Dirty Tuesday - Clearing the mental block in the design process

Tuuli Utriainen*, Antti Sonninen, Maria Kulse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to discuss how short should design cycles be. In an iterative design process, two-week cycles might be too long when a design project is in the discovery phase. In an academic context, a pedagogical intervention can open the innovation space of design teams and help the members to add new aspects to their design process. A method to lower the design teams' threshold to try out ideas and bring down the design block, Dirty Tuesday, will be introduced and evaluated in this paper. The authors run a team-based, international product development course at their university. This Fall, a new brief prototyping cycle was introduced to help teams whose design process had come to a stand still. The exercise was called Dirty Tuesday and the five student teams of the course completed it in three hours. A tight deadline with clear outline made the teams produce quick prototypes and successfully helped to clear the mental block hindering their process. In addition to helping the teams move forward with their projects the method also engaged them to pursue a novel direction. The scope of this paper concentrates on the first stages of a global design project. According to our knowledge and experience, extremely short iterations in the exploratory stage might help teams to attain the best results. When the design team hits a brick wall or cannot proceed with new ideas, an intervention such as the Dirty Tuesday can be a constructive solution.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDS 69
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of E and PDE 2011, the 13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Sep 20119 Sep 2011
Conference number: 13


ConferenceInternational Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
Abbreviated titleE and PDE
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Design education
  • Design process management
  • Dirty Tuesday
  • Micro-cycles

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