Identifying factors influencing industrial design and engineering design interaction: A study of opinions in a product development setting
Paper i proceeding, 2002

In the product development process, solving a product problem constituting industrial designing and engineering designing is conditioned by the two disciplines. However, the interdisciplinary collaboration is suffering. This paper presents the results from observing participation in an ongoing project and interviews regarding the opinions on the product development work at a large industrial company. The study revealed factors influencing the interaction between the engineering designers and industrial designers, such as isolation of industrial designers due to being a minority; diverse understanding in industrial designers’ task; differences in functions, time plans, reward systems; prestige issues; haphazardly accomplished project meetings; differences in language, skill, education, problem approach, internal collaboration, product interpretation; preconceived notion; lack of trust; inconsequent concept evaluation; vague design motivations; specification comprehension and differences in software systems. Uncertainties in how to handle the industrial design function result in isolation of the group. Although industrial design is involved during the whole product development process, their competence is not captured in a proper way. According to the interviewees, the company employ integrated product development. However, it is in this paper claimed that industrial designers and engineering designers have to collaborate in order to achieve efficient product development work that constitutes both industrial design and engineering design aspects. Integration is different from collaboration. Collaboration involves synergy effects where the outcome exceeds the sum of the capabilities involved. The study revealed that industrial designers are incapable of communicating underlying reasons for design solutions, to engineering design, which result in suffering collaboration. It is therefore suggested that common models and theories, which provide a platform for creating a common picture and a mutual understanding of the content, structure and creation of visual form in relation to engineering design aspects would enhance industrial design and engineering design product outcome.

product development settings

collaboration barriers

interview study

ID-ED interaction


Sara Persson

Chalmers, Produkt- och produktionsutveckling

Proceedings of the 11th International Forum on Design Management Research and Education Strategies, Resources and Tools for Management Leadership


Produktionsteknik, arbetsvetenskap och ergonomi

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