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2013



Reflections on Industrial Design

Students work in the industrial design studio

It is not every day that a business student walks into the Art Studio off of Grace Street at James Madison University.  In fact, you may never see a business student there! The first time I tried to walk in the building it was locked and only students and teachers with access could enter.  Regardless, I found someone to let me in and that began the journey of a business student in the School of Art and Design.

Little did I know when I joined Professor Audrey Barnes’s special topics course in Industrial Design that I would have the opportunity to work with my fellow professors and advisors in the College of Business.  Audrey informed me that our class is working on a project for the Center for Entrepreneurship, designing furniture for the new Ice House Complex located in downtown Harrisonburg. 

When I heard about this opportunity I leapt inside, likely startling Professor Barnes with my excitement for the chance to learn about design on this unique project!  I warned her that I knew nothing about design, but offered her a hungry interest in learning about the creative process that goes into designing a product.  She was so gracious to allow this inexperienced, excited business student into her class, and each of my classmates have been helpful every step of the way. 

We have been working as a collaborative team thus far, offering one another encouragement and feedback, so that as a class we are able to provide Carol Hamilton and the Center for Entrepreneurship only the best deliverables! We were offered the great opportunity of meeting Carol and her team in our first few weeks on the project.  They came to the Art Studio and shared with our class their vision: a collaborative, energetic space in the Harrisonburg community for entrepreneurs to do hands on work with their ideas. 

As a business major at JMU, I immediately saw the potential of the space for COB 300 students to work on ideas for their project.  Of course it would serve the management majors in Entrepreneurship and Venture Creation even better as they brainstorm real product, service and business ideas.  I got so excited while standing  in our meeting that I couldn’t help but sway back and forth tapping my feet—it was finally more space for the business majors to work! 

But I was wrong.  I was thinking too narrowly about the space’s potential.  Any good business professional knows that an idea can come from anywhere: something that will change the world.  Carol helped me see that the space is uniquely designed for people across all majors, all professions, and all backgrounds. 

It’s when we step out of our normal environment and into a new one that we see things differently.  Taking a step out of our comfort zone doesn’t have to be so extreme either.  It can be as simple as taking a class outside of our normal course work.  By taking advantage of this opportunity I have surrounded myself with creative people who think outside the box. I believe it is the people who are thinking outside the box that will make a difference in the world--who will lead the charge on solving major issues.  I strive to be one of those difference makers and entering this new community is certainly showing me ways to be that change.  I am truly thankful for Professor Barnes and my classmates in INDU 492, and for the opportunity to work on a project with them in the realm of entrepreneurship.









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