Abstract

In an increasingly complex ‘problem’ landscape, interdisciplinary collaboration is becoming an important part of design practice. This paper presents research from an EU H2020 funded project which is trialling a new Design-Driven Material Innovation (DDMI) methodology. The collaborative process, involving designers, scientists and manufacturers, presents a number of language barriers. For the project to move forward, at the very least, designers need to understand the material’s potential and scientists need to understand what designers want the material to ‘be like’. The study focusses on one approach – appointing ‘materials liaison officers’ – to facilitate the interdisciplinary exchange of materials information. Drawing on interviews and workshop material the author discusses the benefits and limitations of using a ‘bilingual’ liaison to translate material understanding from one discipline to another. The findings highlight several aspects that affect interdisciplinary communication: familiarity with the material type being developed, the number of processes involved in production of the material, the approach of the designer, and the role of materials samples as boundary objects to anchor the dialogue.

Keywords:

design-driven material innovation; materials communication; interdisciplinary collaboration; facilitation

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 25th, 12:00 AM

Materials Liaisons: facilitating communication in Design-Driven Material Innovation (DDMI) projects

In an increasingly complex ‘problem’ landscape, interdisciplinary collaboration is becoming an important part of design practice. This paper presents research from an EU H2020 funded project which is trialling a new Design-Driven Material Innovation (DDMI) methodology. The collaborative process, involving designers, scientists and manufacturers, presents a number of language barriers. For the project to move forward, at the very least, designers need to understand the material’s potential and scientists need to understand what designers want the material to ‘be like’. The study focusses on one approach – appointing ‘materials liaison officers’ – to facilitate the interdisciplinary exchange of materials information. Drawing on interviews and workshop material the author discusses the benefits and limitations of using a ‘bilingual’ liaison to translate material understanding from one discipline to another. The findings highlight several aspects that affect interdisciplinary communication: familiarity with the material type being developed, the number of processes involved in production of the material, the approach of the designer, and the role of materials samples as boundary objects to anchor the dialogue.

 

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