Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Collaborative Cross-disciplinary Design Education: Training the Future Leaders of the Innovative Organizational Culture

Angela Dow.

Teams of collaborative cross-disciplinary designers are quickly proving themselves be one of the primary agents of knowledge creation and innovation in the economy, not only helping to solve significant business communication and productivity problems, but leaving their mark on greater social and global issues as well. When integrated into a larger team which would include specialists in technology, business, human factors, and the sciences, designers can play a major role in prototyping groundbreaking knowledge and solutions. This paper will show that while there is still a place for specialized disciplines in design education, tomorrow’s most effective knowledge workers will need to be educated across multiple disciplines in a collaborative setting if they are to bring a true culture of innovation to organizations across the globe.
Using the firm IDEO as a model of successful collaborative design practice that has brought about significant progress in many organizations, in addition to documented and personal experiences with cross-disciplinary curriculum and project inclusion, the process of this type of solutionist methodology will be analyzed to help draw conclusions as to how design education can evolve to serve the changing needs of the knowledge economy.


Angela Dow  (United States)
Professor and Program Chairperson
Visual Communication Program
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University

Full-time professor of Visual Communication at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University since January, 2000. Served as chair of the program for the past three years. Earned a BA in Advertising from Michigan State University in 1991 and currently in final term at Ferris State University where I am earning an M.Ed. with a concentration in collaborative cross-disciplinary education. Professional experience also includes work in advertising and graphic design for a national direct mail company and for a small communications firm, as well as serving as president and creative director of my own firm for three years.

  • Collaborative
  • Cross-disciplinary
  • Design
  • Education
  • Teams
  • Culture of Innovation
  • Knowledge Workers
  • Multiple Disciplines
  • Curriculum
  • Knowledge Economy
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Solutions
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Prototyping
  • Progress

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)