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: Fahnenmüller, Lennart; Wodehouse, Andrew
Series: E&PDE
Institution: University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom
Section: Preparing Students for Cross-dsciplinarity
Page(s): 480-486
ISBN: 978-1-904670-62-9


This paper focuses on the different approaches that multidisciplinary teams adopt when solving a
design problem. After a literature review on terms regarding work across more than one discipline, the
Disciplinarity Matrix merges the terminology present across literature into a single classification,
displaying which kind of multidisciplinary work can be expected depending on the project setup,
followed an application on an educational Global Design Project across four universities in which
students designed an artefact in a distributed, multidisciplinary team. Their approaches are discussed
and the design output is taken into account in order to classify and evaluate the teams’ success.
The key findings include that both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches can be
successful, but need sufficient resources, especially time, to unfold their potential. Recommendations
for multidisciplinary team work are not limited to the setup, but include requirements such as
openness, a common language and moderation skills, which provide avenues to successful work in
both educational and industrial multidisciplinary projects.

Keywords: Multidisciplinarity, Interdisciplinarity, Global Design.


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