Selection and use of engineering design methods using creative problems solving principles

University dissertation from Luleå : Luleå tekniska universitet

Abstract: Many modern products require the careful planning of a vast number of aspects of their life cycle to succeed in the market, such as, financing, functionality, quality, reliability, environmental impact, manufacturing process, relationship with suppliers, etc. Potentially, the numerous domain- independent design methods generated for decades in the fields of engineering design and creative problem solving (CPS) have much to offer in today's complex multi-objective product design activity. However, the number of methods used in industry is relatively small, especially in early stages of design. Of those that are used, some are practised at the wrong stage or incorrectly. Incorrect selection of methods occurs often. It leads to poor results and to distrust of design methods generally, and has been identified as one of the main causes for the lack of design methods in industry. This thesis deals with the development of a strategy to undertake correct selection and use of methods in industry. It covers design methods to explore problems, to generate ideas and to evaluate concepts. Three papers, A-C, have been included in this licentiate thesis. The first paper, Managing uncertainty in the design and development process by appropriate methods selection, is of a theoretical nature and investigates a principle to help engineers in the correct selection of methods. The second paper, The application of the 4Ps model to the management of creativity & innovation in product development, explains a case study conducted at Volvo Car Corporation that explores the characteristics of engineering practice and the problem and need of implementing methods in industry. Finally the third paper, Exploring the need for an interactive software tool for the appropriate selection of engineering design methods, explains how the principle of method selection can be applied in industry so that engineers learn with the minimum of difficulty how to select and use methods correctly.