This is part 1 of of a 3 parts series of articles that contain the following content:
1. Who am I to advise anyone?
2. Right and Left Side of the Brain
3. Your Impact in the Professional World
4. Seat Design Case Study
5. The Quest to Integrate Disciplines
6. The Product Life Cycle
7. Shifting your Mindset
8. Are their Limits in Design?
9. Short and Long Term Goals for Innovative Approach
1. Who am I to advise anyone?
To be honest…it is a fair question and if I were reading any article about some guy that had illusions of grandeur, I would be asking the same question if not give him a few “choice” words or gestures. However, just humor me. I think that being passionate about a particular subject is essential to success. In addition to your passion, any pursuit to master a particular field requires drive, determination, and discipline. With a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design and Interdisciplinary Engineering (Mechanical Engineering focus) and over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, hopefully there is enough wisdom within this article to merit your use of time and provide you with some educational information. If the penny doesn’t drop at the end of this article, then I will happily accept your hand “gestures.”
2. Right and Left Side of the Brain thinking:
Let’s start with some basic knowledge with how the brain works. For a quick refresher, all of us must use the right and left hemispheres of our brains to function. The left hemisphere of our brain allows us to rationalize and analyze problems or think in a logical way. You will often use the left side when solving a math problem or having to write a paper where reasoning and logic may be needed in order to get your point across to your reader.
In contrast, the right side of your brain is very much in tune with emotional factors and deals with a holistic approach to problems or in other words “the big picture.” If you appreciate beauty, aesthetics, music, and are generally creative, you are generally considered right side brain dominant.
Everyone uses both sides of their brain in order to dissect information and make logical sense of it. Part of visual stimulation also helps to assist analytical thinking….after all pictures speak louder than words. We’ll delve into this a little more near the end of the article.
3. Tunnel Vision development in the Professional Environment:
The corporate world is a big place…and often times it is tough to figure out where we fit in especially if you work for a large company. I am going to try not to get too philosophical but I’d like to make a point about the mental struggles we have when we embark on the journey to land our first job after graduating from college.
Not everyone knows what they want to do in college. Some of you may have discovered your talents and interests early in life and therefore know what you want. By and large we understand that higher education is indeed important in order to either discover your interests or develop your strengths in an area you are either good at or feel passionate about learning.
For the sake of simplicity and the subject matter of this article, we are going to discuss experiences in engineering and design school and the mindset that develops when you start working.
When attending engineering and design school (or any subject for that matter), you are introduced to courses that teach you the basics and fundamentals before getting into more complex courses. These courses obviously require you to master your prerequisites before advancing to the next semester (at least that is the hope but not always the result).
For four years, you are asked to take several classes mixing a broad range of math, sciences, and electives. In a good design school, you will go through a vigorous program that essentially trains you to not only become a human drawing machine but also a creative problem solver.
These courses are crucial for you to become a master in this particular field though true mastery is not realized until you apply your skill sets to the working environment.
I know from an engineering standpoint, that you won’t discover the true beauty of engineering until you apply the principles of engineering to your job and create solutions to real problems. The same goes with design. As you learn to create and imagine the fantastic in school, you’ll discover the harshness and reality of the real world when manufacturing is involved. Designers often discover that certain emotive shapes are not producible due to manufacturing, engineering, or cost constraints.
It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to master your discipline and to grow your expertise continuously throughout the years.
However, during this time frame one starts to develop Kalnienk Vision (tunnel vision) within your area of expertise. You become blind to the advantages and merits of other disciplines and to some degree; you see “other” disciplines as a deterrent to getting your job done. Therefore, if you are an engineer, you are unable to understand why it takes design so long to finalize a concept, and if you are a designer, you struggle with engineering’s obtuse attitude toward creative solutions.
As a result, the greatness and synergistic explosion that could occur with removing this conflict between disciplines is yet to be realized.
It seems this would be a problem with no solution in sight. How is it possible to take two different disciplines and integrate them to work in harmony?
Continued in part 2
About the author: Arvind Ramkrishna is the creator of the inspirational Automotive Art and Design blog Driven Mavens
Disclaimer: All contents and ideas within this article are under copyright protection by Driven Mavens L.L.C. and their respected owners. Product Design Hub has been given exclusive rights to publish this article for the purpose of design education. Any use of this material outside of Product Design Hub must seek permission from Driven Mavens L.L.C. and or their respected owners