Innovation & Design Collaborative

The Space Where Innovation Happens With Design

If there's one thing we know well in the School of Industrial Design, it's that design doesn't operate in isolation, it operates in collaboration. Our students learn how to solve problems using a customer-centered approach: they create solutions to problems that are based on research.

In other words, designers imagine better cars when they're concerned about who's riding in them and engineers build better bridges when they care about the traffic driving over them. When you put those empathetic designers and engineers together, positive change happens.

So we joined up with the College of Engineering and built a space in the Georgia Tech library to allow that collaboration and research to happen spontaneously. It's called the Innovation & Design Collaborative, and it embodies these few, key philosophies:

  • The collaboration that happens in the IDC is transformational: It provokes a new way of thinking for students, Georgia Tech and the larger world
  • It is also creative: IDC fosters a persistent curiosity in students that fuels right-brain thinking and making
  • We hope to build collaborative inclinations in Georgia Tech students from wide-ranging disciplines. To get there, we'll develop a team-based culture where all those differences combine to make stronger solutions
  • We are inherently inclusive: The IDC is accessible to everyone on campus, open to all backgrounds, disciplines and ideas
  • We believe collaboration is essential to our students' professional futures, a must-have component of every student's educational experience

The collaboration that happens here is focused around five tenets of design thinking: creative craft; empathy; entrepreneurial spirit; rapid iteration; and contextual awareness. Learning these design behaviors allows students of any major to understand the customer's problem before designing a solution.

What We Offer

  • We also teach interdisciplinary, for-credit classes here as well as host smaller, more targeted workshops.
  • Free materials for low-fidelity prototyping
  • interactive computer cluster equipped with current design software
  • test designs, practice public policies and rehearse entrepreneurial pitches in the ethnography studio

The James L. Oliver Professor


Wayne Li.

Wayne K. Li is the James L. Oliver Professor, which is a joint position between the Colleges of Architecture and Engineering. Through classes and the Innovation and Design Collaboration (IDC), leads joint teaching initiatives and advances interdisciplinary collaboration between mechanical engineering and industrial design.

Endowed by School of Industrial Design alumnus James L. Oliver, II (BS ID 1965, ME 1967), the Oliver professor embodies the idea of "multidisciplinary." Oliver learned in his work as a satellite company CEO that when the two schools of thought he mastered as a student -- mechanical engineering and industrial design -- are used together, great projects can be achieved.

As the Oliver professor, Li teaches students that design behavior bridges the language and ideological gap between engineering and design.

Previously, Li led innovation and market expansion for Pottery Barn seasonal home products, was an influential teacher in Stanford University’s design program where he taught visual communication and digital media techniques, led ‘interface development’ in Volkwagen of America’s Electronics Research Laboratory, and developed corporate brand and vehicle differentiation strategies at Ford Motor Company.

He received a Master of Science in Engineering from Stanford University, and undergraduate degrees in Fine Arts in Design and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.