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Decision Making in Product Design: Bridging the Gap between Inception and Reality

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Design and Technology Education Volume 23, Number 2, ISSN 1360-1431


Product Design in the modern world is a complex multifaceted discipline comprising of many skills and applications. It also operates in broader cross-disciplinary contexts within direct teams, while also contributing to the strategic business processes of commercial enterprises, government/councils and not for profit organizations. 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 of this is that designers are being asked to undertake increasingly complex challenges where the consequences of making good or bad decisions have far reaching implications for the future of an organization. Education needs to train designers to recognize and operate in these complex situations. As a response Universities now include project or design management within curriculum. "The new program 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" (Guo, 2015). 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 (Norman, 2010). 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 feasibility concepts against a hierarchy of criteria. Would designers see the value or would they perceive it as an intrusive addition to what they believe should be an intuitive process?


Lindley, J., Adams, R. & Wynn, L. (2018). Decision Making in Product Design: Bridging the Gap between Inception and Reality. Design and Technology Education, 23(2),. Retrieved October 21, 2020 from .

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