Collaborative Design for Innovation

Robert Thomas (MSB) · Round 3

This project explores collaborative design outcomes with supportive technology. The project, led by Primary Investigator Robert Thomas, included a six­week MBA pilot course that involved the application of two relatively new technologies: one is associated with creating outcomes (MakerBot, a 3­D printer that produces physical design prototype) evaluated by a panel of experts, and the other is experimental software that supports collaboration (Expansive, an iPad­based tool to stimulate immediate group generation and sharing of ideas and concepts visually).

This ITEL project has five major objectives. First, the project aimed to help students develop a deep understanding of collaboration and collaborative design as an emerging and important topic for society. This objective was accomplished through the design of the course. The course project, lectures, readings, and various exercises were designed to develop collaboration. Second, the project sought to engage students in the process of learning more about themselves as potential collaborators in a variety of innovation projects in which they may participate during their careers. In addition to exercises within the course, the innovation project involved working with a non­profit (Share Our Strength) to develop the first new product for their No Kid Hungry program. The third project objective was to implement and evaluate the feasibility of using an in­class interactive whiteboard tool to enhance collaborative learning on a real time basis in the class and assessing the potential for using such a tool across a variety of university classes. This software was launched in January 2015. The fourth objective for this project was to implement and evaluate the feasibility of a prototyping methodology as part of an educational curriculum for selected courses of study. Finally, this project focused on the development of exploratory hypotheses to guide future research relating aspects of collaboration to innovation outcomes. This project was piloted in Spring 2015, and assessment is ongoing.