Communication in Collaboration

Engineering News Record recently shared a great article promoting importance of teaching and encouraging collaboration in the education of architects, contractors and engineers. Full article here.

We couldn’t agree more with the points made, namely “The bottom line is simple: Students who enter the workforce having been exposed to broader and more collaborative curricula will be far better equipped to handle the myriad challenges they will face, regardless of their chosen discipline. We ask that our partners in engineering and landscape architecture join us in making a similar call to the academic community. ”

Designing Strategy wishes to underscore that lessons in empathy, trust and collaboration can already be found within rhetorics and communications programs on college campuses. Some universities are even actively engaged in Writing and Communications Across Curriculums initiatives, such as this one at UNCG.

Science and business have long been aware of the importance of rhetorics and communication. These disciplines have influenced writing and general education curricula to reflect writing course offerings that are specifically catered to their industries. It should come as no surprise that such programs often have less trouble winning funding for research.

One of our favorite mentors, Steven B. Katz, co-author of Writing in the Sciences: Exploring Conventions of Scientific Discourse, has been influential in helping scientists better leverage their gifts and proliferate findings via academic and non-academic journals. Wouldn’t it be nice if future architects, contractors and engineers had the option to take a design writing and communications course?!

Rhetorical Invention, Design Processes and IDEO

It may surprise you that rhetoric is a richly creative discipline! A large part of rhetoric surrounds methods of invention. The common topics of rhetorical invention act as templates or formulas used originally when crafting arguments for a debate or speech. In sum, they help traverse that sometimes difficult inceptive moment of “getting started” with design, writing and creativity in general. The first section of our forthcoming Routledge publication, Communicating Design, is devoted completely to distilling ways rhetorical invention techniques might benefit designers.

Along these lines, we recently came across an exciting and generous Design Kit that IDEO via Ideo.org generously provides here for free! The site is broken down into three useful categories that will help you confidently and creatively break through the inceptive inventive moment in your projects. The Case Study and Methods section demonstrates how and where the inspiring global firm IDEO have successfully executed creative human-centered wins. And, their Mindsets offer stories from within the firm that offer a window into their philosophy. They suggest that “how you think about design directly affects whether you’ll arrive at innovative, impactful solutions.”

We love that!

One of the Mindsets highlighted, for example, comes from founder of IDEO David Kelly, who provides insight into creative confidence!

Explore the Design Kit for yourself:

http://www.designkit.org/mindsets