Tinkering - A vehicle for Teaching Innovation in the University Industrial Design Studio
Andy Loewy, IDSA
Associate Professor, Industrial Design
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
One of the experiences that we hear students enthusiastically talk about as budding designers is the “happy accident.” They might talk of the discovery of some material property that they hadn't noticed before and that it was when they were intending to resolve another problem that they noticed something about a particular material they hadn't noticed before. Often where there occurs intentional, experimental manipulation of materials for some anticipated outcome, there results new unanticipated discovery. This intentional, experimental manipulation of materials is referred to as “tinkering.” Historically product design development has been laced with meagerly financed, innovators that stumbled into new ideas in garage or workshop environments. With the dropping of rapid CNC prototyping equipment costs and high-end computer accessibility it can be predicted that "tinkering" will become prevalent as a future design tool for our present students. This paper describes various tools, activities and assignments used to promote tinkering and innovation in the university industrial design studio.