Date of Award

2014

Embargo Period

3-3-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Design (MDes)

Department

Design

Advisor(s)

Mark Baskinger

Abstract

Fueled by the value of “Design Thinking” as an innovation and problem solving tool, a rising number of engineers have been entering graduate programs in interaction design to learn how to design. However an engineer’s strong emphasis on the end product stands at odds with design’s emphasis on the process. This predisposition oftentimes impedes with an the engineer’s ability to fully engage with their new culture of design where they must employ new ways of knowing. The fact of the mater is, designerly ways of knowing is not something simply learned by books, or sifting through literature. It is instead a new way of knowing by approaching making as a process of discovery, clarity and craft while iterating towards refinement and articulation. For technically rational minded individuals a career change into design points to a larger challenge beyond learning tools and methods, where the act of change represents a necessity to transition in worldviews; going from a field filled with certainty to a field that deals with uncertainty, in design. Without understanding the value of designerly ways of knowing and having the agility to navigate through the uncertainty in the form of designerly ways of making, technically minded individuals can easily feel stuck and disoriented stuck while experiencing a full on “culture shock.” This thesis looks to aid in the process of transition by uncovering pre-understandings, roadblocks, and opportunities of a cultural transition from engineering to design. Using human centered design methods and informed ways of making, the goal is to create a model to engage in designerly ways of making in order to better navigate uncertainty and begin to know in designerly ways.

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