A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS A DANGEROUS THING? – DO BSc PRODUCT DESIGN COURSES DISCOURAGE COLLABORATION?
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Christian Tollestrup, Kaare Eriksen, Nis Ovesen
Author: James Meadwell, David Terris, Peter Ford
Institution: De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
Section: Collaborative Environments
BSc Product Design Courses aim to equip the Product Designer with a better understanding of the
needs of professionals such as manufacturing engineers, material specialists, electrical engineers
whilst also maintaining a focus on conventional design skills. One could debate that this greater
understanding of these engineering disciplines should allow more productive collaboration with their
respective practitioners. A key area looked at by this paper is, does this bias towards the technical,
affect the designers predisposition towards collaborating with end users or those involved in the user
experience in driving a new product design forward?
It will also consider the argument that the Product Designer is now in a position to collaborate less
with other technical disciplines, with ever simpler tools such as FEA, CFD being part of CAD suites,
allowing designers to carry out the kind of validation that would have once been exclusively the
preserve of specialists.
The paper examines two completed design projects for SME clients, by a design research group based
at De Montfort University. One project was undertaken by a BA graduate, the other a BSc graduate. It
will look at how each graduate collaborated with end users and technical specialists and the effect this
had on the project outcome. One of the projects will then be presented as a hypothetical live project to
final year BSc and BA