MIbD Overseas Experience 2022 – Penang, Malaysia

The MIbD Overseas Experience 2022 was held at the School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang, Malaysia from 25-29 October 2022.

17 students from SUTD and 15 students from USM participated in the 5 days experience.

It was a collaboration between two different backgrounds of students; most of SUTD students came from engineering and architecture while the USM students were mainly from the arts.

With this unique collaboration within various backgrounds, the students were able to broaden their knowledge and gain different perspectives and ideas towards the solution to the challenge.

The Challenge: How can we make the pond at USM a place for gathering and enjoyment for the local community?

Students were expected to meet the challenge by designing a physical or virtual prototype solution within the week.

The experience kick started by having a ‘Speed Dating’ session where each student was given 3 minutes to find out about each other’s interest and background. After the end of the session, students voted with whom they would like to form a team. Six teams were formed, consisting of both SUTD and USM students.

Associate Professor Arlindo Silva, Programme Director of Master of Innovation by Design (MIbd) shared with the participants how to use the Design Thinking and the 4Ds framework to design and create innovative solution to the set challenge. The 4D framework consists of Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver.

During the week’s experience, we had two guest seminars. Associate Professor Omar, former Dean of SOTA USM, presented on an insightful talk on Industrial Design. He shared his experiences and we are certain all participants benefitted. The second speaker, Mr Syafiq Shararuddin from the River Engineering and Urban Drainage Research Centre (REDAC) at USM’s Engineering Campus presented an interesting talk on the latest technology and sustainable practices in management of river basins, urban drainage, and hydrological engineering. This gave the students some background knowledge that they could consider when tackling the pond challenge.

On the third day, all participants visited the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS), which is located within in the Penang National Park. Getting to CEMACS required a short trek through the jungle, which way to start the day. We were given a museum tour as well as a walk through the hatcheries.

It was a very insightful trip.

On the last day of the trip, all teams presented their solutions to the Pond Challenge. A mixture of impressive physical and virtual prototypes solutions were presented. All solutions were very different yet each was also viable.

In conclusion, the experience was beneficial to all participants. The diverse student backgrounds brought many innovative solutions to the  Pond Challenge. Design is all about sharing and evaluating different approaches to problem solving a given problem. The sharing of ideas and method through this overseas experience will benefit the students in their current research and beyond in their future careers.

MIbD Overseas Experience 2020 – Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China

The MIbD experience was held in Jiangnan University’s (JU) School of Design in Wuxi, China from 13 Jan to 17 Jan 2020. 30 MIbD students, joined by 20 JU students, came together for a week long experience, with an opportunity to develop a project in mixed teams, visit some product design companies, and present their findings at the end of the week with a prototype.

Associate Professor Arlindo Silva (Right), programme director of the Masters of Engineering in Innovation by Design (MIbD), kick started the week long experience with a mini Design Innovation (DI) workshop, first sharing about the 4Ds of Innovation by Design, followed by pair work (1 SUTD, 1 JU student) for students to better understand and familiarize themselves.

  • Professor Arlindo Silva, Programme Director of the Master of Engineering in Innovation by Design (MIbD)

Students were then separated into 10 groups (3 SUTD, 2 JU students), and the challenge of the week was as follows:

Design a personal mobility device for the last mile to cater for users in *CITY X* with the following profile:

  • Young professional in a rising business
  • Married, 25-30 years old
  • One child

Students, using the 4Ds as a guideline, worked on understanding the demographics of each city assigned to them before they could move into developing ideas for the prototype, and regular presentations were scheduled to share on their research as well as thinking process.

2 company visits were also arranged for the students. The first visit was to Roidmi, a subsidiary of Xiaomi, with their focus being in the cordless vacuum cleaner industry in China and students learned about the challenges they faced and how they achieved their success today.

The second visit was to Midea Group, where their focus was on developing and designing washing machines where the staff shared on their development of washing machines over the years, looking at customer needs as well as the development of technology, and lastly also implementing new designs to keep up with current trends.

After understanding the demographics of each city and developing many ideas from scratch, groups decided on 1 prototype which would be a best fit to their assigned city, and developed a physical prototype using 3D printing to conceptualize their ideas from paper.

In conclusion, the week-long experience was benefical to both SUTD and JU students where both parties were able to share ideas and different methods that were taught in respective schools, and bring them together to develop a prototype for the given challenge.