Speaking Design: Development of Cross-Disciplinary Understanding in Design, Business and Engineering Education

Year: 2011
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Karjalainen, Toni-Matti; Heiniö, Sanna; Graff, Daniel; Koria, Mikko; Salimäki, Markku
Series: E&PDE
Section: Multi-disciplinary perspectives
Page(s): 472-477


In this paper, observations are presented from an educational program that has 15 years experience in teaching the multidisciplinary approach in design, business and engineering. We first discuss the concept of "functional wall" that is often formed between disciplinary experts. Next, the approach of problem-based learning is introduced as a solution to break such walls within multidisciplinary teams. To illustrate PBL in practice, we explore a multidisciplinary student project on package design. In the project a team of 4 students was assigned the task of studying communicative elements of packaging and providing new innovative package design solutions. The paper presents a successful approach to train and manage multidisciplinary teams, providing students with the ability to understand the approaches, special know-how, and terminology of other discplines: the ones with which an expert is supposed to work together in the future.

Keywords: Design and business, multidisciplinary education, project management


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