September 19, 2011
The Tech-Arts pilot project is the first of its kind in the Dayton area. It was created in December 2010 to explore the possibilities for technological and artistic breakthroughs that can arise when two strong Dayton communities collaborate. The main objective of the pilot project was to discover how artists can inform the engineering and scientific process.
Throughout this process, as Air Force Research Lab personnel began to rethink assumptions and challenges they confronted in the lab, the artist’s mental model and tools helped identify new and expressive solutions to complex problems.
The pilot was just the start of an ongoing partnership between members of these two groups. In fact, due to the success and interest in the original Tec^Arts collaboration, the IDEA Lab is applying this unique approach to other projects and problems.
Now known as Divergent Collaboration, exploration of the problem-space is taken into uncharted territory by using the mental models and tools of people from various areas of expertise. We have found that mixing the traditional, process-based scientific method with approaches utilized by different domains is highly effective at uncovering unique observations that reframe problems and bust assumptions to ultimately achieve innovative solutions. Typical outcomes are the invigoration of existing research and/or the identification of new projects within a focus area.