I suppose you could say it about a lot of fields, but to me, industrial design is problem-solving. And the education involved--at least the one I had, which combined theory, a good amount of hands-on work, and very limited resources--imparted a strong sense of DIY, which is why many of us at school made a lot of the things in our dorms, apartments and studio spaces with our own hands. We always had a sense that if you couldn't find something you needed, or you found it but couldn't afford to buy it, you made one yourself.
A good case study of this type of mentality has popped up in, of all places, Fashion Wire Daily. They're running the inspiring story of Martha Davis, an industrial designer of 15 years who used her DIY mentality to reinvent her very career:
As a devoted consumer of shoes herself, Davis, whose studio is currently based in San Francisco, felt she couldn't quite find what she was looking for - a shoe that was practical, understated and unique, but not intimidatingly radical.
"I wanted to get back to making things," she said, "so I decided to give shoes a try." So she booked a trip to Italy, took a shoe design course in Milan and now two years and four collections later, Davis is making comfortable, yet highly stylish shoes that fuse traditional hand-made Italian shoemaking techniques with a distinctive modernist design and a bold color sensibility.
Writes Davis on her website, "I look at where the foot needs to be supported and where it does not, then how the materials and shapes can be arranged in an interesting way." Her shoes are now being sold on four continents, and you can take a look at her line here.