Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Embrace change...and design for it."

These words were spoken by Barbara Beskind, who at 90 years old, is working at IDEO and giving feedback in the design of new products in the Silicon Valley.  I just love everything she had to say on npr here.  Wow.  Talk about inspiring.  We all change and our situations all change, but the important thing is to problem solve and design for this change.

Here is a video about IDEO "in a word…"

As I begin a new semester with a new group of students, I try to emphasize from the beginning the engineering-design process and how we can use it to solve problems.  I have them go online and study the myriad of engineering-design process images on Google images and then have them compare them, looking at similarities, differences, unique and outstanding characteristics.  They then work in pairs to create their own version of the engineering-design process.  Through this, I hope they learn that there are multiple perspectives and pathways to design and create while at the same time holding to certain commonalities such as iteration and the feedback loop.  At the end, they reflect on this task and the engineering-design process as a whole.  This student reflection really encapsulates what I hope every student take away from this activity:

In this project I learned that engineering is a long and lengthy job that will take many steps and when you mess up you have to retry. I also learned that the design process can be used for things other than just in the job of engineering. For instance, in real life situations you can quickly go through the design process to help people or to just help yourself whether it be a small problem or an unimportant and quick solvable problem. I have a question on if all engineers use this process everyday to make everything they create or only for long projects that are very lengthy.