Hidden in Plain Sight: Affordances of Shared Models in Team Based Design

DS 58-2: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 2, Design Theory and Research Methodology, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Edelman, Jonathan Antonio; Leifer, Larry; Banerjee, Banny; Sonalkar, Neeraj; Jung, Malte; Lande, Micah
Series: ICED
Section: Design Theory and Research Methodology
Page(s): 395-406


Current scholarship in cognitive science and Science Technology Studies, has reconsidered the role media plays in knowledge gathering and acquisition. While the use of low-resolution physical prototypes has been very successful in innovative practices in engineering design, to the authors best knowledge, there is no documented systematic study of this practice within the domain of engineering design. Design thinking and communication occur in the presence of representation. It is through representation that group members can literally see what they say, and reflect on what they see. The quality of team engagement is predicated on the quality of the model. A representation or model can be in the form of a narrative, a sketch, a rough physical prototype, an enactment, a conceptual framework, a photograph, a CAD drawing, or an equation, to name but a few. We propose that the media design engineers enlist are cognitive tools which extend and modify our ability to perceive, think and communicate. Furthermore, we propose that the characteristics of the series of media used during the course of a design project are a significant factor in successful project outcome.

Keywords: Engineering design, re-representation, media-cascade, media-model


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