as a Division I athlete throughout college made managing time and working at the top of my class difficult. Although difficult, being a diver and a designer has taught me so much, from taking constructive criticism to gaining a
perspective outside of our design world.” Posch’s portfolio encompasses a range of products, from a Bosch drill to a cafe-style desk chair to Cycle, a branded system for producing reusable T-shirts that was recently featured in Images magazine. “My design process is fluid; it is not a rigid set of steps to get to an outcome,” Posch says. “I usually start with a research phase so I can understand the problem I am working on and all the stakeholders involved. I then move on to brainstorming, which often takes shape in sketching out different product architectures. From there, I move into various refinement phases, whether it be sketching, drawing in Illustrator to scale, making mockups, or using rough CAD models. I then test my ideas and make further refinements until they are ready to be built in real life or in CAD.” Posch adds that being involved with this year’s SMA program was both a “huge learning experience” and a unique opportunity to present in front of a large audience during IDSA’s virtual International Design Conference. As for the future, she has some ideas resulting from her experience working in the Bay Area as part of three different co-ops and becoming acclimated to the world of design consulting. “My long-term goal is to own a design consultancy,” Posch says. “My family is made up of entrepreneurs and leaders, so I am inspired by them in this regard. In the near future, I would like to learn about the business side of design, interact with clients, grow my network, and take on leadership roles.” Right: This drill was designed specifically for communal shops and makerspaces and includes RFID technology for keeping track of the device, designed by Ellen Posch, S/IDSA.
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Avery Saylor, S/IDSA | Purdue University
OVERCOMING CHALLENGES TO SUCCEED AS A DESIGNER
very Saylor, S/IDSA, is a maker at heart. “As long as I can remember, I was doing crafts for my mom and creating,” she says. “I’m happiest when I’m working on a project.” However, her road to becoming a designer had plenty of bumps and surprises along the way. “I struggled to know what I was going to do for the longest time in high school, after going to a career counselor and being told that I didn’t make sense because all of my interests were creative, but I had the organized and structured mind of an accountant,” Saylor says. “After a friend suggested industrial design to me, I realized what a perfect fit it was. I was able to be creative, but still have the problem-solving that I so much enjoyed.” Purdue University’s ID program, from which Saylor graduated in 2020 with her bachelor’s degree in industrial and product design, allows only 16 students into the program after sophomore year. Halfway through that year, “I was ranked 18th in my class, which was a huge cause of stress and anxiety for me,” Saylor says. “But I knew that industrial design was what I wanted to do, so I really buckled down, worked to improve my weaknesses and came out to where I am today.” Saylor’s impressive portfolio includes the showerhead Trio, which won first place in a design competition sponsored by Delta Faucet, and Baby-by, a multifunctional co-sleeper that can fold up or transform into a playmat. The latter design received first place at her undergraduate show and was recently featured by the Purdue Research Foundation News and WTHR, a local TV news station. “I tend to be very research heavy in my process,” Saylor says. “I believe that understanding the user and their needs,
wants, and problem areas is paramount in design.” She likes to start her design work by researching the topic, talking with people, analyzing user interviews, and making journey and empathy maps. “From there I am able to ideate based on important problem categories given to me through my research,” she continues. “By returning to my users several times throughout the process, I am able to create a solution that meets their needs fully by the end.” Saylor has fond memories of the IDSA Student Chapter at Purdue, beginning when the chapter matched her with a senior buddy to help her out during that difficult sophomore year. “She was without a doubt one of the reasons I got into the program,” Saylor says. “I was able to bring my portfolio to her multiple times and get great feedback and help.” Later, Saylor served as treasurer. “IDSA created a very close and fun environment … so that I didn’t have to feel intimidated to speak to the upper classmen,” she adds. “I think that it is so important and can be so beneficial to create that closeness early on in college.” Since graduating, Saylor has been working on developing and producing FlipFresh Storage, a dry goods storage product. She has been making workable prototypes, reaching out to manufacturers and getting a Kickstarter ready to launch. “I just want to make people’s lives better,” Saylor says. “If I could design something that I could go into a store and see and think ‘Wow, people bought that today and are using it and it’s helping them,’ that would be so rewarding.” Right: The Freshware food storage system keeps cabinets and countertops organized and food fresh by refilling from the bottom, pushing the oldest contents to the top, designed by Avery Saylor, S/IDSA.
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Jessica Monteleone, S/IDSA | Jefferson University
DESIGNING MEANINGFUL SOLUTIONS FOR EVERYDAY LIFE
essica Monteleone, S/IDSA, graduated from Jefferson University in Philadelphia in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design. She describes herself as having an inherent curiosity about the world that leads her to continually discover and create. “I believe design is most successful when it makes an impact,” she says. “It should always solve a problem or meet a need. I want to design solutions that are accessible for as many people as possible and make daily life easier or more enjoyable in some way.” From the moment Monteleone learned about ID as a profession, she knew this field was where she belonged. “Industrial design seemed like the logical combination of my passions and skills,” she says, “and I was drawn to the idea of using my creativity to solve everyday problems and improve lives with physical products.” Monteleone’s award-winning work includes GaitMate, a wearable device that reduces the frequency and duration of freezing of gait episodes in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Developed in collaboration with Zach Samalonis and Abigail Balster, this design won second place in the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Student Design Competition. “I’m interested in medical device design because I feel like working in this industry gives me the greatest potential to create positive change,” she says. “It’s hard for me to imagine that I’m going to design something that will change the world, but I know that I can design products that will make a world of difference for people with medical conditions that have been ignored by design up to this point. To me, that’s really the point of industrial design: being able
to create sometimes small solutions that greatly improve daily life.” She notes that her involvement as a student member of IDSA has been integral to her development as a designer. “Not only has IDSA helped me to gain visibility for my work, but it also has given me the opportunity to see the work of designers with much higher levels of experience,” she says. “Every year I looked forward to watching the SMA presentations because it gave me a goal to work toward when I became a senior. Events in which I’m given the opportunity to learn about the work of professionals have a similar effect, and have given me even loftier ideas about the possibilities for my work in the future.” Recently, Monteleone was hired as a product designer at Avkin, a wearable technology company located in Newport, DE. There she works on the R&D team to develop wearable medical simulation products aimed at helping to create high-fidelity learning experiences in order to better train future healthcare providers. Looking back on her time as a student, she has some words of wisdom for the next generation. “My best advice is to challenge yourself and always be willing to learn new things,” she says. “If you feel comfortable with every aspect of a project from the very beginning, you should probably choose a more ambitious project. Your time as a student is made for you to take risks, try new things, and learn from diverse experience. … Take advantage of every second!” Right: GaitMate reduces freezing of gait episodes in Parkinson’s patients, designed by Jessica Monteleone, S/IDSA.
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Anne McDonald, S/IDSA | North Carolina State University
DESIGNING WITH A PASSION TO HELP OTHERS
nne McDonald, S/IDSA, graduated from North Carolina State University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design. A lifelong love of sketching led her to ID, where her passion grew from the goal of wanting to help others. “I was drawn to design itself because I knew I wanted to be in a creative field that also helped people in a meaningful way,” she says. “I gravitated toward industrial design because I loved how broad of a field it was. Industrial design gives you the skills and ability to explore so many different areas and learn how they affect people on a day-to-day basis. … I enjoy that it involves both digital and physical product experiences, and find it fascinating trying to understand all of those interactions.” McDonald’s work over the past year was largely centered on designs in the medical and healthcare space. Standouts from her portfolio include a portable sink cart for hospital environments meant to enable a complete handsfree washing experience and prevent the spread of healthcare-related infections, and luggage designed for users with limited mobility to allow them to move more independently. While studying at NC State, McDonald helped to organize many portfolio reviews for IDSA’s South District Design Conference. This was “an incredible learning opportunity,” she says, and “a great way to meet talented designers and other students like myself. I am always so blown away about how passionate the IDSA community is to volunteer their free time to help students.” She has fond memories of design school, though her learning curve was steep. When she started, she didn’t have a background in design aside from sketching, but says she was fortunate to have some great professors who helped her along the way. Plus, “I had the absolute best
classmates,” she says. “My industrial design environment was a very collaborative experience. If someone was struggling on a project, everyone would go out of their way to try to help them. If someone found a better rendering or prototyping technique, they would share it with the class. I could not have made it through the past four years without them.” Currently, McDonald is working as an industrial designer at Becton Dickinson, one of the largest global medical technology companies in the world. She is excited to continue using her industrial design skill set in the medical industry and looking to help others however she can. For current ID students, she has some salient advice. First, make sure to get enough sleep. “Remembering your mental health is just as important as putting in the hours for your project,” she says. “I think this is an issue for many designers, and I had to learn to remember to take a step back from my projects every once and awhile.” Also: “You can learn just as much from your classmates as you can learn from your professors. Don’t be afraid to ask!” In the future, McDonald would like to see more collaboration between designers and people in very different professions. “I had a lot of friends in very different career paths than me where neither one of us had any clue what the other was studying,” she says. “We would give advice on each other’s projects, and I always found having non-designers’ perspectives to be beneficial—because as designers, as a whole, we are usually designing for the general public and not ourselves.” Right: The Tanager suitcase is a handsfree travel bag that merges with a wheelchair or scooter to give users more independence and mobility as they travel, designed by Anne McDonald, S/IDSA.
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Sawyer Alcazar-Hagen, S/IDSA | University of Oregon
CREATING A BETTER FUTURE BY DESIGN
awyer Alcazar-Hagen, S/IDSA, is a designer based in Portland, OR, who graduated from the University of Oregon in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in product design. “My greatest enjoyment derives from making things for others and making people smile through the work I create,” he says. “After five years of design school … it has become my mission to create a better future.” His inventive portfolio speaks to this mission, with designs that focus on providing more access to resources and improving the quality of life for a diverse range of users. For example, the Munchkins Cell Phone and UX he designed for children dealing with cultural and language barriers includes a playful translation interface with cuddly-looking monsters guiding the way through real-time conversational translation, active camera translation, and language games. “I entered college illustrating monsters for school projects, as well as friends and family,” he says. “As I matured, so did my artwork. I wanted to create something more useful than a painting on the wall. In my second year at the University of Oregon, I found product design and began to explore the world of creating form and function for others.” He especially enjoyed the collaborative aspect of industrial design, finding that working with others had the effect of pushing his concepts into exciting and uncharted territories. He also tries not to associate himself with one design aesthetic or process. “As an industrial designer, I think it is extremely important to be flexible with design in order to adapt to user demographics, target markets, or branding guidelines, which is key in creating a great product,” he says. “Every process is different because each project is different. I believe in order to have a successful process you must include primary research and a great
deal of user testing. Use objective information to define the functional aspects of your design.” Case in point: A redesign of rock-climbing belay equipment created through collaboration, observation, interviews, and research with an adaptive climber, Kevin Cardoza. While traditional belay equipment is designed for two-armed users, working with Cardoza, a transhumeral amputee, showed Alcazar-Hagen how to design an improved lowering lever and climbing cleat for increased safety and operability. Sustainable design also has been a central focus. As a designer, Alcazar-Hagen hopes to reduce what consumers purchase by rethinking materials systems and everyday products and to create more inclusive designs that benefit more people with less. “Design dictates what we buy, sell, and throw away,” he notes. “We as designers have the responsibility to preserve the natural world around us.” Being a student member of IDSA and presenting at the 2020 International Design Conference has provided him with a sense of scope and inspiration as well. “It has opened my eyes to so many talented individuals in so many different parts of the world who are determined to create a better tomorrow,” he says. “It has influenced me to learn more about sustainable design and to what amplitude my skills can be applied.” Currently Alcazar-Hagen is working as a junior industrial designer at a startup in Portland, OR. Though he cannot discuss what he’s been working on yet, he notes that he’s already had to broaden his skill set beyond industrial design and that so far “it’s been a super cool experience.” Right: The OSHEL bike helmet was designed to encourage young adults, specifically men, to wear a helmet while biking, designed by Sawyer AlcazarHagen, S/IDSA, in collaboration with Masaru Kiyota.
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Jiani Zeng, S/IDSA | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PUSHING PAST THE LIMITS OF TRADITIONAL DESIGN
iani Zeng, S/IDSA, embodies a notable quote by the designer Vico Magistretti in that she tends to “look at usual things with unusual eyes.” As a child, Zeng enjoyed creative activities such as drawing, painting, photography, and ceramics, but found she could never stick to them. “One thing I kept doing and never lost interest in was observing insects and bugs,” she says. “I could spend a whole day watching them and imagining their little kingdom.” Today Zeng is an award-winning industrial designer and researcher whose work toes the line between digital and physical realms. One result of her work with fellow MIT researcher Honghao Deng is Illusory Material, a new design methodology and lenticular 3D-printing framework that creates “dream-like material expressions that only exist in the digital world.” This new technique for designing and printing dynamic objects is primed to produce many different kinds of aesthetic results, such as hard objects that appear soft or products that can shift in color depending on how you hold them. Zeng and Deng are working with the 3D printing company Stratasys to explore potential applications of Illusory Material in packaging, high fashion, and consumer products. Illusory Material has won many awards in 2020, including IDEA Silver in the Student category. The boundarypushing work also aligns with Zeng’s own experimental design philosophy. “Some people in the ID industry are not very open to changes and new thinking,” she says. I really don’t think every industrial designer has to follow design thinking, user research, or hand sketching to generate a good design or become a good designer. I found it quite challenging to follow and be limited by those rules.” “Design language, visuals, and aesthetics are so easy to copy, but the person who first invents or creates the
subject deserves the most respect,” she adds. “I always try to be that person.” Zeng grew up under the Chinese educational system until she was 18. “Before college, I didn’t know what industrial design was, and I had a very vague understanding of design,” she says. “One day I saw a picture of a Leica M6 Historica camera with bright blue leather skin, and I just got hooked. It was the last day I had to decide my major in college, so I went through the list; product design seemed most related. It was the best coincidence and I still feel it was destiny.” In 2015, Zeng graduated from the University of Nottingham with a 1st Class BEng Hons degree in product design. In 2020, she earned her master’s of science in engineering and management from MIT. Looking ahead, Zeng would like to continue pushing past the limits of traditional design, removing the need to simply replicate materials that already exist. Instead, she is eager to restructure and reinvent materiality to create unique expressions, forms, properties, and experiences. Her advice to current ID students is to “fly over” the traditional design methodologies and manufacturing techniques. “I think it’s time for a change,” she says. For example, “Instead of saying a digital or computational tool is an alternative, let’s say it’s an open door.” Right: Illusory Material, winner of a 2020 Silver IDEA, uses computation power and advanced 3D printing technology to allow designers to play with CMF and even material properties that have never existed before, designed by Jiani Zeng, S/ IDSA, in collaboration with Honghao Deng. Editor’s note: There were not enough entries to adequately evaluate students against each other at the district level. Therefore, rather than cancel the 2020 GSMA program altogether, one winner was chosen out of the small pool of GSMA applicants.
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
S M A F I NAL I STS Madelyn Bauer, S/IDSA Cleveland Institute of Art Maddie Bauer is a senior at the Cleveland Institute of Art and a native Clevelander. She chose a career in industrial design at first to combine her passion for art and her aptitude in math, but then discovered its capability for solving problems. She hopes to continue using industrial design to improve the lives of others while creating sustainable and delightful solutions.
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Jared Bowdish, S/IDSA Columbus College of Art & Design Jared Bowdish is a senior industrial designer at the Columbus College of Art & Design. He is a standardization professional at NBBJ, a futurist, a husband, and a father. As a non-traditionalist, he is always pushing against the grain. He views design as if it’s a Swiss Army knife for life: It can fix anything and take people anywhere. Richard Seal at Seymour Powell defines design as ranging from “soap bars to rocket ships,” an idea Jared connects to. The only thing more important than design to Bowdish is his family.
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Paul Karas, S/IDSA College for Creative Studies If Paul Karas had to describe himself in one word it would be “curious.” His craving for discovery has led him to develop a wide set of unique skills that he leans on to guide him through the challenges each project brings. What makes him a good designer is the ability to cross disciplines and ask questions when there is a gap in his understanding. He aspires to continually improve and develop as a conduit for design excellence.
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Rebecca Murch, S/IDSA International Center for Creativity–Cedarville University Rebecca Murch is a senior pursuing a BA in industrial and innovative design at the International Center for Creativity through Cedarville University. The oldest of four siblings, she is originally from New Hampshire and has a variety of interests, including competitive debate, calligraphy, studio art, hiking, and travel. Her determination, creativity, and spirit of adventure play into her personal goal: to design empathetic, functional, and aesthetically pleasing solutions that address unmet needs, big or small. With every project, she strives to better understand the potential users so that her designs are user driven, appealing, and approachable.
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INNOVATION WINTER 2020
S M A F INAL I STS Tyler Nock, S/IDSA The Ohio State University From the physical world in products and spaces to the digital world in system and interface design, Tyler Nockâ€™s focus has always been on understanding people and their behaviors to create meaningful and memorable experiences. He believes empathy is the key element to creating something impactful. Through his five years of studying industrial design, he has gained a wide range of skills in various disciplines that inspire him to take on any challenge.
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Alison Benz, S/IDSA The University of Kansas Alison Benz is a student at The University of Kansas. She has been involved in the IDSA KU Chapter since she was a first-year in the design school and has learned so much throughout the different experiences! She was president of the KU Chapter last year and looks forward to seeing more growth of KUâ€™s IDSA program in the future. Competing in the Student Merit Awards has been her goal for the past four years, and she appreciates the opportunity to show her growth as a designer.
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Estefany Chavez Ruiz, S/IDSA University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Born and raised in Oaxaca, a small city in Mexico, Estefany Chavez Ruiz discovered industrial design by wandering around showrooms and falling in love with simple daily objects. She draws inspiration and knowledge through meeting diverse people in the United States. Her goal is to use design and apply it to the context that surrounds it, helping users to look beyond stigmas and open new possibilities.
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Cain Hassim, S/IDSA Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Cain Hassim is an industrial design student at Southern Illinois University. His unique creative capacities paired with his passion and extensive knowledge allow him to design and innovate unique products. He is skilled in multiple product design fields and has extensive design software knowledge. He has industry experience as both a corporate and freelance designer. His excellent work ethic and high level of commitment is observed in his dedication to his year-round athletic training schedule at SIU.
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INNOVATION WINTER 2020
S M A F INAL I STS Kasturi Khanke, S/IDSA Iowa State University Growing up as an Indian woman, Kasturi Khanke has always wanted to challenge the norm and impact the world in a much broader sense. Her four years at Iowa State University have made her challenge, evolve, and question design methods through the process of innovation and disruption. She enjoys talking to people from all walks of life and draws inspiration from these conversations. Apart from designing, Khanke loves to play the piano and finds it very relaxing. After graduating, she is moving to Des Moines, IA, to kick-off her career in design.
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Braden Kimmel, S/IDSA University of Notre Dame Braden Kimmel is from Noblesville, IN, outside of Indianapolis. He received his bachelorâ€™s of fine arts from the University of Notre Dame in May 2020. His design interests include healthcare, furniture, and digital technology. He is also passionate about social justice. He was an intern at a social enterprise in Indianapolis, Purposeful Design, which produces furniture built by people who were previously homeless. In addition, he interned at Haworth in Holland, MI, designing office furniture. Outside of design, he loves to travel, cook, serve in the community, watch movies, and run.
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DeeDee Leng, S/IDSA University of Illinois at Chicago DeeDee Leng is a senior industrial design student at UIC. She is passionate about how people connect with each other and using design to build a deeper understanding and relationships. She thinks design is a great communication tool that allows us to break barriers and instill positive change. She is also a retired figure skater, snowboarding hobbyist, doughnut enthusiast, and future dog mom.
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Megan Piunti, S/IDSA Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Megan Piunti graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in May. During her college experience, she collaborated with companies that included Delta Faucet, Fiskars, and General Motors. She will begin her career as an industrial designer at Credo Product Development, an engineering and design firm in the Madison, WI, area where she interned last summer. Aside from design, she is passionate about painting and yoga.
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INNOVATION WINTER 2020
S M A F INAL I STS Taylor Stoiber, S/IDSA University of Wisconsin-Stout Taylor Stoiber has a passion for learning and creating. This passion was found through constant observation of the world around him. Admiration and criticism of the objects that surround us has left him wondering how he can help create objects and/or experiences that bring joy and ease to consumersâ€™ lives. His drive to learn more about the design industry and the people designers serve brings him excitement and inspiration for any opportunity to grow his skills and understanding of this beautiful thing called design.
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Vivian To, S/IDSA University of Minnesota Vivian To is an aspiring product designer. Before she discovered design, her main interests were in biology and the fine arts. The logics of science and the freedom to create in art were two things she wanted to combine in a way that could benefit others. She found that balance in product design. Now she has a bachelorâ€™s in biology and uses what she has learned to inspire the function and form of her designs. Outside of her studies, she loves playing badminton, reading, and discovering new cafes.
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Carlos Carrillo, S/IDSA Kean University Carlos Carrillo is an Ecuadorian-born industrial design student at Michael Graves College at Kean University. He is currently interning as a design assistant at WestRock, which provides packaging solutions. Carrillo believes that design should be about creating a connection between the user and the product.
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Ryan Graves, S/IDSA Syracuse University Chicago born and Utah raised, Ryan Graves is proud to have finished up his industrial and interaction design degree in another corner of the country: Syracuse, NY. He views design as the most influential and fulfilling contribution he can provide society. His interests lie within sustainable products and systems that offer meaningful experiences for all users. When he is not waiting for Solidworks to reboot, he enjoys cooking, athletics, art, and the outdoors. His hobbies have a tremendous influence on his work and have taught him a variety of unique skills. He looks forward to challenging himself creatively as he pursues design professionally.
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INNOVATION WINTER 2020
S M A F INAL I STS Corey Marchetti, S/IDSA University of Bridgeport Corey Marchetti is a quirky but passionate designer. While finishing his undergraduate degree, he is working for Product Ventures, a packaging design consultancy in Connecticut, designing new experiences for customers around the world. He is proficient in many areas of design such as sketching, computer-aided drafting, digital rendering, 3D printing, and prototyping. He enjoys surrounding himself with anything creative. Whenever he is not sleeping, you can find him wearing his virtual reality goggles playing video games, in his studio making sculptures, or engaged in a design exercise.
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Tara Quillinan, S/IDSA Wentworth Institute of Technology Tara Quillinan was raised in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains and has always been inspired by the natural world. Having a passion for creating, she began taking an interest in both arts and engineering from a young age. Through her education and firsthand experiences, she has been able to expand her knowledge and perspective in these areas. Using the skills she has developed, she hopes to continue to be inspired by the world and design solutions to leave the planet better for generations to come.
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Zach Thesier, S/IDSA Rochester Institute of Technology Growing up, Zach Thesier wanted to be an inventor. Not all childhood dreams come true, but for Thesier, the aspiration to create has become a reality. After discovering industrial design as a freshman in high school through his passion for consumer electronics, his interests expanded to encompass all areas of design. He views design as a single unit rather than separate parts and understands the importance of design in peopleâ€™s everyday lives. Thesier strives to use what he knows to help people and to make a difference.
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Griffin Uhlir, S/IDSA Pratt Institute Griffin Uhlir is an industrial designer from Pratt Instituteâ€™s class of 2020. Growing up with a twin brother, Uhlir always had a subordinate empathy for others. His understanding of those around him is a quality he brings to his practice in design. To Uhlir, good design fulfills the needs of people, not users. He is always passionate about the design process because each project requires a slightly different approach and is a new opportunity to learn. You can catch Uhlir riding his bike to clear his head on the New York City streets.
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INNOVATION WINTER 2020
S M A F I NAL I STS
Evan Willard, S/IDSA Massachusetts College of Art and Design Evan Willard is a guy who wants to design everything he can. Heâ€™s in love with the digital, the visual, and the abstract. He believes in the importance of making design fun, exciting, and positive. When heâ€™s not studying industrial design, he does freelance graphic and web design and plays video games, especially Rock Band.
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Jason Wong, S/IDSA Drexel University Jason Wong was born and raised in Southern California where he was heavily influenced by incredible diversity, the fine arts scene, and a spirit of adventure. He is completing his BS in product design with a double minor in culinary arts and fine arts at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He also studied a semester abroad at the Accademia Italiana, an international fine arts university in Florence, Italy. He has a passion for global thinking, sustainability, and human-centered design.
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Abigail Ambrogi, S/IDSA Georgia Institute of Technology Abigail Ambrogi is an ID student at Georgia Tech. She loves learning about how people engage with the world around them and is driven by uncovering unexpected insights that can transform an experience. In the world of ID, she is most excited about user research and plans to pursue a PhD in psychology. When she is not scribbling in her notebook, she is listening to â€œCrime Junkie,â€? making pasta, and exploring Atlanta.
Olivia Botello, S/IDSA Appalachian State University Olivia Botello is an industrial designer studying at Appalachian State University. Influenced by a personal experience that changed her perspective on life and design, she believes design, at the root, is about loving people well. The value in design for Botello comes from creating a solution that makes someone feel cared for and represented. As she is challenged by social, environmental, and global inequalities, she strives to face those questions head on in each of her designs.
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
S M A F I NAL I STS Ledong Chen, S/IDSA Auburn University Ledong Chen is a senior industrial design student at Auburn University. He is from Guangzhou, China. He studied thermal engineering, but after graduating in 2016, found that he hated it. He has loved sketching since he was a kid and is interested in technology. These two interests led him to a degree in industrial design.
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Briggs Clinard, S/IDSA James Madison University Briggs Clinard always wanted to do something creative. As a kid he loved sketching and making things with his dad, and finding ways to hack something together to solve a problem, whether making duct tape wallets, extravagant ways to turn on lights, or attachments for his treehouse. This attraction to creating things as a kid never went away and led him to industrial design. When he finishes a project he is truly proud of, he gets a sense of accomplishment and happiness that he canâ€™t find anywhere else.
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Michael Dillon, S/IDSA University of Houston Michael Dillon is an architecture and design history nerd living and designing in Houston, TX. He works primarily as a consultant for a small design for manufacturing firm called Bilio, helping them put together visualizations and renderings for their clients. He graduated from the University of Houston in spring 2019. When not working, reading, or watching something juicy on Netflix, you can find him in the kitchen putting together a slamminâ€™ quesa-pizza.
Renata Ingerson, S/IDSA Savannah College of Art & Design Renata Ingerson thinks that objects are great, and as an industrial designer she feels particularly invested in them. Designing products is the ultimate culmination of everything that excites her, from understanding the psychology and the needs of a user and problem-solving through hundreds of sketches to finally bringing an idea to life. She has always joked that she loves industrial design because itâ€™s so vague, an ambiguity that allows for opportunity. She loves the challenge of designing products for large a breadth of individuals and to design products that inspire the same love for objects she has.
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
S M A F I NAL I ST S Yiarella Molinos, S/IDSA Virginia Institute of Technology Yiarella Molinos is a senior industrial design student at Virginia Tech with a love of digital platforms and a fascination with the Internet of Things. She looks forward to using her skill set in the consumer technology industry and enjoys a fresh user interface and delightful surprises/details in her experience with new products.
Tyler Anderson, S/IDSA Brigham Young University Tyler Anderson is an industrial designer from Hudson, WI. He currently works at Enlisted Design in Salt Lake City, where he completed his undergrad at BYU. He runs the platform Render Weekly with his creative partner Ryan Krause and has a special passion for product visualization within industrial design. Together, they have a small side-hustle doing freelance work and side projects. In his spare time, Anderson likes to skateboard, mountain bike, and play guitar.
Jack Johnston, S/IDSA University of Washington As far back as he can remember, Jack Johnston has noticed the little things, obsessively observing the physical world and taking notes though sketching. As he grew up, he had a knack for quick problem-solving and team collaboration, which led him toward industrial design. Since then, he has realized the power and privilege he has as a designer and has been driven to design for good. He is inspired by an interesting problem and knowing the best is yet to come.
Hanbi Ko, S/IDSA Art Center College of Design Whether in Korea or the 11 homes she has lived in in the U.S., Hanbi Ko learned the art of people watching from her mom. For hours on end she would study people and observe their interactions. She loved the ambiguity of every new situation. Optimistic about extending possibility through design, she always looks for pockets of opportunity to spark joy in the daily lives of people. Having worked at Google, Poketo, and the Getty Museum, she uncovers brand value, dissects insights, solves problems, and aligns aesthetic language to deliver a unique story. Designing an engaging reality and authentic experiences starts and ends with people, she believes.
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
S M A F I NAL I STS Ben Lorimore, S/IDSA Western Washington University Raised in Portland, OR, Ben Lorimore has a deep-seated affection for the Pacific Northwest. He can usually be found exploring the outdoors, cooking long and intricate meals, or meditating and conversing with friends. Through his exploration of mindfulness, he endlessly pursues a heightened awareness and connection with himself and those around him. He believes love and empathy are fundamental to the human experience and explores such themes in his passion for design. He aspires to create products and experiences that warm the heart and inspire people to love, connect, and grow.
Erlend Meling, S/IDSA Arizona State University Erlend Meling is a Norwegian-American industrial design student at Arizona State University. After graduating high school, he decided to move to the U.S. from Norway to pursue industrial design. He has internship experience in Europe and the U.S. in both corporate and consultancy environments. Meling is passionate about helping people employ a user-centric mindset when designing products. He wants to focus on the healthcare and medical device industries. Outside of design, he is passionate about baseball, theoretical physics, and collecting watches.
Devan Ponce, S/IDSA San Francisco State University Devan Ponce is a student at San Francisco State University completing dual degrees in social anthropology and industrial design. She is interested in human-centered designs that are driven by empathy and the user experience.
Sirikhanate Sakulyong, S/IDSA California College of the Arts Born and raised in a developing country, Sirikhanate Sakulyong is an industrial designer who nurtures a strong interest in social and environmental issues. With a background in biology and animation, she has an appreciation for complex systems, an understanding of the human-nature dynamics, and the ability to craft stories to represent her designs. She often takes inspiration from nature and the ecosystem and strives to create meaningful designs that are alluring and humane and that leave an impact. Collaboration and community play a big role in her creative growth as she continues to nurture her curiosity and creativity through design.
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
S M A F I NAL I STS Delaney Santos, S/IDSA California State University, Long Beach Currently in her fifth year of pursuing a Bachelor of Science in industrial design at California State University, Long Beach, Delaney Santos has been lucky enough to intern at two very different design consultancies in Southern California. Upon graduation, she looks forward to expanding her knowledge and skills further and applying all that she has learned. Her design goal is to solve tangible problems with empathy and to create legitimate solutions through collaboration with clients and coworkers. Focusing on interpersonal communication, adaptability, and efficiency, she thrives when working in team environments to find captivating and functional solutions.
Sy Hyin Wong, S/IDSA San Jose State University Sy Hyin Wong is a senior industrial design student at San Jose State University. She grew up in Malaysia and came to the United States to study industrial design. Growing up loving both art and the sciences, she found industrial design to be a perfect future to pursue. She loves thoughtful details in products, and she often finds inspiration from hygge and minimalist design. As a young designer, she strives for creative, elegant, and user-centered design solutions. In her spare time, Wong can be found crocheting amigurumi or making cards for her family and friends overseas.
2021 STUDENT MERIT AWARDS SMA ROUND 1 JANUARY - MARCH 8, 2021 Undergraduate School Finalist Selection Each school with an IDSA Student Chapter conducts their own internal competition to select a single SMA Finalist chosen to advance to Round 2 of the competition. The SMA Finalist (a graduating senior) is someone with tremendous talent, breadth of skill, and who best embodies the industrial design program they represent.
SMA ROUND 2 MARCH 8 - APRIL 5, 2021 Undergraduate School Finalist Entry Period During this time window, each schoolâ€™s SMA Finalist uploads their work to our awards platform for review by our panel of judges.
GSMA COMPETITION MARCH 8 - APRIL 5, 2021 Graduate Entry Period All graduate-level industrial design students from schools with an IDSA Student Chapter are encouraged to submit their work through our awards platform in order to enter the GSMA competition and be reviewed by our panel of judges.
WINNERS ANNOUNCED MAY 2021
idsa.org/SMAS INNOVATION WINTER 2020
2 0 2 0 AFICADE NAL I STS MI C JURY SMA, GSMA, & Scholarship Judges
Founder and Principal Designer, Jet Pack Industries
Senior Design Researcher, Bresslergroup
Kyle Ellison, IDSA
Founder & Design Principal, Trailside Creative Product Design
Scott Henderson, IDSA Founder & Designer, Scott Henderson, INC
Tom Ask, IDSA
Professor of Industrial Design, Pennsylvania College of Technology
Chloe Condon Industrial Designer, Pampered Chef
Eddie Licitra, IDSA
Geraint Krumpe, IDSA
Associate Design Director, McKinsey & Company
Founder, Prinicipal Design
Design Consultant/Entrepreneur, Lexicon
Principal Industrial Designer, Rise Design
Kat Reiser, IDSA
Kevin Shankwiler, IDSA Sr. Lecturer, GA Tech School of ID & Digital Fabrication Lab
Maria Miller, IDSA
Merry Constantino, IDSA Founder, ProductLogic LLC
Monica Tournoux, IDSA
Independent Design Educator
Seda McKilligan, IDSA
Stephanie Battista, IDSA
Susan Sokolowski, IDSA
Professor and Associate Dean, Iowa State University
Wearable Designer, Humanity Innovation Labs
Senior Industrial Designer, Design Central
Director & Associate Professor, University of Oregon
Education Paper Judges
Adam Feld, IDSA
Assistant Professor of ID University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Greg Thune, IDSA
Dr. Andrea McDonough-Varner Adjunct Professor, Pennsylvania College of Technology
Hale Selek, IDSA
Chair of Industrial Design, Columbus College of Art & Design
Assistant Professor Product Design, University of Oregon
Jim Arnold, IDSA
Associate Professor, Auburn University
Professor of Industrial Design, GA Tech
Professor, Utah State University
Başak Altan, IDSA
Dosun Shin, IDSA
Hari Nair, IDSA
Dr. James Fathers
Independent Design Strategist, Leader, Educator
Associate Professor, Arizona State University
Professor, Savannah College of Art and Design
Director, Syracuse University School of Design
Kelly Umstead, IDSA
Lauren McDermott, IDSA
Assistant Professor of ID + Director of Graduate Program in ID, NC State College of Design
Chair, The Design School at Arizona State University
Tod Corlett, IDSA
Director of Industrial Design Programs, Thomas Jefferson University
Thank you to these design practitioners and educators who volunteered their time to serve as judges of this year’s SMA, GSMA, Scholarships, and Education Papers programs. Each judge is responsible for reviewing a considerable amount of content in the process of making their scores and selections. Their dedication and commitment toward identifying and celebrating the next generation of design talent is an invaluable resource to our community. This group also includes all members of IDSA’s 2020–2021 Education Council, led by Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA. Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA Associate Professor of Industrial Design, Iowa State University
INNOVATION WINTER 2020
A F I NA L T HO UG HT
DESIGNING DESIGN EDUCATION
he current state of higher education in the United States is in disarray due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has forced colleges and universities to cut budgets and eliminate positions and to reconsider their basic function due to declining enrollment, in-person instruction, and sports and social activities that define the American college experience. However, even before the crisis, ballooning student debt and limited career support had put the promised return on investment of a college degree in doubt. In our previous two articles, “The Necessity of Education” and “An Opportunity for Change,” we examined problems endemic to the current model of design education from the perspectives of academia and the students themselves. Academia, failing to maintain pace with the design industry, faces an ever-growing gap between the needs of employers and the skills delivered to students. Students, on the other hand, fail to recognize their own sense of agency in carving their own path to becoming design professionals. As designers ourselves, we aren’t ones to present problems without offering solutions. That is where our next project comes in: Offsite. As reform of existing academic institutions is a long and arduous process governed by many stakeholders far outside of design, we took matters into our own hands and created our own school. Offsite is less of a grounded institution and more of a grand experiment. An experiment predicated on the hypothesis that if we can offer courses taught by professionals who are up-to-date in their field and pair them with highly motivated, self-actualizing students, then these students will leave better prepared to enter the workforce than their peers. Offsite, as it stands now, is a 12-week intensive pilot program centered on reframing what design education can be. Filling the gap between academia and industry, Offsite covers those practical skill sets often lightly discussed in school but learned on the job: the business of design, teaching how stakeholders outside the design studio affect design; design for manufacturing, showing the real-world constraints of materials, processes, and cost; design discourse, developing productive opinions when speaking about design; CAD for visualization, giving students up-todate rendering skills to best display their work; real-world sketching, drawing a distinction between beautiful sketch art online and the real sketching designers use as a vehicle of communication; and professional self-presentation, putting
all these components together to tell the story of a student’s work. Our first group, or cohort, in Offsite-speak, is a careful selection of 52 skilled students representing over 10 different countries on every continent, save for Antarctica. This is by no mistake. There are not many design institutions in the world where upon waking up in the U.S. you are chatting with another student in Singapore who is finishing their day. Design often finds itself siloed by borders, and so we hope to offer students a truly international perspective and broaden the scope of their work. The first round of classes, equivalent to a semester’s worth of usual university education, focuses on leveling up. Our students—both university-level students and working professionals—come to Offsite already possessing a foundation of design skills. The goal is to help them move upward, whether to secure their first internship or job or to get a promotion or their next job. In doing so, we’ve abolished grades as a metric for determining student success and progress—because your grades won’t get you hired, but your portfolio will. For Offsite, the real test of its success is the personal advancement of our students. If there’s one resource that has become incredibly scarce during this time, it’s mentorship. We can’t underscore enough the importance of mentorship in career development. Finding and creating those relationships with professionals is near impossible in isolation. To combat this issue, we’ve paired each of our students with a working professional. This mentor works with the student to set measurable career goals and to offer a perspective outside our own faculty. Is Offsite perfect? No, but we believe it’s one step closer to a vision of design education that more readily responds to the design industry. We’re not trying to keep it a secret. We would love to be copied. We would love competitors. We would love to see other institutions implement their own experiments and radical changes as well, because that is what will uplift education as a whole. Looking forward, we want to grow and begin to offer different tracks for different interests and skill levels. The future of Offsite is to offer a more holistic approach to design education that readies students for the workforce and challenges them to become leaders in their field. —Hector Silva and Dominic Montante email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
This issue of INNOVATION aims to unpack recent challenges and conversations in design academia. We asked our contributors to share their tho...
Published on Dec 18, 2020
This issue of INNOVATION aims to unpack recent challenges and conversations in design academia. We asked our contributors to share their tho...