Collaboration + Sustainability | U.S.A. + China
Leslie Speer, IDSA | San Jose State University, and JiPing Chang | Fudan University, Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts
"In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to
collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." – Charles Darwin
Setting the Scene
Starting in 2005, when Business Week did an exposé on China and India, expounding on the massive change and progress these countries had made in a short decade, the US design industry has been in a panic (Engardio 2005). Compounded with stories of the exponential numbers of design schools started each year in China, and by design a large number of design graduates, greater Asia became the “threat” upon which the design industry could focus. However, sometimes it is best to face one’s “enemy” [so to speak] – or – is it truly an enemy?
To test this theory two Industrial Design programs, one at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts (SIVA) at Fudan University in Shanghai and the other at the School of Art & Design at San Jose State University (SJSU) in San Jose, California, embarked on a long-term project to educate their respective students about global collaboration in Industrial Design. Both faculty members have about a half-century (combined) of experience working in collaborative environments in the professional and academic world. Additionally, one of the faculty was key in co-developing and co-teaching a multi-disciplinary, collaborative design, engineering, and business course in product development that ran successfully at UC Berkeley for over a decade and is still running today. This paper will present an overview of what makes collaboration successful, how these rules were applied in the SJSU/SIVA collaboration, what worked, what didn’t work, and where the future of this collaboration might go. Needless to say, and not to be taken lightly, collaboration is not easy.