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David Richter O’Connell, IDSA

Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin - Stout

A graduate of the Institute of Design at IIT in the late 1980s, Professor Richter-O'Connell spent 13 years working as a production designer at the Kohler Company and then in a leadership role in their Advanced Development group for kitchen and bath systems. A six-year stint with a toy development studio and side trips into furniture and musical instrument design and construction supplemented his working pathway.

In 2009 he earned an MFA in Design at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He taught Industrial Design for five years at Kansas State University and the last six years at the University of Wisconsin - Stout.

Industrial Designer Walks into a Bar: The Role of Humor in Student's Creativity and Conceptualization Processes

Education Symposium

Sept 14, 2022

Main Stage

8:30 AM - 9:15 AM

The workshop will begin with a brief discussion of the crossovers and commonalities between humor, play, and design innovation: irony, unexpected combinations of elements, unanticipated outcomes, force fits, amusement, etc.

Further discussion will be around anecdotal observations of student reluctance for self-revelation and prewired tendencies toward safe and conservative ideation, and suggested use of stretching, sketch-ercising activities to encourage more unencumbered and unbridled explorations.

The active workshop session will involve a Jay Doblin-inspired exercise of guided creativity involving writing new languages, deconstructing product features and attributes, active / rapid sketch ideation, forced integration, and finally an enthusiastic 'pitch' of newly conceptualized works to the assembled group. (Laughter ensues...if we've done it right.)

The session also will suggest the role of the instructor in facilitating the leap back from the 'ridiculous to the sublime' and finding the inklings of innovation in the solutions. There is always a nugget of something new!

The exercise will culminate in a recap of the objectives of the exercise and reflections on the results.




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