Design by Collaboration

I was wandering the rows of tables at Callapalooza during my first semester at Berkeley when the Design Engineering Collaborative caught my eye. They had a massive whiteboard set up with expo markers, sticky notes, and a prompt: “What problem do you want to solve?”

Honestly, I don’t remember what I wrote down, but I was soon attending meetings regularly. We’d come up with “bug lists” from our daily lives and brainstorm solutions as a group. If anyone felt especially passionate about a particular idea, they’d form a team to prototype their solution during the semester. This was not the most elegant nor structured design process, but it got my gears turning on how I could get more involved in this area.

DEC was my first foray into the world of design here at Cal, and I’m now operating as Internal President. Besides leading group projects and teaching students how to solder and 3D print, I’ve also been heavily invested in renovating the Bridges Lounge (also known as the SHED), the room in which DEC and other clubs meet and work. Bridges was once incredibly underutilized, but it’s now developing into a bustling maker space for engineering organizations to work and socialize. I’ve gotten involved with other design groups on campus as well, like the 3D Modeling Club.

In April of 2015, DEC and 3DMC collaborated on hosting the university’s first 3D Printing Designathon, a wildly successful event that taught students about 3D design and printing in friendly competition, and spawned corporate relationships with Cal’s design community. That event was largely facilitated by the Berkeley Student Design Council, a group comprising representatives from all of Cal’s design organizations.

It’s through the Design Council that I’ve met leaders from a multitude of design clubs on campus, representing fields from augmented reality to photography to human-centered design. Design is such a large field that it’s difficult to know where to start, but the Design Council aims to make it more approachable to everyone.