Design and Innovation: Furniture for Children

Design and Innovation: Furniture for Children

Pedro Fuentes-Durá, Gabriel Songel
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-2309-7.ch018
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For more than 10 years at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería del Diseño, the European Project Semester experience on design and innovation has been led by the authors due to their experience in researching and developing more than 120 products launched in the market. This expertise is key to driving and supervising a student project until the stage of promotion at a professional trade fair. This fact becomes a milestone in the educational context that requires the full involvement of students, the school, and the university facilities. Applying agile methodologies in educational design projects is more than a learning process. It is an experiential activity nearer to professional skills development.
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The demand for employability increases consumerism culture and commodification of higher education. It shapes student expectations, and the value of university education in that economic return becomes the main driver (Cheng et al., 2021). The consensus in the literature has been that employability is core to higher education (Mawson & Haworth, 2018). Worldwide studies indicate that teaching-focused University-industry collaborations improve graduates’ employability competencies, particularly domain-specific competencies (Borah et al., 2021). As industries and career paths change, graduates are expected to possess some discipline-specific attributes and others transferrable to a broader range of jobs and careers (König & Ribarić, 2019). Whilst most governments’ definitions of employability prioritize the development and accreditation of knowledge and vocational skills; many studies reveal that employers are more interested in “softer” skills and attitudes. Employers' emphasis on soft skills also suggests a significant disconnection among government, higher education institutions, and students' groups who focus on practical and vocational skills (Wharton & Horrocks, 2015).

Designers are not only designing but managing beyond the design studio and even deciding upon the activities that need to be done across the business. No single person is likely to have all the skills required for different scenarios, design challenges, and engineering projects. Additionally, the separation of design from manufacturing or implementation often leads to inferior results (Meyer & Norman, 2020). That’s why most projects are done by teams, imply deep knowledge and involvement on the subject, and outperform when a design-driven approach is used. Higher education should simulate as much as possible the professional practice and develop the design thinking mindset and UX design beyond design studies (Magistretti et al., 2021).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sustainability: The idea that goods and services should be produced in ways that do not use resources that cannot be replaced and that do not damage the environment.

Innovation: A value redistribution thanks to a new or changed product. The term product includes goods, services, or other entities.

Learning: The process of getting an understanding of something by studying it or by experience.

UX: Encompasses all aspects of the end-user interaction with a product; broadly, with a company, its services, and its products.

Design for Kids: Focused on kids, visual look or a shape given to a particular object, in order to make it more attractive, make it more comfortable, or to improve another characteristic.

Employability: The skills and abilities that allow people to be employed.

Furniture Design: The way in which an element is planned and made; in this case, things such as chairs, tables, beds, or cupboards, that are put into a house or other area to make it suitable and comfortable for living or working in.

Design Thinking: A user-centered approach to creative problem solving and innovation.

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