Specifications in early conceptual design work

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    In early conceptual design the design team is working in an uncertain situation, where the understanding of a need is limited and not much is known about the solution space. In this situation the design team has to both analyse need and explore solution space. Thus, the team has to formulate design specifications, which express attractive product goals, and has to synthesise the product idea. The authors of this paper see a challenge to enhance and improve our understanding of the nature of design specifications as a means to support the synthesis of a product idea. In this empirical study we analyse the structure and content of design specifications during early ideation activities, where initial design specifications are formulated and a product idea is synthesised. We have analysed specification documents of 19 teams of novice designers. Our analysis indicates that a productive product design specification in early conceptual design consists of few specification statements, which express value, important aspects of product context and articulate key functions. A product design specification, which contains a lot of specification statements about product properties, is not productive to support the synthesis of a product idea.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDesign for Society : Knowledge, Innovation and Sustainability
    Place of PublicationParis
    PublisherEcole Central Paris & The Design Society
    Publication date2007
    ISBN (Print)1-904670-02-4, 1-904670-02-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    Event16th International Conference on Engineering Design - Paris, France
    Duration: 28 Aug 200731 Aug 2007
    Conference number: 16


    Conference16th International Conference on Engineering Design


    • Innovative ideation
    • Goal specifications
    • Empirical study


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