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The UC San Diego Design Lab

The UC San Diego Design Lab

The UC San Diego Design Lab

This is an exciting time for the field of design. The technologies that the research communities have worked on for the past 25 years have leapt off the pages of academic journals and into the daily lives of billions. What used to be our imagination is now our reality. These have enabled an extremely wide range of innovation in multiple arenas: healthcare and medicine, business, social interaction, entertainment.

But technology only enables: a practical application requires more than the underlying technology. If we build things for people, then knowledge of both people and technology is required. If we are to make them pleasurable, then the creativity and craft skills of artists and traditionally trained industrial and graphic designers are required. If they are to be understandable, then social scientists are required, including experts in writing and exposition. If they are to thrive in the world of business, then schools of management are required. Design aspires to combine these very different vertical threads of knowledge. Design is an all encompassing field that integrates together business and engineering, the social sciences and the arts.

Our goal is to create an exciting, vibrant design community that pervades the campus, cutting across disciplines, developing cross-campus projects, combining practice with theory, and making UC San Diego a world leader in design theory and integrative programs.

We propose a novel mix of practice and theory, of Thinking, Observing, and MakingTOM. We want to produce major works that advance the state of knowledge and leave a lasting heritage. Let TOM define our approach. Thinking and Making, but always for the benefit of people, hence the importance of Observing. The goal of design is to produce products, services, and systems. It is the science and practice of making.

This is an exciting time for the field of design. The technologies that the research communities have worked on for the past 25 years have leapt off the pages of academic journals and into the daily lives of billions. What used to be our imagination is now our reality. These have enabled an extremely wide range of innovation in multiple arenas: healthcare and medicine, business, social interaction, entertainment.

But technology only enables: a practical application requires more than the underlying technology. If we build things for people, then knowledge of both people and technology is required. If we are to make them pleasurable, then the creativity and craft skills of artists and traditionally trained industrial and graphic designers are required. If they are to be understandable, then social scientists are required, including experts in writing and exposition. If they are to thrive in the world of business, then schools of management are required. Design aspires to combine these very different vertical threads of knowledge. Design is an all encompassing field that integrates together business and engineering, the social sciences and the arts.

Our goal is to create an exciting, vibrant design community that pervades the campus, cutting across disciplines, developing cross-campus projects, combining practice with theory, and making UC San Diego a world leader in design theory and integrative programs.

We propose a novel mix of practice and theory, of Thinking, Observing, and MakingTOM. We want to produce major works that advance the state of knowledge and leave a lasting heritage. Let TOM define our approach. Thinking and Making, but always for the benefit of people, hence the importance of Observing. The goal of design is to produce products, services, and systems. It is the science and practice of making.

This is an exciting time for the field of design. The technologies that the research communities have worked on for the past 25 years have leapt off the pages of academic journals and into the daily lives of billions. What used to be our imagination is now our reality. These have enabled an extremely wide range of innovation in multiple arenas: healthcare and medicine, business, social interaction, entertainment.

But technology only enables: a practical application requires more than the underlying technology. If we build things for people, then knowledge of both people and technology is required. If we are to make them pleasurable, then the creativity and craft skills of artists and traditionally trained industrial and graphic designers are required. If they are to be understandable, then social scientists are required, including experts in writing and exposition. If they are to thrive in the world of business, then schools of management are required. Design aspires to combine these very different vertical threads of knowledge. Design is an all encompassing field that integrates together business and engineering, the social sciences and the arts.

Our goal is to create an exciting, vibrant design community that pervades the campus, cutting across disciplines, developing cross-campus projects, combining practice with theory, and making UC San Diego a world leader in design theory and integrative programs.

We propose a novel mix of practice and theory, of Thinking, Observing, and MakingTOM. We want to produce major works that advance the state of knowledge and leave a lasting heritage. Let TOM define our approach. Thinking and Making, but always for the benefit of people, hence the importance of Observing. The goal of design is to produce products, services, and systems. It is the science and practice of making.

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LAUNCH: A new community innovation platform will empower rural cancer patients

A new web platform released by LAUNCH (Linking & Amplifying User-Centered Networks through Connected Health), a public-private collaboration of which the University of California San Diego Design Lab is a founding member, will enable community-led connected cancer innovation. The platform, “LAUNCHPAD,” may be found at launchhealth.org.

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The Idea Lab: A Collaboration Preparing Students for the Future

As humans, we tend to compartmentalize ourselves as being either logical or creative thinkers. Rarely do we realize that everything we contemplate and create is better when we are both. This unification of both solutions-oriented entrepreneurship and nonlinear design thinking is the foundation of a new UC San Diego student program called the Idea Lab.

The program is a part of UC San Diego’s commitment to being an innovation catalyst and to cultivating future leaders, according to Michèle Morris, Associate Director of The Design Lab. “The Idea Lab program focuses on preparing our students to step into the 21st-century job market with the mindset and skills needed to address today’s challenges with solutions that are not necessarily directed and linear,” she explains. “Being able to navigate ambiguity, engage strategically and collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, and tactically operate in an inclusive, wholistic manner is no longer simply important, it is essential.”

The Idea Lab pilot program was launched in Fall 2020 and is itself a collaboration between two unique centers within UC San Diego’s innovation ecosystem: Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC)/The Basement—a student startup incubator that provides entrepreneurial and leadership programs; and The Design Lab—an interdisciplinary research and education community that prioritizes how humans are impacted by complex systems and technologies.
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Experiencing Cancer in Appalachian Kentucky

A new paper from The Design Lab's Melanie McComsey and Eliah Aronoff-Spencer describes a new framework for improving #cancer care in Appalachian Kentucky. The project would leverage broadband connectivity and cancer communication research to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families.

Nothing tells the story of people working together better than a community quilt. A diversity of talents, colors, and materials brought together through skill and shared purpose. Perhaps never before have we as Americans needed a stronger reminder that many hands make short work of big problems. The work presented here by the L.A.U.N.C.H. Collaborative offers a new framework for health care that could be compared to a digital quilt, powered by community-based participatory design, with lived expertise and the newest advances in broadband-enabled connected health solutions. This work demonstrates the value and need to engage local communities and what can be learned when beneficiaries and traditional caregivers work together to develop healthcare solutions.
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Philip Guo on Storytelling in Design | Design Chats

Philip Guo, Design Lab member and Associate Professor in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego, speaks on the importance of capturing stories during the design process.

Design Chats is a video series where we sit down with design practitioners to answer questions about how they utilize human-centered design.

View our Design Chats playlist on the Design Lab YouTube Channel
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Designer in Residence & Social Psychologist Mikael Wahlström Leads Projects to Explore Autonomous Ships

The Design Lab welcomed Mikael Wahlström as a Designer in Residence this past fall. Wahlström…

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