BRADLAB 2017 – 18

Stewart Bibby

The project encourages self-initiated learning, critical evaluation and analysis within the stages of the design process. Focus is directed at the ability to formulate judgements and reasoned argument, through primary and secondary research methods, to support the proposal of developing creative design solutions for identified or potential target markets. The aims of the project further develop the ability to research, generate and communicate new product ideas in a professional and societal context. Liaison with commerce, technology collaboration partners and the design industry critically encourages and engages the implementation of effective design thinking, where strategies for target markets, societal attitudes, production, materials, feasibility and product branding are all examined in conjunction with specialist visiting lecturer Jason Bradbury in an advisory context.
The Project requires critical engagement based on emergent technology themes and principles from the programme’s industry contact, Visiting Lecturer Jason Bradbury, to develop an insight into technological and materials advances and then to produce ideas and concepts, which demonstrate innovation and ingenuity in approaches, when considering associated real world and societal design-led issues and scenarios. The programme team will provide a project brief outline and summarise requirements for themes to initiate concept development, which will be considered for design and ideation directions, possible prototyping and ultimately manufacture specification during the first collective meetings in the first weeks of study. Students in Product Design work alongside programme staff and Visiting PL Jason Bradbury to explore new ways of developing new product designs for identified and emerging markets by engaging with new ways that traditional and new technologies can be developed and applied in emerging societal scenarios, which highlight and address everyday issues experienced by everyday people. Students then recruit (via a presentation pitch) collaborative undergraduate programme partners (Computer Science) to produce working prototypes and models, which can be targeted to investors and possible ‘kickstarter’ projects as graduates. Completed designs and prototypes are then exhibited at industry events. Students must therefore nurture an evaluation and understanding of consumer users and specific targeted markets, with the potential for unique proposals for new product development. This must be identified by fully exploring and engaging with consumer lifestyle activities in order to recognise, contextualise and comprehend issues which arise and enable the establishment of the impact of societal scenarios for the development of new products, which can be understood and addressed through the potential of emerging and established technologies. A number of specialist contact points will be established throughout the progress of the project and strict guidelines will be adhered to in order that final proposals, presentations, prototyping, production and manufacture are fully tested, appreciated and considered. Stage 1 requires a comprehensive understanding of appropriate new and established technologies alongside an in-depth body of research into societal issues and scenarios underpinning a responsive and applied development of product concepts. It is important to understand and communicate the user and interactive elements of issues where technological advances can provide assistance and solutions, in order to provide a full and appropriate product response. These must be fully analysed, recorded, illustrated and communicated. This collated intelligence will drive conceptual proposals, which respond to potential end users and offer breadth and quality to new and existing product offerings and the capability to interest potential investors and consumers through distinct online platforms and mobile communication networks, when launching new products. In order to fully enable the production of relevant functional prototypes, the programme engages the specialisms of design and creative thinking (Product Design) and technological comprehension and production through coding and interactive computing developments (Computer Science) and introduces and manages regular specialist collaboration partner meetings, which support and enhance this process culminating in a concept proposal full design presentation at the end of Term One. Stage 2 requires a mature response to research developments and client reaction to demonstrate an understanding of product and user applications, alongside any dedicated marketing and branding requirements then introduce and develop proposals for production and manufacture and creative extension of the product ranges. Following conclusion and assessment of design proposal stages, students will be expected
“The project will engage with targeted user participants through the use of surveys, interviews and critical action observations, in order to establish insights into social scenarios as a starting point for concept and new product development.
The project will also conduct primary and secondary research into established and emerging technologies, through visual research databases, visiting lecturer and staff expertise and technology and product testing of recognised and new technologies.
New materials will undergo product testing and experimentation, making use of cross-disciplinary specialisms from across the University where necessary and applicable.
In addition to this, industrial contacts and specialist providers will be utilised, from introductions made by specialist visiting lecturer, this will enable technology prototyping and enhance the role of student as producer in establishing independent production methodologies and pathways to initiate entrepreneurial graduate potential.
Prototyped concepts will be product tested with participant end users, where functional proposals can be fully considered, analysed and confirmed.

March 2018 Progress Summary

October 2017 – Project introduced
The Product Design / Computer Science project has been introduced independently to Product Design students from October 2017 and has provided the basis opportunity for individual students to research and identify existing and new technologies, which can be introduced in principal to identified social scenarios for new product development as specialisms within the Product Design subject area.

November 2017 – technology and social scenario research activities confirmed

Design directions and developments of research activities for each project brief component have been agreed and confirmed with Product Design teaching team

January 2018 – Technology Concept proposals confirmed and cross-discipline teams decided and confirmed

Product Design students have been introduced to Computer Science students and staff through a pitch presentation of concept proposals and proposed technologies for development of new products. Pitch consisted of each of 27 design students providing a short presentation to a room of primed science students, having received product images prior to the presentation. An informal Q&A session followed this where students were able to rotate around the presentation space to get to know each other and discover levels of project details.

Prior to this stage, Computer Science students have been offered a “Group Project” elective, resulting in 65 students from approximately 200 selecting the Product Design option, forming the largest individual grouping of 5 optional pathways.

This has led to the forming of working groups of 6 students, made up of Product Design individuals and remainder Computer Science.
At this point a questionnaire has been distributed to establish student perception of expectations prior to the introductions to form initial data point.

February – May 2018 – tutorial, studio and workshop activities conducted
Individual and group tutorials are taking place and records of progress to judge progress of products as they develop and working partnerships as they develop. Further questionnaires are to be added to gauge reactions and perceptions of partnerships to form comparative basis with initial thoughts.