TheDesignExchange portal is being developed to facilitate the capture, analysis and widespread use of methods associated with early stage design. Although the study of design has been shown to have high impact on the quality and success of engineered products, finding the right design method for any particular problem can be a challenge. TheDesignExchange fills a need to organize disparate design research methods, develop a community of design educators and practitioners to evaluate those methods, and educate the next generation of design innovators TheDesignExchange provides a structure to collect the many design methods in use today, their variations, and examples of use. The portal aims to support the design process by providing educators and practitioners alike with a versatile library of proven tools.

Given the community-of-practice model and wide application of design processes/methods, theDesignExchange portal is fundamentally multi-disciplinary. The subject matter draws on the diverse range of contributors engaged in “design thinking”, a human-centric multidisciplinary design process (engineers, designers, architects, business people, educators). By recognizing and promoting the common thread among these different disciplines, theDesignExchange supports the cross-pollination of methodologies among them. By allowing a community-based discussion and documentation of design methods, theDesignExchange has the potential to be the world’s first open innovation archive of design-practice-related subject matter.  To accomplish this, we are drawing on previous work one in design theory, communities of practice, and expert/lead user-generated content.