DS 83: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE16), Design Education: Collaboration and Cross-Disciplinarity, Aalborg, Denmark, 8th-9th September 2016

Year: 2016
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Christian Tollestrup, Kaare Eriksen, Nis Ovesen
Author: Page, Finlay; Sweeney, Sylvester; Bruce, Fraser; Baxter, Seaton
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1MSc by Research, Product Design, University of Dundee, 2Product Design, University of Dundee, 3Ecological Design Thinking, Schumacher College
Section: New Design Paradigms
Page(s): 246-251
ISBN: 978-1-904670-62-9


This paper reports on a “Hackathon” attended by 195 participants at an event in the University of
Dundee in September 2015. In collaboration with a leading retailer of greeting cards and products in
the UK, the goal of the hackathon was to reconceptualise new digital products from the firm’s existing
product range and markets. Over the course of five days, students from two undergraduate courses,
product design and digital interaction design, participated in the event. The students were divided into
large interdisciplinary/inter-year groups and provided with basic tools and electronic kits. “Fly on the
wall” and “Immersive” techniques were used in the observation of the groups and in the development
of their initial ideas and concepts during the hackathon. Samples of students were later interviewed
and additional qualitative data gathered using a ‘Graffiti wall’ technique. The paper explores issues
that were encountered during the event and also provides some useful insights on the role of
icebreakers, leadership and team roles, distractions and workplace environments. The paper concludes
with a series of recommendations for the future use of “Hackathons” in design education, paying
particular attention to the role of team motivation at all stages during the event.

Keywords: Hackathon, Design, Product, Education, Icebreakers, Distractions, Motivations.


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