Novice engineers' predisposition to compassionate design

Priya Seshadri, Tahira Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The objective of this research paper is to study the ways in which engineering students naturally apply elements of compassionate design thinking to design tasks. We hypothesize that engineers will engage in compassionate design ways of thinking only when explicit information is provided and/or if they have had prior experience with the design context. The goal here was to understand whether or not engineers are able to intuit the need for compassionate design thinking and if their experience guides their approach. A mixed methods approach was used to study novice engineers in design contexts that warrant the need for compassionate design thinking. A 'Think Aloud protocol' was used and a coding scheme was developed to analyze the documented video/audio recordings. The results show that participants with experience invest more thought in framing the problem as compared to those without experience. Observations showed that factors like 'dignity' were less discussed and need more probes to be included in the design process. These results will provide information that will lead to the development of a tool, such as Design for Compassion or DfC for compassionate design thinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED
Issue numberDS 80-11
StatePublished - 2015
Event20th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2015 - Milan, Italy
Duration: Jul 27 2015Jul 30 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


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