In Education We All Want to Be Nice: Lessons Learned from a Multidisciplinary Design Studio

  • Katherine CennamoEmail author
Part of the Educational Communications and Technology: Issues and Innovations book series (ECTII)


The purpose of this investigation was to identify factors that might foster and sustain innovative design thinking through a qualitative examination of a multidisciplinary student team charged with the design of an immersive museum experience. Survey, focus group, and observational data were collected from students of industrial design, architecture, computer science, mechanical engineering, and education. Using the factors identified in the literature on group creativity as a guide to data analysis, the analyses revealed how multidisciplinary design projects can foster innovation. In addition, the data revealed differences in the cultures through which the various design disciplines are educated. Whether the goal is to develop an aesthetically pleasing product or to solve a challenging problem, the development of creative design solutions is an iterative process, involving idea refinement as well as idea generation. The results suggest ways to create a classroom culture that supports both the creativity needed to generate innovative ideas and the resilience that is needed to refine them.


Creativity Innovation Multidisciplinary Transdisciplinary Studio Studio-based learning Collaboration Design disciplines Design Design culture Qualitative research 



This work was supported by Grant No. ESI-0442469 from the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in this chapter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the entire research team. Other project team members were Margarita McGrath, Associate Professor of architecture in the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech, and Mitzi Vernon, Professor in the Industrial Design Program in the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech team members who contributed to the data collection and analysis include Leigh Lalley and Phyllis Newbill.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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