Design as Communication in Collaborative Innovation

by Miao Wang

Institution: University of Cincinnati
Department: Design, Architecture, Art and Planning: Design
Degree: MDES
Year: 2012
Keywords: Design; Collaborative Innovation; User-Centered Design; Cross-functional Team; Design Communication Model; Organizational Decision-Making
Record ID: 1981508
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ucin1326828965


We live in a world where both strategic and operational advantages are driven by collaboration and sharing. To enable the collaborative innovation within a cross-functional team, transparent and efficient communication is necessary. Designers are trained to be proficient in communicating ideas through visual languages which can be easily identified and understood, naturally designers excel in describing and delivering information within a multi-disciplinary team environment. More importantly, being experts in divergent thinking from “naive” end-user perspective, designers prefer to bring creative ideas with comprehensive consideration of the product eco-system. However, in a collaborative working context, the value of design as communication media has not been well recognized because of the stereotyped view from outside disciplines as well as the individual weakness from the designers’ lack of experience in project lifecycle management. This study attempts to frame a coherent model by which the effectiveness of design communication can be fully executed into the collaborative innovation. Issues like how to influence team decision making by taking full advantage of user-centered design thinking and multi-media design implementations will be discussed. The model of integrating the design process into product and team development process will be addressed and applied in the empirical case studies in the area of medical technology invention. Primary design history files were recorded with a few semi-structured interviews of stakeholders from distinct domains.