Seminar: Alison Olechowski

Monday, April 12, 2021 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

The Future of Design of Physical Products: Studies of Collaborative Virtual Engineering Teams

Alison Olechowski

Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

Troost Institute for Leadership Education in EngineeringUniversity of Toronto



Even before COVID-19, engineering teams were increasingly exploring the feasibility of work-from-home and distributed design work. Although many software teams have worked remotely for some time, there exists reluctance among designers of physical products to work away from a co-located office. COVID-19 work-from-home regulations have forced all teams to attempt this new way of work; Dr. Olechowski’s group has undertaken a study of the feasibility of this work for the design of physical products in industry. She will present preliminary impressions of success, ongoing challenges, and unexpected benefits. Further focusing on detailed design in particular, Dr. Olechowski will present the findings from a series of experiments which explore new ways of designing collaboratively with computer-aided design (CAD) software. These experiments consider not only design outcomes like quality and speed, but also designer emotion. Dr. Olechowski will share preliminary results which indicate that modern collaborative CAD tools can open new opportunities for the way we teach and learn to design remotely with CAD.

Biographical Sketch

Alison Olechowski is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. Dr. Olechowski and her team study collaborative engineering design work. In particular, her lab is investigating modern collaborative CAD software, with the aim of uncovering new and effective ways to design. Dr. Olechowski completed her PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) studying product development decision-making during complex industry projects. Dr. Olechowski completed her BSc (Engineering) at Queen’s University and her MS at MIT, both in Mechanical Engineering. She has studied engineering products and projects in the automotive, electronics, aerospace, medical device and oil & gas industries.

The seminar series’ website: Management Sciences seminars