Product Design and Innovation: Evolution of an Interdisciplinary Design Curriculum
Frances Bronet, Ron Eglash, Gary Gabriele, David Hess, and Larry Kagan
Product Design and Innovation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180, USA
Successful competition in the global economy is increasingly dependent on new products and services that reveal new business and infrastructure possibilities. New products and services must be regarded not only as commodities in a marketplace, but as social actors constraining or enabling the quality of our life. In recognition of these two perspectives, Product Design and Innovation (PDI) is a three-year old undergraduate dual degree program educating students for new product invention and development. PDI satisfies the requirements for the Bachelor of Science programs in Architecture and Science, Technology and Society (STS); or Mechanical Engineering and STS. Design programs played a lead role as the PDI curricular model for integrated and studio teaching, linking all three dimensions of the program — the technical, the aesthetic, and the social — with an emphasis on creativity, the imaginative application of new technologies and materials, and the social and political dimensions through design.