Disruptive vs. Sustaining Technology and the Design Process

DS 58-7: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 7, Design for X / Design to X, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Kaldate, Amit; Thurston, Deborah; Rood, Mark
Section: Design for X, Design to X
Page(s): 277-288


The preliminary stages of design often focus on how to configure the artifact in such a way as to beat the existing competition in a performance attribute widely available in the marketplace. But this approach ignores an aspect of the business systems environment in which the product will exist. Business considerations, including competitive positioning and marketing, are most often addressed only after the product is fully developed. It is thus possible that the wrong performance attributes were improved, at the cost of ignoring others that could better enhance long term marketplace competitiveness. This can lead to products that are either not competitive, and/or that are not marketed in an appropriate manner. This paper presents a framework for including marketplace systems considerations into the early stages of product development. During this early stage, design decisions are being made that determine which performance attributes should be developed, and the extent to which efforts should be made to improve those features. An example of development of a novel air pollution control system is presented that illustrates the benefits of employing the framework.

Keywords: Sustaining, innovation, disruptive, marketing, commercialization


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