The Time Capsule: Transferring Design Knowledge Across Temporal Team-of-Teams

PI: Prof. Dr. Larry Leifer


With the increasing global scope of modern engineering design, university-level education in design practice must follow suit. In keeping with this trend, Stanford’s graduate level course in Engineering Design Innovation (ME 310), encourages students to cooperate and collaborate with global partner teams within a network of universities— forming spatial team-of-teams. These design students have the opportunity to learn from prior experience by tapping into a knowledge base (Time Capsule) that includes design documents, digital artifacts, and contacts from preceding years’ projects—creating temporal team-of-teams. However, effective use of this design knowledge base has failed to reach its potential, resulting in reports of frustration, repetition of prior work, wasted resources, and lost time. The proposed project will explore ways to foster collabo ration among temporal teams-of-teams by redesigning the knowledge base experience. We will examine interactions among current teams to store and retrieve project knowledge. The analyses will encompass students, instructors, coaches, alumni, their individual and collective practices. The outcomes will include (a) a guide to redesigning the design knowledge process, and (b) a suite of retrieval technologies, which the broader engineering design community can leverage.