Design methods used during early stages of product development: Three company cases

Carlye A. Lauff, Daria Kotys-Schwartz, Mark E. Rentschler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Companies need to employ new design methods and tools to remain competitive in today's global economy. Design methods are used to help teams move through the different stages of the design process, such as during project scoping, concept generation, and concept selection. Concept generation design methods are meant to help teams generate diverse, novel, and creative potential solutions. However, most design methods are developed and refined based on studies with student teams. This limits our understanding of how professionals engage with design methods in practice. This is a case study exploring the design methods used by three companies during the early stages of new product development. These companies are from the consumer electronics, footwear, and medical devices industries, and each design team within the companies was tasked with developing a new physical end product. We identified that all three teams heavily relied on internal and external benchmarking and reverse engineering design methods as part of concept generation. Ultimately, the products they developed were all considered evolutionary, meaning that the final product was a slightly improved version of similar products already on the market. This contrasts revolutionary products, which can change or disrupt the current field in one or more ways. This research contributes to design theory and methodology through empirically studying how companies engage in the design process, identifying the methods employed by professionals, and raising new questions about design methods, especially translation to industry. This research also contributes to design education by identifying methods that professionals use in practice, which can translate to direct recommendations for improving project-based engineering design courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication30th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791851845
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2018 - Quebec City, Canada
Duration: Aug 26 2018Aug 29 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference
Volume7

Other

OtherASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2018
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityQuebec City
Period8/26/188/29/18

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Researcher Fellowship Program (GRFP) and CMMI Grant No. 1355599. Thank you to all the companies that participated in this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2018 ASME.

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