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: Anderson, Erik
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Section: Preparing Students for Cross-dsciplinarity
Page(s): 499-504
ISBN: 978-1-904670-62-9


Many companies strive to establish a culture of collaboration across disciplines, with the expectation
that the result will be something of value such as process efficiencies, product or service
improvements, or innovation. In the area of innovation having collaborative teams of smart and
talented people doesn’t necessarily enhance the chances of identifying a breakthrough that leads to a
new market opportunity. Many factors can contribute to low innovation success rates with
collaborative teams, including: composition of disciplines on a team; cross-disciplinary knowledge
across the team; and organizational culture – all play a role in how significant the challenge is in
working together towards successful outcomes.
The Master of Integrated Innovation for Products and Services program (MII-PS) at Carnegie Mellon
University, USA, is known as a pioneer in interdisciplinary innovation focused education. Over the
course of 14 years the program has evolved its philosophy and teachings around integrated innovation,
defined as cross-training interdisciplinary teams, typically of engineering, design, and business
students, in innovation thinking and methodology. This approach responds to the new thinking and
practicing needs of industry, at the “fuzzy front end” of New Product Development, in addressing
complex and difficult problems. The program leverages its unique partnership between three colleges;
engineering, fine arts (design), and business to bridge the knowledge and cultural gaps in innovation
education, and produce elite innovators defined as hybrid thinkers and doers. This paper highlights the
philosophical distinction of the integrated innovation educational model and its goal to produce
graduates better prepared to create impact.

Keywords: Integrated Innovation, Collaboration, Integration, Cross-Training, Hybrid Thinkers.


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