Risk-Driven Design Processes: Balancing Efficiency with Resilience in Product Design

Josef Oehmen, Warren Seering

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Current design methods and approaches focus on increasing the efficiency of the product design system by, for example, eliminating waste and focusing on value creation. However, continu-ing failures in the development of complex, large scale products and systems point towards weak-nesses in the existing approaches. We argue that product development organizations are hindered by the many uncertainties that are inherent in the process. Common management heuristics ignore uncertainty and thus overly simplify the decision making process. Creating transparency regarding uncertainties and the associated risks (i.e. effect of uncertainties on design objectives) is not seen as an explicit priority. Consequently organizations are unable to balance risk and return in their devel-opment choices. Product development processes do not emphasize reduction of risks, particularly those risks that are apparent early in the process. In addition, the resilience of the PD system, i.e. its ability to deliver on-target results under uncertainty, is not deliberately designed to match the level of residual uncertainty. This chapter introduces the notion of Risk-Driven Design and its four princi-ples of 1. Creating transparency regarding design risks; 2. Risk-driven decision making; 3. Minimizing uncertainty; and 4. Creating resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Future of Design Methodology
EditorsH. Birkhofer
PublisherSpringer Publishing Company
Publication date2011
ISBN (Print)978-0-85729-615-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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