The Relationship between Functions and Outcomes of Biologically-Inspired Design

Nicklas Werge Svendsen, Torben Anker Lenau, Claus Thorp Hansen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

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Research in biologically-inspired design (BID) practice often focus on team composition or ideation based on an already discovered fascinating biological solution principle. However, how are the outcome of the early design phases affecting BID projects' quality?

In this study, historical data from 91 reports from student teams documenting their BID efforts from a 3-week course constitute the data source. Thus, the relationship between design problem types, function types, functions descriptions and BID projects' quality is addressed.

The study show that especially design problem types and function descriptions affect the BID projects' quality. For instance, BID projects dealing with open-ended problems yield better results than redesign problems with existing solutions operating in a very domain-limited solution space. Next, BID projects obtain the best results when using functions as drivers for analogy searching rather than properties. Finally, BID projects with certain function types seem to have more complicated conceptualization phases.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Design Society
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication date2021
Pages3091 - 3100
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event23rd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED21) - Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 16 Aug 202120 Aug 2021


Conference23rd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED21)
LocationChalmers University of Technology

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.


  • Bio-inspired design / biomimetics
  • Design practice
  • Design process
  • Function descriptions
  • Design problem types


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