Team:UC San Diego/Design Philosophy

Our Design Philosophy

We take design and communication seriously. Really seriously.

As a team, we learned that doing the work is only half the battle. It was important to clearly communicate the importance of our work, whether that was in the lab or amongst our communities. We noticed a trend among iGEM teams, and part of the problem was that they would do amazing technical work but be unable to communicate it in a way to non-technical people or not familiar with the space. We also faced that struggle early on, as it was extremely easy to become immersed into a certain aspect and then be unable to communicate the foundational assumptions of our work. Keeping this in mind, our team designed and incorporated a novel communication paradigm that was at the core of our integrated human practices. Whether the task was explaining the science of a particular product to investors, educating the public about a new technology, collaborating with other scientists, or communicating our team’s technical vision, we found that organizations achieve better outcomes for all when good communication is a top priority. It is important to not only have good ideas but also have good methods for expressing these ideas to others.

As a team, we have endeavored to explain the complex science behind our synthetic biology in ways that are intuitive for non-experts: clear diagrams and imagery that is instantly legible. At the same time, we recognize our ethical obligation to report both the advantages and limitations of our vision. This focus on accurate reporting is crucial particularly because the Epinoma system is a healthcare tool. If we communicate successfully, it will enable larger numbers of early adopters to use and become comfortable with our product; if we do not communicate successfully, there could be large-scale ethical ramifications.

We also realized that because one of the requirements for teams is to use their wiki to communicate the results, teams were often at a disadvantage if they were unable to use clear, crisp graphic design to communicate their ideas. In our design, we strive for a neutral design that is simple and to the point. For all teams, we have also created an open-source graphic design library for common principles that we hope will help future diagnostic and iGEM teams.


The UC San Diego iGem Team