ReDesign.School Roundtable: Industrial Design / Hosted at The Design School at ASU / 06.25.18

On May 24th 2018, we convened a ReDesign.School roundtable discussion focused on industrial design. We gathered on campus at The Design School with various practitioners and faculty in the ID program. The following is an overview of the robust conversation that took place. Thank you to all who participated!


Dean Bacalzo – The Design School at ASU
Assistant Professor – Industrial Design

Robert (Bobby) Bermudez – YAT USA
Director of New Product Development and Innovation

Tamara Christensen – Idea Farm

Magnus Feil – The Design School at ASU
Assistant Professor – Industrial Design

Jacques Giard – The Design School at ASU
Assistant Director for Faculty Affairs, Professor – Industrial Design

David Higdon – PING
Senior Industrial Designer

Emma Matey – Origami Owl
Sr. Manager of Design and Product Development

Brian McGuire – PING
Senior Industrial Designer- Soft Goods

Jason Minyard – Honeywell Aerospace
UX Design Lead

Pattie Moore – Moore Design Associates

Casey Moore – boon
Lead Product Designer

Dosun Shin – The Design School at ASU
Industrial Design Program Head, Associate Professor

John Takamura – The Design School at ASU
Assistant Director for Research, Associate Professor – Industrial Design

Randall Toltzman – Juggernaut Design

After introductions, a warm-up exercise kicked off the evening, with participants writing down their answers to the question, “Where is design going?” 

Where is design going?

Post-it note exercise – Full Group

Pattie Moore

  • Government/governance- There’s great concern in world that government has gone off the rails- narcissism, dictatorship. Having designers and creatives can be a big part of the solution
  • NGO’s- work for non-profits, UN
  • Human rights- lack of equity- we should be looking at the dignity of design

John Takamura

  • Human-centered
  • Social innovation- impact on society
  • Experiential- on multiple levels

Casey Moore

  • Less on traditional skill; more on critical thinking. Designers have unique skillsets not just drawing or “design”
  • Cross-pollinating- sales, marketing, strategy- pulling everything together

Brian McGuire

  • 3D manufacturing- empowering local manufacturing
  • Highly specific- fragmenting of the general population
  • Technology- new tools to create products

Jacques Giard

  • Concept of a citizen designer
  • Inclusive (not elitist)
  • Less prescriptive

Tamara Christensen

  • Technology- design navigating relationship with tech
  • Human-centered design
  • New foundations of civilization

Bobby Bermudez

  • Design going to emerging disciplines- At some point the buildings architects are designing will need to connect with our interfaces that industrial designers are designing- opportunity for transdisciplinary collaboration
  • Software/digital
  • Consumer workload/experiential- Younger generations are losing need to “own things”. Impacts on products

Dosun Shin

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Collaboration
  • Transdisciplinary

David Higdon

  • Being mindful of pitfalls of technology
  • Everything going to screens- less about creating a beautiful product and more about a unique experience
  • Meaningful solutions

Magnus Feil

  • Complexity as a challenge
  • More transdisciplinary discourses
  • Hyper-disciplinary skillsets
  • More listening/observation; storytelling

Jason Minyard

  • Merge/fusion of product management and product ownership. Design+Business
  • Measuring impact; justifying design with numbers. ROI tied to designs
  • Data-backed proposals- user research, other data

Randall Toltzman

  • Specialization
  • Further reach- applying design to other areas
  • Pushing the current boundaries of products, technology, materials, processes, etc.

Emma Matey posts here thoughts on where design is going.

Emma Matey

  • Kids + Elderly- understanding lifestages and products
  • Kids- screen time
  • Elderly- empowering users
  • Material technology

Dean Bacalzo

  • Tech
  • Sustainability; eco-design; global impact

Overall impressions from the sticky note exercise:

  • Dean Bacalzo: “Looking at these there are so many big issues, looking at the traditional job that industrial designers do, the question arises of who does the product design if we all become critical thinkers?”
  • Tamara Christensen: “Some of these may be tied to ‘design’ in general, others might be more tied to traditional industrial design.”
  • Bobby Bermudez: “Design-thinking has completely changed the role of industrial designers.

Attendees were then led into smaller group conversations to discuss the next three questions.

What are the skillsets of the future we should be teaching now?

Small Group Discussion


Jason Minyard, Casey Moore, Dosun Shin and Randall Toltzmann

  • Communication skills- selling your idea; storytelling
  • Design visualization- sketching and modeling
  • Design process and thinking
  • Maintain craft
  • Design thinking and reasoning- allow one to understand “WHY” something is design that way
  • Producing with speed- rapid communication through making
  • Separating emotion; your personal preferences should be unbiased
  • Global communication
  • Interdisciplinary understanding

Dean Bacalzo, Bobby Bermudez, Jacques Giard, David Higdon and Emma Matey

  • Soft skills:
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Marketing
  • Teamwork
  • Three-point collaboration
  • InnovationSpace experience
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Hard/technical skills:
  • UI/UX
  • Photoshop
  • CAD modeling
  • Illustrator
  • SolidWorks

Tamara Christensen, Magnus Feil, Brian McGuire, Pattie Moore and John Takamura

  • The design “lingo”
  • Distinct fundamentals of designing- hard and soft skills
  • Business fundamentals:
  • For persuasion
  • Build a business case for a design idea/concept
  • ROI, business modeling
  • Profit and loss
  • Communication skills:
  • Cross-cultural
  • Written
  • Visual
  • Verbal/oral
  • Presenting
  • Storytelling
  • Persuasion
  • Interpersonal skills:
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Comportment
  • Observation; live, contextual
  • Problem/Opportunity- finding, framing, solving
  • First, mold good humans/people, then create great designers

How can design education be more relevant?

Small Group Discussion


Magnus Feil, Brian McGuire and Pattie Moore

  • Give students the options to select different tracks to study, especially more socially connected. Build a “Peace Corps” of designers in local community
  • Design projects as inspirational; “passion course”
  • Multi-level skills courses vs. inclusive to raise overall skills
  • Doing ourselves a disservice if we have students who have the design mind, but not necessarily the design skills. How can we empower these design minds to succeed in other disciplines- business, healthcare, government, etc. “Rescue the weak students.”- Pattie Moore

Bobby Bermudez, Tamara Christensen and John Takamura

Design should be relevant to:

  • Students:
  • Diversity of faculty
  • Tech-enabled
  • Pathways to jobs
  • Pathways to alternative jobs within design, not just the traditional industrial designer
  • Great faculty and teachers who can really teach the basics/essentials and can INSPIRE
  • Teach them to collaborate
  • Industry:
  • Develop consumer products in school; learn how to manufacture, pitch the business case, etc.
  • Simulate real world product development
  • Entrepreneurship exercises
  • Exposure to diverse phases/specialties
  • Society and the community:
  • Exposure to wicked problems
  • Teaching compassionate collaboration
  • Local focus
  • Mentorship with community i.e. bringing design to diverse contexts
  • Planet:
  • Sustainability focus
  • Code of conduct/professional principles
  • Economy
  • Exposure to alternative models
  • Understanding how to contribute
  • Economies of scale
  • Everyone
  • A clear point of view and vision

Dean Bacalzo, Jacques Giard, Jason Minyard and Randall Toltzman

  • Help students understand relationship between design and business
  • Design thinking as a stimulus
  • Teamwork, not competition
  • Design as a connector
  • Vision for better futures; visionaries
  • Working outside the discipline
  • Specializations within the industrial design program

David Higdon, Emma Matey, Casey Moore and Dosun Shin

  • Structuring design education in a way that better reflects how design works in the professional world.
  • We need to do a better job at teaching people what industrial design is; High school outreach, building the pipeline early
  • More internship-based education- better integration with professional world throughout the education process

Design your ideal transdisciplinary studio/class/learning exercise. What would that look like?

Small Group Discussion


Casey Moore, Pattie Moore, Brian McGuire, David Higdon

  • “It’s All About Brand”
  • Teaching self sufficiency- bring back shop, home economics
  • Creating designed-professions e.g. design the best doctor, politician
  • How to be a good human- not always an app for that

Magnus Feil, Emma Matey, Dosun Shin

  • “Design as a Family”– once you’re part of the family, you can always come back and refresh skills OR come back and teach at ASU
  • “Design for the Family”– finding ways to engage family members in the students’ design problem and process

John Takamura, Jacques Giard, Jason Minyard

  • “Complexity Studio”
  • Solve wicked problems
  • Exposure and direct contact to other schools- Health, Engineering, Psychology, etc.
  • Follow the service design process phases to learn all design needs along the way
  • Use methods and models to provide tools to students for them to use the rest of their careers
  • Provide real-world experiences, hands on activities; “Designers Without Borders”

Bobby Bermudez, Tamara Christensen, Randy Toltzman, Dean Bacalzo

  • “SparkTank”
  • “Shark Tank” style; judges who can award actual winners
  • Interdisciplinary; open to all colleges within the university
  • Go through the process of finding/framing/solving a problem
  • Business planning/pitching; PR
  • Teamwork
  • Relevant to industry
  • Studio-style; team internship working with a specific company

How do we promote and further equity and inclusion in our school and beyond?

Full Group Discussion


Pattie Moore:

  • “We should recruit young people. Beyond high school, go into grade school and get young kids empowered to change the world by design.”
  • “Marketing is doing a much better job than the design world.”
  • “The Design School itself should use the “maker” movement to its advantage. Inviting the community to come in and learn how to make things. Make this the hub for people to learn.”
  • “Oftentimes ID’s are such generalists, but specialization could be better for the clients. We are not licensed. Sometimes this hinders the profession. Could ASU figure out a way to do certifications?”

Randy Toltzman:

  • “The online platform provides so many opportunities to get online modules to different groups of students of all ages and abilities.”

Casey Moore:

  • “We shouldn’t be teaching the students to design the same thing in the same way. If we are really empowering diverse populations, we should be seeing diversity in backgrounds, types and styles of projects.”
  • “Can there be more cross-pollination? Taking my design general classes, but if I’m interested in education design, can I take classes in the College of Education.”

Tamara Christensen:

  • “One way is through the types of projects we are doing/teaching.”
  • “If we are trying to be inclusive, you have to go out and engage people who often aren’t included.”
  • “Learn one. Do one. Teach one.” As part of every student’s degree program, students should have to go out in the community and teach a module to elementary students.”

Final thoughts:

  • Casey Moore: “As a firm, we want to be connected to students and vice versa.”
  • Jason Minyard: “Especially when it comes to the question of relevance, it’s so important that you are asking it in the first place. Even better would be to ask it regularly.”

ReDesign.School Roundtable: Industrial Design

Hosted at The Design School at ASU

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *