Roderick Walden undertakes research into the contemporary methods and practice of professional industrial design. His principal areas of research interest lie in professional practice, practice-based design research, design expertise and academic design. He has previously worked as a product designer and production engineer for a range of local and international manufacturers in the commercial office furniture industry including Herman Miller U.S., and Wilkhahn and König + Neurath Germany. His design consultancy, Walden Design Pty Ltd, formed in 2003, designed a range of products for Australian companies, working particularly closely with manufacturing SMEs. In his academic role, he has co-developed, through research, prototypes including a mountain bike (MTB) multi-tool (2008), leather-moulded office accessories (2008) and a fire-fighters cooling vest (2009), all with long-time colleague and friend Stefan Lie. He has conducted research into additive manufacturing technologies with the design of a DMLS MTB Crank Arm (2010) as part of the CCDP-sponsored Digifacture project, which was co-curated with Berto Pandolfo. His masters (by research) degree studied self-initiated product design and modelled connections between knowledge and practice that he is currently advancing as part of his PhD. He has co-authored research on topics including university-industry collaboration (UIC), design in business, design education and academic design practice. Roderick is passionate about his role as a teacher, the technical work of design and the meaning behind the connections designers make with other areas of knowledge to solve problems, innovate and learn.
- Research Methods
- User-Centred Design
- Product Engineering
- Innovation and Commercialisation
- IPD Honours Project
- Design Theory
- Global Studio (Hong Kong & Korea)
Lee, T.M., Walden, R., Lie, S., Pandolfo, B. & Lockhart, C. 2018, 'Design Research Units and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs): An Approach for Advancing Technology and Competitive Strength in Australia', The Design Journal.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
ABSTRACT This paper makes the case that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector have the potential to benefit from connections with design research units operating within universities. It points out some of the challenges associated with research and development for SMEs, and argues design research units can allow SMEs to better meet
these challenges. Additive Manufacturing is used as an exemplary emerging technology that makes explicit the new possibilities and instability of the contemporarymanufacturing landscape. A case study is used to articulate
the potentials and limitations of industry and university partnerships in design. In conclusion, two alternative models are analysed in order to highlight different ends to which the practitioner-based research can be put.
Walden, R., Lie, S., Pandolfo, B. & Nemme, A. 2018, 'Research Prototyping, University-Industry Collaboration and the value of Annotated Portfolios', Cumulus Paris 2018: To get there together, designing together, Paris.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Nemme, A. & Walden, R.J. 2017, 'Advancing the Iteration Deficit Reduction Model', TENZ ICTE Conference - Technology: An holistic approach to education, Technology Eduction New Zealand, International Conference on Technology Education (Asia-Pacific Region) - Technology: An holistic approach to education, Technology Environmental Mathematics and Science (TEMS) Eductaion Research Centre, St Margaret's College, Christchurch New Zealand, pp. 232-243.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Through analysis of a case study from student design practice, this paper describes the refinement of an adaptable learning model designed to address the problem of 'iteration deficit'. We call this model the Iteration Deficit Reduction Model (IDR). 'Iteration deficit' is a term created by the authors, to describe a form of fixation in the practice of novice designers, where divergent thinking becomes suppressed by convergent thinking during a design project. Before application of the full-detail of the model to the learning context, here we examine the primary principles of the IDR model in practice, through an advanced-level student product design project at the University of Technology Sydney. The project reveals that a constructive design research methodology that incorporates experimentation through prototyping for each iterative learning cycle, correlates with key features of the adapted IDR model. A notable part of this correlation is that hypothesis-making in research-oriented product design practice is central to the iterative construction of prototypes as a means to advance the nature of the innovation in a knowledge-intensive way. Further, by positioning the construction of prototypes as the method for convergence-based learning in product design projects, we are better able to assign and schedule appropriate methods and support for divergent-based learning, identified as being critical to the development of innovation pathways in product design education.
Walden, R.J. 2016, 'Progressing a university-industry collaboration (UIC) model for open and sustainable innovation', Cumulus Hong Kong 2016: Open Design for E-very-thing, Hong Kong.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper describes the implementation and progress of a university-industry collaboration (UIC) model, developed by the ipd-r research group at the University of Technology Sydney, to advance the competitive strength of small to medium manufacturing enterprises. The Integrated Product Design Research (ipd-r) UIC model opens up the innovation process and fosters engagement between industry partners, design academics and, in a unique way, a large cohort of undergraduate design students. Incorporating a diverse range of perspectives via methods of practice, the model explores short to medium-term outcomes for the industry partner over a series of iterative engagement cycles, over a 2-3 year term. The research reported here focuses on the first iteration of the model that incorporates a strategically planned exercise through two industry projects that generate a diverse range of innovative concepts. These concepts are collectively analysed both by the academic team independently and in collaboration with the industry partner for R&D planning and to inform the second iteration of the model. The research indicates that the ipd-r UIC model does successfully overcome some of the barriers previously identified with other forms of UIC and that the strategic management of conceptual development in an UG design subject by academic design practitioners, offers constructive open engagement for a participating manufacturing SME, otherwise inaccessible for them. Significantly, the results provide both short-term and medium-term strategic innovation directives for the SME and represents a way for manufacturing industry to learn how to develop innovation strategy and engage research for competitive advantage.
Nemme, A. & Walden, R.J. 2016, 'Identifying And Reducing Iteration Deficit In Product Design Projects', 9th Biennial International Conference on Technology Education Research: Creating contexts for learning in Technology Education, Technology Education Research Conference, Design & Technology Association of Australia, University of South Australia, Magill Campus, pp. 208-215.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper describes the development of a methodology model that integrates appropriate design theory and research methods, to assess and guide iteration during product design projects that are open-ended, complex; and where the scope of the problem and the range of possible solutions vary widely from the outset. Currently, during such projects worked on by university students, there is evidence of an iteration deficit, meaning that the designer locks onto a typology, interaction feature or form, obsessively, to the detriment of further exploration of the design outcome. We propose a model that can be adapted and presented at the start of the project by the studio leader and then serves as an instrument to guide the designer and identify where and why the iteration deficit may occur; and how to potentially move forward. We have found that iteration deficits occur at particular points in the process and may be mitigated by referring to the model which depicts iteration cycles in association with possible methods, framed by over-arching theory. Developing the mental agility and confidence to manage complex, open-ended design problems is a core task for tertiary design education. We speculate that the model may support the collection of data on iterative design progress during tertiary design projects to inform improvements in professional practice.
Lie, S. & Walden, R. 2015, 'Evolving a university product design program: An approach for contemporary design practice', Website proceedings of TENZ 2015 (Technology Education New Zealand), TENZ 2015 (Technology Education New Zealand), Technology Education New Zealand, Hamilton, New Zealand, pp. 1-12.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper reports on the evolution of the product design degree at the University of Technology Sydney, in the Faculty of Design Architecture and Building, School of Design. The expanding nature of professional disciplines of product design has placed pressure on university product design programs to educate students across all potential aspects of the profession. A move to restructure all design courses in the School of Design from a four year degree, to a three year degree with a one year honours / two year master's extension presented the opportunity to set the identity and focus for the course more precisely within the scope of the product design discipline. Research into the contemporary and predictable future practice of product design given socio-cultural and technological change directed by the research strengths of the academic staff in the course provides the foundation. Further connecting these findings with the strategic goals of the faculty, provides the basis for establishing an identity for the course that can appropriately and effectively link research and teaching functions within the program. Through the lens of a new subject in the new degree, compared against the requirements and expectations of a compatible subject in the former degree serves to demonstrate a number of successful outcomes for the transition. Firstly, it demonstrates the way design theory can be translated through practice-orientated learning. Secondly it demonstrates ways of de-emphasising dated conventions and restrictions while importing new, contemporary priorities in design, to maintain discipline and integrity. And lastly, it proposes a strategic approach to managing a product design course that is driven by strong research directives that ensure the prosperity of the teaching program.
Walden, R., Lie, S., Pandolfo, B. & Lockhart, C. 2015, 'A design research strategy for advancing the technological and competitive strength of Australian manufacturing Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs)', Design for Business: Research Conference, Melbourne, Australia.
This paper will propose a design research strategy to support collaboration of SMEs and University Research Units on projects intended to advance the competitive strength of SMEs in Australia through the utilisation of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (AMT). Review of literature identifies that a predominant driver for enterprises to remain competitive, is investment in Research and Development (R&D) strategies; and that while manufacturing SMEs have the potential to be innovation leaders, they are often not able to fund the high cost associated with in-house R&D. This presents SMEs with a challenge that needs to be addressed. The Australian Government, Industry Innovation and Competitive Agenda (2014) outlines a funding program that supports collaboration between university research units with Australian manufacturing SMEs under its Advanced Manufacturing category, with a view to implementing AMT into the manufacturing sector. A form of Advanced Manufacturing Technology - Additive Manufacturing (AM) has been the subject of significant and ongoing inquiry by the research sector and manufacturing sector alike. Background research and further literature research indicates that there maybe significant advantages to the implementation of AM into more mainstream production. While SMEs have the flexibility to innovate with the technology on one hand, they are also bound by financial constraints that limits their ability to conduct the necessary experimentation required to identify ways of utilising the technology. Review of similar programs in Korea and the UK, finds that government funded university-industry projects to improve the competitiveness of SMEs, requires that knowledge transfer yield short-term implementable outcomes for the company in terms of new products and processes. However, to strategically coordinate the implementation of AM into a SMEs production system requires experimentation, innovation and long-term vision. Resolving the combination of these...
Walden, R., Lockhart, C., Lie, S. & Pandolfo, B. 2015, 'Imperfect Aesthetic: How the changing use of plastic in objects has changed our perception of it.', Provocative Plastics, Arts University Bournemouth.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
From its very beginning, plastic has been a material valued for its high aesthetic qualities, in fact, early plastics were developed as substitutes for materials such as ivory and tortoise shell, materials highly sought after and prized for their unique visual and tactile qualities. With the arrival of synthetic plastics in the 1900's, plastic is used in objects not only for their decorative value but as a substitute for more traditional materials such as
ceramic, wood and metal. In the 1950's processing and material innovations allows plastic to be moulded with high gloss surface finish and in a wider variety of colours, features embraced by the Pop Art movement of the 1960's. Further developments towards the end of the 20th century see high performance plastics emerge, continuing the erosion into the domains of more traditional materials.
Today plastic is ubiquitous. The widespread use of plastic is in part due to it being available in a variety of formats; rigid, flexible, transparent, opaque, solid or liquid. This variability is also applicable to the possible processing methods available for plastic materials, examples include; injection, extrusion, blow and rotational moulding. One of the most recent advances in material processing technology is the advent of 3D printing.
Although today 3D printing is able to accommodate a wide variety of materials including metal and foods such as chocolate and pastry dough, it is the 3D printing of plastic that is having the most significant impact in the field of object design.
3D printing first emerged in the 1990's and today it is challenging existing manufacturing paradigms. Many of 3D printing's initial problems relating to structural integrity, dimensional stability and material selection have now been resolved and current solutions produce parts equal to or better than conventionally processed plastic. The one area that 3D printing continues to struggle with, with respect to conventional manufacturing, is the abi...
This paper inquires into how creative practice-led projects can generate dynamic connections between the tools of research and the tools of design practice through case studies of individual academic design practitioner projects to provide unique contributions to industry and society. Each case study represents a different approach to academic design practice that enables recognition and reflection of potential shifts in industry-based design practice, based on the advent of advanced manufacturing technologies, innovation opportunity in small batch production and rationalising the complexities of commercialising 3D printed products. Comparing the case studies primarily addresses the themes of knowing how to engage a practice-based research project and the set-up of projects that can offer academic and industry relevant contributions. Evaluation of the case studies identifies core attributes of the academic design practitioner and how practice-based design research operating outside of the constraints of commercial design projects can advance knowledge uniquely beneficial to industry development. Significantly, the conclusions of the paper suggest that the academic design practitioner may be defined as a researcher with up-to-date competency in industry-based design practice, enabling them to adapt practice-led research projects that can strategically develop multi-tiered outcomes that supply academic and industry relevant outcomes concurrently.
Walden, R.J. & Pandolfo, B. 2015, 'A new university-industry collaboration model to transform Australian manufacturing SMEs', Conference Proceedings of DesignEd Asia 2015, Spirit of Place and Design Education, DesignEd Asia Conference Secretariat, Hong Kong, pp. 195-207.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The spirit of Australian manufacturing was established by a need and desire to innovate at a technical level; nourished by a culture of making, vitalised by our geographic remoteness. Today, Australia finds that it cannot compete in labour-intensive, low-skilled manufacturing and must develop design-driven innovation strategies to survive. Through university- industry collaboration (UIC) manufacturing can be supported in this transition. UIC is complex due to differing incentives and orientation between the goals of industry and university research. Literature analysis on UIC research and of the challenges facing Australian manufacturing combines with a new Integrated Product Design program at the University of Technology Sydney to form the basis of a new UIC model to support local manufacturing industry. The Integrated Product Design Research (ipd-r) UIC model proposes to reduce the barriers to successful UIC by incorporating student projects that appropriately stimulate a longer term UIC engagement necessary for the creation of important strategic innovation integration and new knowledge outcomes. Additionally, we believe that the ipd-r UIC model with its focus on practice-based research is more conducive to the particular attitudes and spirit of Australian manufacturing.
Walden, R.J., Spencer, N., Leong, B., Bailey, M. & Aftab, M. 2014, 'Establishing and Leveraging Networks in Design Education Innovation Projects', International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, The Design Society, Institution of Engineering Designers, University of Twente, The Netherlands, pp. 76-81.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Walden, R.J. & Dorst, K. 2013, 'The integration of design parameters and the establishment of constraint and priority for innovation', Proceedings - DesignEd Asia Conference 2013: Delimitation - Creating with Constraints, DesignEd Asia Conference, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, pp. 1-9.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents a new model for setting constraints and priority for contextualising innovation and iteration events during the course of new design development. It achieves this by establishing and dynamically integrating three parameter fields deemed critical to project success, setting the scope of innovation opportunity more broadly yet more strategically to enable productive re-framing of open-ended design tasks. It is proposed that contemporary design practice requires a means of establishing criteria and enabling short feedback loops for high quality innovations to result. The integrated parameter model presented in this paper seeks to support these objectives by rationalising the context of the innovation developed, determining the impact of pursuit of that innovation on associated parameters and providing a focus for connecting with various support for productive and timely feedback on ideas.
Walden, R.J. & Kokotovich, V. 2012, 'Supporting Student Learning in Relation to Entrepreneurial Innovation in Self-initiated Industrial Design Major Projects', 7th Biennial International Conference on Technology Education Research: Explorations of best practice in Technology, design & Engineering Education, Technology Education Research Conference, Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise, Australia, pp. 155-164.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Often Industrial Design students at the tertiary level, and Design & Technology students at the secondary level, complete a major project in their final year. These projects may be framed as being self-initiated design projects. Due to socio-cultural and technological changes these student projects, are becoming more complex, with greater emphasis on formally conducted research to set justifiable directions in development of innovative solutions that are entrepreneurial in nature. As design educators we are charged with the task of shaping the educational experiences of our students so as to move them closer to those paralleling professional designers. Consequently, we need to draw from models of self-initiated design that occur in professional practice to help develop appropriate strategies for supporting students in the completion of these challenging design projects. A background study investigated self-initiated projects developed by professional industrial designers, identifying particular links between aspects of background knowledge and a set of predominate project factors common in self-initiated design. This paper presents the results of this study suggesting that major projects (that are self-initiated) by university design students in their final year and indeed high school D&T students can be supported by research conducted into self-initiated design processes, as they exist in professional practice.
Roderick Walden and Stefan Lie were approached by UniQuest: James Cook University to develop a design, based on an invention by a team headed by Dr. Glen Deakin of the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science at JCU. The invention is a new type of cooling vest for hot intensive working conditions (e.g. fire fighters with heavy protective clothing). The project was managed through Access UTS and its focus was to take the invention from a very rough working model, through to a manufacturable product design. The practice-led research entered into resulted in a prototyped design that is very inexpensive to make and performs with all of the advantages of the invention.
The project developed a series of ecologically sustainable desktop accessories with a unique design for carrying andaccommodating office stationery. The trays are made by compression moulding leather. Through this project the designers have developed tools and processes that applies contemporary materials and manufacturing knowledge to an ancient technique. The project was undertaken as part of a collaborative research design project with Roderick Walden and Stefan Lie (UTS) investigating ergonomics, interface design and the interplay between operational elements in multi-functional design. The entire project, including the final design outcome was presented in an Exhibition titled 'Convergence' held in the DAB LAB Research Gallery at UTS. The exhibition demonstrated a connection between self-initiated design practice for multi-functional product types and practice-driven design research. The design (as exhibited) examines the connection between materials and structure using renewable resources and sustainable manufacturing methods. This, in connection with the research objective of understanding ways of converging a set of operational elements into singular units, has produced a unique design that demonstrates methods and approaches to design problem solving, collaborative design and self-initiated design practice.
The product design, developed as one of the seven projects that comprised Digifacture (a project established in partnership with Advanced Manufacturing Services Pty. Ltd., AMS and the Center for Contemporary Design Research, UTS), was undertaken to seek new applications for the use of Selective Laser Sintering and Direct Metal Laser Sintering technologies. The research is located in the field of application and integration of additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) as a production technology. The aim of the project was to explore novel ways of utilising the advantages offered by this new manufacturing technology, practice-led through design and production of prototypes. The key performance objective in bicycle parts design is to engineer parts that are light weight but at the same time, robust and impact resistant. This outcome provides a prototype for a Mountain Bike Crank Arm made from heavy stainless steel (robust, wear resistant) designed into a complex structural form only achievable by Direct Metal Laser Sintering1 that makes efficient use of material so that the item is of a comparable weight to those made from aluminum by traditional processes. The outcome is an innovative product design for a bicycle crank arm with particular application in mountain bike. The contribution to knowledge is in the demonstrated use of emerging manufacturing technologies to develop a new high performance bicycle crank arm and other products bound by strength-to-weight ratio concerns. The project represents a practice-led research approach to defining new methods in product design in response to advances in manufacturing technology. The design was exhibited in the Digifacture exhibition, as part of Sydney Design 2010, and presented in the accompanying catalogue.
Walden, R.J. & Lie, S., 'GRW Coolme Vest: Emergency Firefighting Equipment', GRW Coolme Vest: Emergency Firefighting Equipment, UTS DAB LAB Research Gallery, UTS DAB LAB Research Gallery.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This exhibition presents the prototype for a new type of cooling vest designed to significantly reduce heat stress and recovery times for emergency workers in hot intensive working conditions. A team of scientists from James Cook University developed the invention (the cooling principle) that was then designed into a wearable vest for operation and ease of manufacture by Roderick Walden and Stefan Lie. The principle end-users are fire fighters in Rural Fire Services around Australia, volunteer organisations with limited funds so the final product needed to be low in cost. The research centres on the investigation of low cost and readily available materials and manufacturing applications in achieving performance criteria for a cooling vest intended for extreme working conditions. Sixteen prototypes were made by the designers and tested in live fire trials with the Queensland Rural Fire Service. The exhibition focuses on the role of the industrial designers â taking an invention from mock-up through to a viable, manufacturing product and prototypes for user trials âand features some of the key design problems addressed. The exhibition demonstrates the contribution of design expertise to a collaborative research project, achieving a commercially viable product outcome based on an invention grounded in scientific research. The significance of this research is that it has produced a successful design for a high performance, technical product using low cost materials and technology more commonly associated with inflatable toys and packaging manufacture. This innovative approach will ensure that wide distribution of the product is made possible.
Both MTB Multi-tool design and Office Desktop accessories were undertaken as part of a collaborative research design project by Roderick Walden and Stefan Lie, industrial designers, working on two different self-initiated product design problems investigating ergonomics, interface design and the interplay between operational elements in multi-functional designs. Both final design outcomes were presented in an exhibition entitled 'Convergence', held in the DAB LAB Research Gallery at UTS. The exhibition demonstrated a connection between self-initiated design practice for multi-functional product types and practice-driven design research. The MTB Multi-tool design is an item carried for competitive mountain biking. The invention is a unique integration of tools within the brake lever of a mountain bike. The innovation houses a number of tools normally found in a multi-tool set. The tools can be interchanged according to the cyclist's preferences or anticipated needs during a race. The Office Desktop accessories is a series of ecologically sustainable desktop accessories with a unique design forâ¨carrying and accommodating office stationery. The trays are made by compression moulding leather.â¨Through this project the designers have developed tools and processes that apply contemporary materials and manufacturing knowledge to an ancient technique. The exhibition included a final prototype and a series of models, sketches, renderings and tools. The process of developing both designs addressed questions around self-initiated design practice. Their significance as product design solutions were their potential for commercialization. A provisional patent application was filed on the 23rd October 2008, funded by UniQuest Pty. Ltd. (UTS) for the invention of MTB Multi-tool design.
Digifacture comprised a number of different elements each producing different outcomes: a design studio developed and produced original objects, an exhibition presented the research to a wider community and a catalogue provided documentation. The focus of the project was a practice-led investigation of industrial design and advanced manufacturing technologies, specifically, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Direct Metal Lasering Sintering (DMLS), technologies that enable rapid manufacture of objects in high performance materials and are predicted to challenge traditional manufacturing systems. Eight designers and artists (UTS researchers and external practitioners) participated: Douglas Nash, Stefan Lie, Shelden Vaughan, Bert Bongers, Jos Mulder, Adam Goodrum, Roderick Walden and Berto Pandolfo. The exhibition was held in collaboration with the Powerhouse Museum's design festival, Design10, at the Fraser Studio gallery, Sydney, August 5-10 2010, and was opened by Prof. Kees Dorst with guests from the design and manufacturing sectors, media and the general public. Geometric complexity, part unification and customised product variants are advantages these technologies offer over the current set of manufacturing systems that industrial designers are typically trained to develop designs for. The research investigated how these advantages might manifest in future products, necessary changes to design processes, and the impact on manufacturing methods. The research presented demonstrates innovative applications of SLS and DMLS, along with important insights for design and design for manufacture. Digifacture received financial and in kind support from Advanced Manufacturing Services (an industry partner), the UTS Centre for Contemporary Design Practice (CCDP) and the Industrial Design Program at UTS. http://www.advancedmanufacturing.com.au/media/Digifacture.pdf
Walden, R.J. 2013, 'Integrated Product Design and the New Craft Aesthetic'.
Essay written for the catalogue of the BLK Product Exhibtion by Berto Pandolfo.