Comprehensive Design Engineering: Designers Taking Responsibility

John M. Feland, Larry J. Leifer, and William R. Cockayne
Center for Design Research, Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305, USA

There is a growing awareness that we have been overproducing rigorously disciplined, game-playing specialists who, through hard work and suppressed imagination, earn their academic union cards, only to have their specialized field become obsolete or by-passed by evolutionary events of altered techniques and exploratory strategies. As R. Buckminster Fuller said: `We need the philosopher-scientist-artist — the comprehensivist, not merely more deluxe-quality-technician-mechanics.’ Comprehensive Design Engineering (CDE) is a roadmap for a new curriculum intended to be the next step in Stanford’s Product Design Program. Building on Fuller’s notion of a `comprehensivist’, this forward-looking curriculum brings together business, human issues, and technology in a comprehensive manner to support the creation of tomorrow’s innovations. This integrated academic program consists of Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in the Comprehensive Design Program. Bringing the students through models and experiments of the what, how, and why innovations occur in emerging technologies, the program prepares students at all degree levels to bring value to the organizations they belong to. This paper describes the frameworks used in CDE to enable consistent innovation.


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