University of Delaware visit offers unique look at 'design action'

April 29, 2013

I spent the early part of this week at the University of Delaware, where I was invited to visit the campus and speak on a panel on social innovation and design. My fellow panelists included Colleen Macklin, associate professor in the Department of Communication Design and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City and director of PETLab (Prototyping Evaluation, Teaching and Learning lab), and Cole Galloway, an associate professor at the University of Delaware.

Colleen reviewed some of her work on cutting-edge game design and theory including physical, digital and card-based games to promote experimentation and learning on social and global issues. Cole gave us some insight into amazing work he is doing on using low-technology tools combined with behavioral and learning theory to promote development in young children with disabilities.

I had the chance to present some of our thoughts at Design Concepts about innovation and design, including a framework for multidisciplinary design education and some perspectives on where great design comes from.

In addition to the panel, during my visit to Delaware I had a great opportunity to learn more about the Delaware Design Institute, a hub for design innovation and education on the University of Delaware campus that promotes cross disciplinary education and collaboration.

A joint effort between the schools of art, engineering, computer science, journalism and others, this initiative proposed collaborative 'design action.'

A joint effort between the schools of art, engineering, computer science, journalism and others, this initiative proposed collaborative “design action" — thinking, doing and making across disciplines and perspectives — as a way to tackling today’s most pressing challenges.

I had the opportunity to sit in on and present to classes on visual media design and engineering as well is seeing some of the unique collaboration that has resulted from the Delaware Design Institute.

It was a tremendously enjoyable and thought-provoking trip, and I was inspired and motivated by the fresh thinking and demonstration of the power and promise of design.