Research Prototyping, University-Industry Collaboration and the value of Annotated Portfolios

Cumulus the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
To Get There: Designing Together, 2018, pp. 1198 - 1213
Issue Date:
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The purpose of this paper is to describe how a team of academic- design practitioners working on a university-industry collaboration (UIC) project, used the method of research prototyping documented in an annotated portfolio, as a way to meet the dual need of contrib- uting to the academic discussion and, problem solving through de- sign practice. The annotated portfolio enables knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing, integration of new knowledge through re- search prototypes and a way of retaining knowledge for possible application in the current or future projects. During the process of conducting the UIC project, a team of three academic design practi- tioners working in product design research recorded images of pro- totypes constructed and catalogued those images to be systemati- cally transferred to the annotated portfolio document. The entire body of work was catalogued for analysis (both during and after key project stages) to integrate knowledge generated through research prototypes. This paper will focus on the role of research prototypes constructed as part of the project, the classification of those proto- types recorded in photographs and the function of their arrangement in an annotated portfolio. Academic design practitioners working in collaboration with industry partners do not specialise in particular fields of application, such as furniture designers, medical product designers or in-house product designers. Instead academic design practitioners perform in a similar manner to the consultant designer who is required to quickly master diverse sectors on a continuing basis. The academic team is further distinguished by their focus on research in emergent fields that defy classical categorisation. Due to this, the methodologies through which they build new knowledge in areas of expertise that they’re not practiced in, collect this knowl- edge and portfolio this knowledge is a unique commodity. In the field of design research for UIC projects, more needs to be understood about recording knowledge integration and the role of research prototypes. This research is important because it provides an un- derstanding of how academics may record and contribute new knowledge through UIC projects, where prototype construction is the central research device. Further we propose a method for docu- menting UIC projects that could be used to help develop the exper- tise of the academic partner.
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