By Gureni Lukwaro
The College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) hosted Deborah Mrazek, the leading authority on design value and design thinking, who delivered an enlightening lecture on the value of design. The event was held on February 20, 2018 at the AUS College of Architecture, Art and Design.
Following the lecture, Mrazek, who is also a principal at Curiate.co, conducted a Design Thinking Workshop on February 22. The lecture and the workshop were attended by a number of students and faculty from AUS College of Architecture, Art and Design; AUS School of Business and Administration (SBA) as well the AUS College of Engineering (CEN).
Organized by Robb Ziegler, Associate Professor of Design Management at CAAD, the two presentations were geared towards helping designers, design management students, and design professionals start to understand how to communicate their individual roles and value within their design careers, and to help students and professionals from other professions better understand how to leverage design within their organizations.
The lecture was also used to share with the audience examples of how design brings new value into the world and what some of the challenges are in communicating different types of value to business and other stakeholders.
“Design thinking is a proven user-centered and collaborative process of defining problems and rapidly prototyping solutions to create new value for groups, individuals, and organizations. Design thinkers are people who have learned what it means to work with ambiguity, to foster empathy, to apply creativity, and solve tricky problems. They love to make life better by design,” said Ziegler.
As part of this event, 20 students from CAAD, CEN and SBA, divided into teams of four, participated in a special competition. Each team worked on a common social issue or common problem for students, such as preserving cultural identity, finding like-minded people, or making the transition to college. Students then developed unique approaches to these issues though design thinking and pitched their solutions to a panel of judges.
The panel comprised members from each college/school at AUS and included Dr. Varkki Pallatucheril, Dean of the AUS College of Architecture, Art and Design; Dr. Mohammed Ibahrine, Associate Professor of Mass Communication at the AUS College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Andrew Klein, Associate Professor of Management at the AUS School of Business Administration and Lucy Ziegler, Consultant at the Office of the Dean, College of Engineering. The judges deliberated over the entries and picked the winning team.
The winning student team’s entry was entitled “Am I in the Right Place?” and addressed the new student orientation issues at AUS. The project was designed by Anfal Al-Abdullah from CEN; as well as Naqiyah Mustafa, Aqeela Virjee and Maryam Zienelden from CAAD.