DECISION MAKING IN PRODUCT DESIGN – BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN INCEPTION AND REALITY
DS 88: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE17), Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future, Oslo, Norway, 7 & 8 September 2017
Editor: Berg, Arild; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon; Gulden, Tore; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Pavel, Nenad
Author: Lindley, Julian; Adams, Richard; Wynn, Les
Institution: 1: University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom; 2: HCL Europe, United Kingdom
Section: Collaboration and Industrial involvement in Design Education
Product Design in the modern world is a complex multifaceted discipline comprising of many skills and applications. It also operates in cross-disciplinary contexts both in direct teams but also contributing to strategic business of manufacturers, government/councils and not for profit organisations. It is no longer a purely creative problem solving activity where a good idea or innovation is enough to push forward a new product. For the majority of the design profession the days of design on the back of an envelope are gone. Today design is a structured activity with recognizable and repeatable methodologies and processes. Within this the profession is acknowledging and aligning with the principles of business management. A consequence is that designers are capable of undertaking ever increasingly complex challenges. Education needs to train designers to recognise and operate in these complex situations. As a response Universities now include project or design management within curriculum. ‘The new programme should equip the students with not only the ability to design, manufacture and test design solutions; but also with a firm knowledge of business strategy’  However the authors have recognized a gap within the profession and education for a more structured and validated approach to decision making within the design process. This paper outlines a pilot study within a student project whereby professional decision making tools are introduced to final year students and used to validate selection of appropriate designs from initial concepts against a hierarchy of criteria.