SOLVING TITANIC PROBLEMS: THE CONTRIBUTION OF DESIGN AND KNOWLEDGE
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: McElheron, Paul John
Institution: VIA Design, Denmark
Section: Creativity and Innovation in Design and Engineering Education
This paper compares the results in terms of idea generation and creative problem solving from three teams of BA Material and Product Design Engineering students. Teams used a design thinking methodology and the principles of knowledge building to solve a “wicked” problem, (actually we chose a titanic one), the sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912 resulting in the death of more than 1500 passengers and crew, only just over 700 survived. Students were figuratively “placed on deck” one minute after Titanic’s collision with an iceberg and given the problem; “How could more lives have been saved?” The aims of the study were to investigate the effect of combining the process and practices of design thinking with the principles of knowledge building on innovative idea generation. Also, to explore ways of communicating the design thinking and knowledge building concepts to students meeting them for the first time. Student teams using a design thinking methodology developed creative solutions which may have saved over 700 additional lives. However, teams using a design thinking process combined with the principles of knowledge building worked creatively with knowledge and developed solutions that may have saved the entire ship. Observations made during the study allowed us to suggest why this was the case and offer some suggestions as to how the concepts of design thinking, knowledge building and diverse thinking styles may be communicated to students in a meaningful way.