GENERATIVE PROTOTYPE ITERATION IN THEFRONT END OF THE DESIGN PROCESS
DS82: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE15), Great Expectations: Design Teaching, Research & Enterprise, Loughborough, UK, 03-04.09.2015
Editor: Guy Bingham, Darren Southee, John McCardle, Ahmed Kovacevic, Erik Bohemia, Brian Parkinson
Author: McKenzie, David
Institution: Design Fellow, The Ohio State University, USA
Iterative prototyping has traditionally enabled engineers and designers to test concepts in the latter stages of development once problem and solution have been defined. Exploring the use of this technique in the problem definition area of research to stimulate interaction and discovery during codesign  has the potential to generate insightful, user driven ideation. Combining and taking inspiration from Presumptive Design , Speculative Design  and Co- Design through making , this research introduces a fruitful connection between provocative artefact engagement and user generated ideation, while implementing digitally fabricated objects, in the generative front end of the design process. A six-person multi-disciplinary design group generated an initial, ‘Presumptive’ artifact followed by subsequent user inspired objects. Four workshop sessions involving a total of thirteen different participants were facilitated during three iterations. Workshop participants were introduced to ill-conceived artifacts and asked to critique and reflect. The artifacts were not introduced as valid prototypes, only objects to spark conversation about the cycling experience at The Ohio State University. Through discussions, observations and the use of maketools , participants documented their responses and needs for future use. These responses were then used to inspire and provoke the design group to further evolve the discussion and iterations while exploring the problem space. The digitally fabricated, provocative artifacts created by the researcher stimulated users to discuss and ideate in a co-creative setting, eventually leading to a clearer understanding of their future needs. Interaction with artifacts and designerly concerns introduced participants to product evaluation and critique that was then applied to their own considerations. The process transformed the sacrificial artifact, through a series of iterations, into a physical representation of a solution to those needs.