Shared memory in design complexity


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Series/Report no

DS 78: Proceedings of the E&PDE 2014 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design;16


The Design Society

Document type


This paper discusses the idea of how collaborative learning might help designers with the rapid learning required in the increasingly complex environments they work in. It has been proposed that innovation that drive technological advancement happens through evolutionary variation of the existing knowledge. The relevance of such an approach is that rapid learning is essential for a designer in a technological environment that is increasingly complex. The goal of the systemic design approach that addresses rapid learning is to facilitate mapping of a problem context that can include findings outside the designer’s field of competence. A rapid learning process emphasizes self-directed learning. There is a need for more knowledge on how designers could learn from their collaborators to gain project relevant tacit knowledge. The method chosen to address this was case study of a student project. The case study showed how a group of students was collaborating with an external partner, a bank savings foundation, learning rapidly through mind mapping system program. The conclusion of the study was that memes in a creative design process are connected to learning outcomes related to communication and empathy. The identified cognitive qualities of empathy relevant for the design process were multi-functionality, symbolism and brand recognition. The emotional qualities of empathy that were identified were corporate values that might contribute to corporate social responsibility and social interaction. The compassionate qualities of empathy were mutual benefit and positive consequences in society.


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