Industrial design students’ experiences of interdisciplinary teamwork

Demir, Özümcan
Collaboration with the people from different disciplines has become an essential part of the contemporary industrial design practice. Along with the current trend of interdisciplinary teamwork in professional life, recently new interdisciplinary programs have emerged in university education. Despite the increased importance of interdisciplinarity for industrial design discipline, little is known about the perspectives of industrial design students on interdisciplinary teamwork. This thesis examines this gap by exploring the Interdisciplinary Design Studio (IDS), organized by the METU Design Factory, with the aim of understanding the industrial design students’ perspectives on working with different disciplines. The fieldwork of the thesis consists of two sets of interviews conducted with the industrial design students, pre-studio interviews and after studio interviews, and participant observation that was done during the IDS. Based on the fieldwork findings, this thesis offers four main conclusions. First, the industrial design students are aware of the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork for the industrial design practice and they are open for interdisciplinary collaborations. Second, experiencing an interdisciplinary collaboration during undergraduate education prepares the industrial design students for the professional life. Third, while collaborating in an interdisciplinary team, industrial design students feel responsible for explaining and introducing the industrial design profession to others. In doing so, they also think reflexively about their own profession and their self-confidence as future industrial designers is boosted. Lastly, the experience of interdisciplinary collaboration changes the industrial design students’ perspectives on working with other disciplines towards integrationist interdisciplinarity.  
Citation Formats
Ö. Demir, “Industrial design students’ experiences of interdisciplinary teamwork,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2016.