In February 2011, DMI held a series of NightOut events around the country and internationally. Philadelphia’s DMI Night out was hosted by product development firm Bresslergroup and University of Pennsylvania’s Integrated Product Design Program. It boasted a variety of speakers and attendees from various industries and generations. The theme for the evening was around collaboration across design and other disciplines.
Brand Strategist and author Alina Wheeler kicked off the series of 10 minute presentations talking about the importance of brand building throughout organizations (not just design departments) and in nontraditional organizations including cities and even countries. Alina also made reference to IBM’s 11th avenue, a think tank of competitors working together to improve the experience of customers, investors and employees.
Ellen Taylor, AIA, MBA, EDAC from SEGD talked about environmental graphic design and education programs. Through examples such as the Universal Symbols in Healthcare created by Hablamos Juntos and SEGD she showed how collaboration across disciplines can create cohesive and effective design solutions.
Michael York, PE, New Product Development Manager at Opex Corporation, talked about product development process improvement. He stressed how corporations need to take advantage of their strengths and utilize all competencies and departments within the company to successfully develop, manufacture and market new products.
Mathieu Turpault, Bresslergroup’s Director of Design analyzed the growth of new services within industrial design firms over the last 40 years. He explained how Bresslergroup’s evolved integrated product development process offers a seamless integration of user interface and industrial design. He described how seamless integration of best practices from each discipline can improve outcomes and boost brand impact.
Joshua L. Cohen an IP attorney at RatnerPrestia examined Coke and Honeywell’s historical product differentiation through good design and strong IP protection. He spoke to how IP counsel can add value via cross–disciplinary collaboration. He encouraged developers to think of outcomes early in the design process they will achieve differentiation.
Julie Lorch, an Integrated Product Development student at the University of Pennsylvania, explored issues around intergenerational collaboration. A Millennial, she shared with a room full of Boomers, Gen Xers and other Millennials how her generations' perspectives and tendencies could be beneficial and positive in the workplace.
True to the format for the evening, audience members held their questions until the final 10 minute presentation was completed. Moderator Sarah Rottenberg, Associate Director, Integrated Product Design, University of Pennsylvania, then spurred the group on for open discussion. Audience members including IDSA NE District VP Stephan Clambaneva discussed how in addition to the generational and cross disciplinary issues, there are cultural issues that encourage or inhibit collaboration. This lead to general agreement that organizations need to create environments that are conducive to collaboration. The group agreed to the need for help from experienced champions skilled in encouraging contributions from those not used to participating.
What are your thoughts on the cross discipline collaboration?