Blog Post B: Interdisciplinary Advantage

Charter and Collaboration

Our group charter outlined the rules and expectations of our group members. The charter provided guidelines for acceptable activities such as being punctual to meetings, phone usage and eating, communicating through social media and completing work before class. We signed at the bottom to mark our commitment.

 

Groupwork Charter Image
An excerpt from the Green T Leaves’ Groupwork Charter

While we had agreed on paper to be punctual and prepared for meetings, we couldn’t account for the unexpected circumstances of reality. Group members were sick, more important assignments were due, meetings were miss-scheduled or forgotten. These missed opportunities slowed our progress and weakened collaboration. Susan A Nancarrow of the US National Institute of Health states that:

“…collaboration requires competence, confidence and commitment on the part of all parties. Respect and trust, both for oneself and others, is key to collaboration. As such, cooperative endeavour, willing participation, shared decision-making and time are required to build a relationship so that collaboration can occur” (Nancarrow et al. 2013)  

The key to improving our groupwork is to be continually put in time. Participation must be consistent so the group moves forward as a whole. Additionally, building a positive group-culture would encourage “willing participation” from more members and make teamwork a more enjoyable experience.

 

Interdisciplinary Advantage

The advantages of working in an Interdisciplinary team have become clear over the past 7 weeks. The IPD’s brought structural integrity and stability, our Fashion student brought tidiness and simplicity and the Vis Comm’s were in charge of effective visual media. Our backgrounds helped us better cater for our client’s needs. When there were tasks that no single discipline could complete, we were able to rely on each other’s skills. This view is shared by Robert Sternberg, a professor of psychology and education who wrote that:

“In today’s world, … problems of any significance … aggressively cross boundaries that render the perspectives and methods of single disciplines incomplete and inefficacious.

Students learn to think in terms of silos, but do not learn how to connect the silos of learning. A problem-based [Interdisciplinary] approach teaches such integration of knowledge and helps students realize how limited their thinking is.” (Sternberg 2016)

In our case, the integration of our knowledge “silos” allowed our group to design an effective caddy. We were able to overcome our personal disciplinary boundaries by utilising our collective skills and as a result produced a successful, award-winning result.

 

Designers for Systems

Design Thinking is quickly becoming an invaluable resource for corporations and big business. Businesses have realised the importance of a problem-solving approach that is iterative and user-centered. Because designers specialise in emotional intelligence and can empathise with their clients, they are able to identify behavioural patterns that point towards opportunities. The founder of Creativity At Work, Linda Naiman says:

“Human-centered innovation begins with developing an understanding of customers’ or users’ unmet or unarticulated needs. The most secure source of new ideas that have true competitive advantage, and hence, higher margins, is customers’ unarticulated needs.” (Naiman 2016)  

The success of designers does not come from tackling the biggest problem – but from understanding that the problem is the sum of many smaller ones. By working personally through small problems one person at a time, designers have the power to affect change across whole systems and work cultures. This is what designers can contribute to systems and business.

 

Designing for Organic Waste

The Organic Waste system is a difficult problem to address because it is constrained by the limitations of existing infrastructure and a diverse spectrum of cultural attitudes. Positive, lasting change requires implementing changes from end-to-end through primary research, prototyping, analysis and iteration at both the micro and macro scale. Designers will be essential in managing organic waste because it takes creativity and innovation to surpass the barriers of understanding, environmental values and tradition.

 

References:

Naiman, L. 2016, ‘Design Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation’, Creativity At Work, vol. 1, viewed 8 May 2017, < http://www.creativityatwork.com/design-thinking-strategy-for-innovation/ >.

Nancarrow, S., Booth, A., Ariss, S., Smith, T., Enderby, P., Roots, A. 2013, ‘Ten Principles of Good Interdisciplinary Team Work’, US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health, Vol. 1, viewed 7 May 2017, < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662612/ >.

Sternberg, R. 2016, ‘Interdisciplinary Problem-Based Learning: An Alternative to Traditional Majors and Minors’, Association of American Colleges & Universities, vol. 1, viewed 7 May 2017, < https://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/interdisciplinary-problem-based-learning-alternative-traditional >.

Author: timoloo

I'm a 2nd year Product Design student studying at UTS. I like making things, taking things apart, solving problems and finding the best way to go about everyday tasks. I enjoy hands-on work and the feeling of reaching a finished product.

One thought on “Blog Post B: Interdisciplinary Advantage”

  1. Hi Tim, I really enjoy how you explained the roles of each of the disciplines comes together nicely to make a great product together. I agree that some unexpected situation can weaken the process for the group and I’m sure that upon this point we all overcome the problem and created something we all proud of ! well done 🙂

    Like

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