Design as a catalyst: A pedagogical framework

Raghu Gudur, Deana McDonagh, Maurita T. Harris, Wendy A. Rogers

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


There is an increasing interest in the design and creative thinking process in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and health education disciplines. Many new degree programs are integrating design thinking into their syllabi. The idea was to bring creative problem-solving culture in these disciplines. In reality the exposure these students get is minimal, and it does not provide enough foundation for them to use the knowledge in a real-life situation. There is an increased awareness for the importance of design thinking in the innovative process and more and more STEM, business and health establishments are embedding trained designers into their research teams. Yet many designers are not equipped to work in interdisciplinary teams. Design students tend to approach problems in a more intuitive and opportunistic manner whereas STEM and health disciplines approaches are often more algorithmic and systematic. In interdisciplinary teams, this often creates tension. In this paper, we share the outcome of a phenomenological study on a high functioning interdisciplinary team working on a health innovation project focused on aging with a disability. The project is used as a case study to illustrate the skill-set needed for a designer to make a significant contribution to its overall outcome. Utilising the Belbin team role we identified key attributes that are essential for a designer to become an effective member in interdisciplinary teams. Based on this study, we propose changes to current design pedagogy framework to better equip design students to work in interdisciplinary teams.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Value of Design & Engineering Education in a Knowledge Age: Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2020)
EditorsLyndon Buck, Erik Bohemia, Hilary Grierson, Anders Bisgaard, Mette Terkildsen, Paul John McElheron
Place of PublicationDenmark
PublisherThe Design Society
ISBN (Print)9781912254101
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2020
Event22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2020) - University in Herning, Denmark, Denmark
Duration: 10 Sep 202011 Sep 2020


Conference22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2020)

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