Innovation Forum: Keynote Speaker

Design as Development

Keynote Speaker: Carol Strohecker, PhD, Director of the Center for Design Innovation, University of North Carolina
Wednesday, 2/13, 7:30pm-9:00pm
Mobius Hall

Registration Required, Seating Limited

The first 40 students to sign up will receive a free UWB Innovation Forum T-Shirt!

Respondents: Anne Basting, Associate Professor, Theater and Executive Director, Center on Age and Community, University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

George Northcroft, Regional Administrator U.S. General Services Administration Northwest/Arctic Region, Member of the UWB Chancellor's Advisory Board

Film: Virtually Physical, Produced by the Center for Serious Play

Communities around the world are acknowledging the need for creativity to spark innovation as economies transition from historic bases in manufacturing to a new era of connected knowledge.

Moving from creative imagination to useful realization requires a process of design. Opportunities are everywhere: in the clothes we wear; in the bikes we ride, the cars we drive, and the roads we move on; in the tools we use; in the things we watch and read; in the places where we eat, sleep, work and play; in the ways we run our organizations and exchange our products, services and ideas.

Approaching design opportunities, we begin by making an educated guess about how best to serve the purpose. We reflect this hypothesis through creation of an object or process that instantiates it; then we stand back and and take a look. We critique the result from multiple perspectives: Who will use this result? Can they access it well? Does it address all facets of the need? Is it sustainable? We identify flaws or omissions and address them, effecting improvements as we modify the design. Then we then we stand back and take another look, critique, and modify further.

As this iterative process proceeds, we both employ and create knowledge. Design is a process of learning and designers are particularly well equipped for that most important of 21st-century skills, the ability to learn.

With the daunting pace and complexity of new knowledge development, and in light of psychologists' understanding that people think and learn in different ways, we need new educational methods as well as updated curricula. The increasingly familiar "STEM to STEAM" mantra recognizes this need, acknowledged no less by the United States Congress through last year's House Resolution 319:

"Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that adding art and design into Federal programs that target the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States."

This act of Congress culminated efforts by members of an international research network, which results from historic collaboration between the US National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts. Currently, "SEAD" network members are developing advocacy strategies to increase recognition, curricula, policy changes, and funding for such broadly interdisciplinary work.

Economic development benefits from a similarly broad purview, through enabling teams that are not only interdisciplinary, but diverse also with respect to community and economic sectors. Experience show this sort of project-focused cross-connecting to be nothing less than a reliable a formula for productive, profitable innovation.