Cross-Disciplinary Practice in Engineering Contexts

DS 58-9: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 9, Human Behavior in Design, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Adams, Robin S.
Section: Human Behavior in Design
Page(s): 343-

Abstract

Engineering design is inherently cross-disciplinary. Many complex design problems facing society today require cross-disciplinary approaches that integrate diverse perspectives into a collective whole. This involves thinking and working across technical and non-technical considerations, negotiating among different perspectives and territories of expertise, and innovation and transformative design processes. While there have been substantial investments in cross-disciplinary engineering education, the level of empirical attention paid is considerably less than the level of endorsement. As such, there is considerable opportunity for advancing this line of scholarship. This paper presents results from the first phase of a study that investigates critical differences and similarities in the ways people experience cross-disciplinary practice in engineering contexts. This is a phenomenographic study that involves investigating the qualitatively different ways people experience the same aspect of the world. The ultimate goal of this study is to reveal cross-disciplinary ways of thinking, being, and acting as well as identify considerations for enabling cross-disciplinary learning environments.

Keywords: Cross-disciplinarity, innovation, leadership, collaboration, strategies

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