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Showcasing exemplars of how various aspects of design research were successfully transitioned into and influenced, design practice, this book features chapters written by eminent international researchers and practitioners from industry on the Impact of Design Research on Industrial Practice.

Chapters written by internationally acclaimed researchers of design analyse the findings (guidelines, methods and tools), technologies/products and educational approaches that have been transferred as tools, technologies and people to transform industrial practice of engineering design, whilst the chapters that are written by industrial practitioners describe their experience of how various tools, technologies and training impacted design practice.

The main benefit of this book, for educators, researchers and practitioners in (engineering) design, will be access to a comprehensive coverage of case studies of successful transfer of outcomes of design research into practice; as well as guidelines and platforms for successful transfer of research into practice.



Surveys and Summaries


Preparing for the Transfer of Research Results to Practice: Best Practice Heuristics

Although the development of methods and tools was for many decades the main focus of design research, transfer of research results to practice has been fragmented and limited and, hence, had a low impact. Various studies into the problems involved in transfer have been undertaken  the uptake of the recommended improvements has been limited. One of the reasons, in our opinion, is the lack of a coherent, and agreed upon set of heuristics. This is where we intend to contribute. In this chapter we focus on the transfer of design research results into practice as experienced by those who have been involved in their development. Our aim is to propose a preliminary set of best practice heuristics for researchers to enhance the chances of successful transfer of research results into practice as a starting point for discussion and further research.
Lucienne Blessing, Warren Seering

Are Methods the Key to Product Development Success? An Empirical Analysis of Method Application in New Product Development

This article analyzes method application in the context of new product development. Based on a study of 410 new product development projects, it is shown that applying methods in new product development leads directly to superior financial performance of the developed product (by reducing product costs, for example) and also leads indirectly to a greater degree of innovativeness, better cross-functional collaboration, and shorter time to market. The optimal combination of different method categories is examined and two key determinants of the successful adoption of new product development methods are analyzed, showing how firms can actively improve on what in some cases are very high failure rates of new products.
M. Graner

Patterns and Paths for Realising Design-Led Impact: A Study of UK REF Cases Studies

Engineering research is by its definition concerned with not so much an exhaustive investigation of fundamental principles but generating sufficient understanding so as to be able to reliably predict behaviour for the purpose of improving design.
Ben Hicks

Results From the Breakout Sessions of Group A

This chapter summarizes the results of a discussion between participants from academia and industry about their experiences in transferring design research into practice. The results are divided into guidelines for successful transfer and measures for supporting on-going interation between academia and practice.
Luciënne Blessing, Alessandro Baldussu, Gaetano Casini, Georgi V. Gerogiev, Jöran Grieb, Josef Ponn, Maik Maurer, Ralf Stetter

Results From the Breakout Sessions of Group B

Based on the experience of the participants, what guidelines can be formulated for successful transition of design research into practice?
Chris McMahon, Niccolò Becattini, Amaresh Chakrabarti, Udo Lindemann, Benoit Weil, Burkhard Wolf, Kris Wood

Experience from Academia


Impacts of Function-Related Research on Education and Industry

Designers have long understood that a device must function well in order to satisfy its users, but only relatively recently has function been studied formally and extensively. The corresponding function-based paradigm focuses on abstracting what a system does separately from what it is. Within this paradigm, it is important to communicate abstract functions in a consistent manner, without binding them to their embodiments. This chapter discusses two recent outcomes in function-based design research, their impacts on education and industry, and the authors’ observations regarding their adoption into practice. The first of these outcomes is an information schema for capturing design artifact knowledge, which includes a standardized function taxonomy. The information schema provides guidance for teaching functional thinking, and also supports basic computational design techniques during conceptual design. The second research outcome is a conceptual linking between functions and failure modes, enabling new types of failure analysis techniques in early design. Both research outcomes are likely still in the early stages of impacting practice, but evidence points toward the most immediate impacts occurring during education. While the industry is typically more reserved regarding the details of their design practices, the chapter also presents several instances of practical interest in function-based design approaches.
Ryan M. Arlitt, Robert B. Stone, Irem Y. Tumer

A Framework for the Dissemination of Design Research Focused on Innovation

This contribution presents an original framework for transferring the results of design research into practice, specifically addressing the need of creating a circle of players from various companies interested in being part of both the mass dissemination process of already tested methodologies and in pilot experiences and preliminary dissemination activities with the latest design research developments. Moreover, the paper focuses the attention on the existing metrics for evaluating the impact and the viability of adoption of design methodologies in practical contexts, showing their lacks in covering aspects mostly related to the dissemination of design research concepts. An original metric is described and applied to six case studies of industrial interest that have been carried out, with the objective of consolidating the acquisition of skills through the practical application of more theoretical elements, by employees of industries that have already received a basic training. The main results are discussed also with a broader perspective, so as to highlight the potential benefits deriving from the adoption of a shared metrics to measure this kind of knowledge transmission from design research to practical applications.
Niccolò Becattini, Gaetano Cascini, Francesco Saverio Frillici, Filippo Silipigni

Impact of Design Research on Practice: The IISc Experience

This chapter undertakes a look into the broad development of design practice, research and education in the Indian context, and uses some of the major developments at Indian Institute of Science (IISc) as exemplars to illustrate its impact on design practice, research, and education. The outcomes of design research can influence practice through multiple routes: by developing organizations of practice to use outcomes of design or its research; by developing products or systems for use by organizations of practice; by developing support and transferring them for use in practice; by developing students, via training in product or support development; or by developing teachers and researchers, via training in research, teaching and/or practice of product or support development, so that they can train students or carry out research in organizations or change practice via any of the other routes. The chapter illustrates each route with exemplars from work carried out at IISc.
Amaresh Chakrabarti

Industrial, and Innovation Design Engineering

The Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) double masters programme, run jointly by the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London is now in its 34th year. Originally called Industrial Design Engineering, the aim of the programme was to provide an educational pathway for taking graduate engineers and produce a new type of industrial designer. The two-year full-time programme involves a series of themed but student-directed projects in the first year, prior to major group and solo projects in the second year. This chapter introduces the original purpose of the programme, documents some of the transitions as well as providing a description of the current format of the programme, with a particular focus on addressing the needs of industry and those of individual students and graduates, and the sometime tensions between these. The Innovation Design Engineering is characterised by a ‘borrowed discourse’ with no distinct disciplinary language owned by the community at the moment. This is manifest in the extensive engagement by the students in their collaborations across the Departments and Research Centres at Imperial and their willingness to explore diverse innovation spaces. Traditionally, graduates have gained subsequent employment in corporations and design consultancies. The last 5 years have seen a significant shift with the greater proportion of graduates setting up their own businesses and consultancies on completion of the programme.
P R N Childs, M Pennington

Clemson Engineering Design—Applications and Research (CEDAR) Group—Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA

In this chapter, the authors summarize many years of design research at Clemson University and the subsequent impact on industrial practice, particularly in the evolution and transition of disparate ideas into cohesive concepts that were eventually transitioned to industry. In design research, a broad area of endeavor, design theories take the longest to develop and are the slowest to transition to industry. However, the development of methods, practices, and their applications to industrial problems are much quicker to transfer, since industry professionals see the immediate potential benefits or shortcomings of the methods and issues of interest to them. Finally, the training of students at all levels in design practice certainly affects industry as many assume positions in, and affect the practices of their companies.
Georges Fadel, Gregory Mocko, Joshua Summers

Evaluating Tactual Experience with Products

This chapter focuses on design research that analyzes users’ tactual experience with product interfaces, especially, the analysis of users’ impressions of such experiences. In practice, a systematic approach is required to evaluate users’ interactions with product interfaces. Therefore, the research objective is to propose a systematic method and tools for evaluating users’ tactual interaction with products on the basis of users’ inexplicit impressions, so that the method should benefit the practice. The method was developed and applied in a case to evaluate users’ tactual interactions with product interfaces in the context of the car industry, particularly in the research and development of interfaces of vehicles. The method was applied in a trial evaluation for vehicle interfaces of navigation systems, audio systems, and air conditioning systems. The role of this design research is to propose a systematic approach to evaluate product interfaces based on users’ inexplicit impressions and deeper feelings; this approach can be applied in practice of product design. Based on the inconclusive results of this first application in practice, further developments of the method are needed.
Georgi V. Georgiev, Yukari Nagai, Toshiharu Taura

Multiple Forms of Applications and Impacts of a Design Theory: 10 Years of Industrial Applications of C-K Theory

C-K theory has been developed by Armand Hatchuel and Benoit Weil and then by other researchers since 1990s. In this chapter, we show that its very abstract nature and its high degree of universality actually supported a large variety of industrial applications. We distinguish three types of applications: (1) C-K theory provides a new language, that supports new analysis and descriptive capacity and new teachable individual models of thoughts; (2) C-K theory provides a very general framework to better characterize the validity domain and the performance conditions of existing methods, leading to potential improvement of these methods; (3) C-K theory is the conceptual model at the root of new design methods that are today largely used in the industry.
Armand Hatchuel, Pascal Le Masson, Benoit Weil, Marine Agogué, Akin Kazakçi, Sophie Hooge

People with a Paradigm: The Center for Design Research’s Contributions to Practice

Stanford University’s Center for Design Research has been in operation for 30 years. Its primary impact on practice comes through its people. In this chapter, we summarize the CDR’s research approach and themes, and then look at the mechanisms through which the people of CDR affect the landscape of industry and education and impact the practice of design.
Wendy Ju, Lauren Aquino Shluzas, Larry Leifer

Impact of Design Research on Practitioners in Industry

Design research is well established within a lot of universities mainly within developed countries. It is hard to define the beginning of these research activities. Looking at Germany, about 50 years ago, a number of institutes were founded or existing ones moved to design research and teaching. With time, the interdisciplinary character of engineering design and design research became more visible. It is a good tradition in scientific communities to evaluate the impact of research activities, usually on a long-term basis. This chapter is based on experience and observations on a long-term basis. Further, research regarding the impact of design research is urgently required, although it is difficult because of long-term effects and a lot of influences that we cannot control.
Udo Lindemann

Rationalization Process for Industrial Production: Centres of Design Excellence and Prototyping

This article proposes a rationalization process of industrial production of consumer products with the structure of a possible solution. Moreover, its advantages are discussed. The application of a double filter to industrialize products is proposed. The filter would consist in an initial evaluation of innovation quality and design improvement, followed by an assessment of design excellence and production viability from the social point of view by an international entity. Centres of Design Excellence and Prototyping (CDEP) would not be related to manufacturing companies, which would compete to come up with the best design candidates for fabrication. Moreover, designers would have free design direction and a socially recognized status. This article also lists several doctoral theses and other research works on the enhancement of conceptual design and manufacturing processes of innovative products developed in UPC (Barcelona), within the framework of a common doctoral program by three Spanish universities, i.e. UdG (in Girona)—UPC—UJI (in Castelló), are the basis of the research here described. Most of UPC’s research results could be used to implement improvements in the CDEP. The last section concerns the impact on practice of the Barcelona group’s design research, and draws some conclusions.
J. Lloveras

Facing Complex Challenges—Project Observations

Today, the terms “complex” and “complicated” suffer from overuse—without providing a clear definition of these terms. This contribution shows the implementation of a practice-oriented definition for an industry project as a basis for a clear scope of action. Subsequently, it is clarified that increasing complexity in project management mostly originates from increasing system interdependencies. And knowing about these interdependencies allows solving complexity challenges with adequate strategies and methods. This contribution deals with the problem of steadily growing complexity and lack of its understanding in connection with missing solutions. Therefore, a research project was initiated for explicating the stepwise identification of types of complexity, promising strategies, and useful methods for managing complexity. Applied in the context of an industry project this allowed preventing the failure of premature selection of a specific method in case of insufficient transparency of the challenge. The contribution presents a straightforward process for identifying types of complexity, promising strategies, and useful methods in a project context. It is clarified why established methods of complexity management can result in insufficient solutions when applied in the wrong context.
M. Maurer

Faceted Browsing: The Convoluted Journey from Idea to Application

This article describes the development of a team’s research in engineering applications of faceted classification and search over some 20 years, from early experiments in novel information systems to routine use and development of a growing body of knowledge about how the techniques may be applied. It is intended as an illustration not only of an outcome from design research that has influenced practice but also of some of the socio-technical patterns that may be observed in the development and exploitation of research outputs, which is important to understand if we are to best exploit the results of research.
Chris McMahon

Successful Industrial and Academia Cooperation in Technology Industry

Finland activated its R&D funding through the establishment of the governmental Technology Development Agency TEKES in 1983. At that time the former Federation of Finnish Metal Industry (nowadays the Federation of Technology Industries) started technology development and cooperation with universities. Since the 1980s TEKES and Technology Industries created several technology development programs, e.g., Mechatronics, Computer Aided Design, and the latest one Digital Product Processes. These technology programs have been the most important platform for industrial and academia cooperation. The technology programs have also worked as bridges to international cooperation. Through programs it has been possible to participate in the global research program, namely Intelligent Manufacturing Systems-IMS, to send researchers to foreign research groups like Denmark Technical University, Stanford University, MIT, NIST to mention a few. Technology programs have invited foreign professors and consultants to present their studies and methodologies. Namely, Creativity technics as Synectics, TRIZ; Generic Design Methodology; Design Structure Matrices—DSM; Quality Function Development QFD; Expert Systems; SA/SD methods; Product Life Cycle Management were adapted by Finish research and teaching. However, we see that the brought methodologies and platforms shall be developed forward, because industry is doing business in a global, networked environment. New business models impacting the product development of many high volume consumer products have transformed to Original Design Manufacturers (ODM). Universities are also in worldwide cooperation and competition at the same time. There is a quest for new type of discussion forums, of which is the NABC model (NEEDS; APPROACH; BENEFITS and COMPETITION) created and taught by Stanford Research Institute (SRI 2012), which is very beneficial, while we discuss with funding agencies and companies. In this article, we present some approaches and their benefits in academia and industry cooperation.
A. Riitahuhta, H. Oja

Changing Conversations and Perceptions: The Research and Practice of Design Science

Although design science is a relatively young field, the impact of design research upon industry is evident in the literature, in the practice of design by academics, and in the experience set of the authors. This chapter provides evidence of impact from three sources, two studies of design literature, and one survey of design researchers. It is found that more than one third of design research articles, despite focusing on theory, include engagements with industry, and, complementarily, a majority of design researchers have patents, industry experience, or both. These studies of design literature and design researchers change our perceptions of the impact of design research on practice and initiate a new conversation. In the context of research findings and models of transferring general fields of research to practice, design research impacts practice in a variety of tangible and long-lasting ways. Building upon these analyses, we develop a first set of guidelines for transferring design research to practice. These guidelines are illustrated by selected examples and outcomes from the authors’ experiences. The frontier of design science, especially the impact on practice, is exciting and filled with unlimited potential. Changing conversations and perceptions is a critical first step in building the community’s tremendous past successes. Through proven guidelines, we may realize our potential and create a sustainable ecosystem of transferring design research to practice.
Cassandra Telenko, Ricardo Sosa, Kristin L. Wood

Development of Function Modeling and Its Application to Self-maintenance Machine

This chapter discusses the impact of design research on practice by taking two cases; function modeling and self-maintenance machines deployed from the function modeling research.
Y. Umeda, T. Tomiyama

Experience from Practice


Experience with Development Methods at Three Innovative Hidden Champions

Innovative industrial companies are lead successfully by CEOs directly responsible also for product development. The strategic plan of those companies includes product development directions, which can be efficiently worked out using a lean scenario technique. It helped that all new product ideas were collected centrally in an idea pool and evaluated together with top management giving definite priorities but not cancelling too “digital” ideas with a good chance of benefit. A roadmap should visualise all finally planned projects including feasibility studies and it should contain all relevant economical and technical features. The roadmap is the essential basis for efficient multiproject management. It must be actualized regularly accompanied by priority setting and consequent decisions. Head of each project is a project leader who must be mandated with formal authority supported by top management. The distinction was extremely purposeful between a market specification product profile and derived from that a technical specification document; both product specifications have to be signed by sales and development top management. Methods were success promoting when pragmatically improving communication in the project, finding technical solutions or optimising quality and costs. Methodically educated employers supported obviously the development success, this is often underestimated also during the embodiment phase. Teaching those development methods must be intensified in university and professional education. Intensive research is necessary in real industrial environment investigating how to improve the practical use of academically well-known methods and how to optimise the product development processes on management and on project level.
Gerd Fricke

Design as an Unstructured Problem: New Methods to Help Reduce Uncertainty—A Practitioner Perspective

At inception, much design activity is unstructured and as such is faced with an array of uncertainties. If not addressed early enough these uncertainties can gestate into undesirable outcomes which the design team will find difficult to redress at later stages in project—especially, where the project is constrained by resources (time, money, people). In order to militate against such circumstances occurring the design team has to understand both the nature of the problem facing it and the nature of the uncertainties contained within the problem space. These issues impact not just at the creative, early stage of the project but across the design spectrum. The chapter begins by identifying the main elements within this spectrum; creativity, innovation and the oft-neglected execution phase. Two core conditions that designers have to come to terms within this process, are then explored: how can problems be categorized and which of these variants is the most problematical? The second condition addresses the nature of uncertainty when applied to the more intractable end of the problem scale. In response to design situations governed by these two conditions, methods that support decision making and mitigate risk are introduced under the broad category of Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs). Within the gamut of methods available the authors then explore the particular value of two methods which operate best when faced with qualitative judgment rather that observed metrics; morphological analysis to help generate and identify viable possibilities followed by Multi-criteria Decision Analysis which can help position these possibilities in a hierarchy. Finally, an argument is posited that the design process or system has to take into account an understanding of the business model for the designed item as this can impact success or failure at the execution phase when the end product is introduced to the end user. Early consideration of the business model (in all its variety) can redress some of the inherent uncertainties during the overall design process.
Bruce Garvey, Peter Childs

Executing Distributed Development in Industry and the Influence of Design Research

This chapter looks into distributed development in industry and the question of the influence of design research. The authors describe an example of distributed development in praxis and discuss the connections to design research. Thereafter the communication and transition of insights between industry and academia in general is discussed. Besides already successful cooperation the authors identify room for improvement and propose to deliberately consider the three different roles of “academia,” “industry partner,” and “industry consumer” when setting up information exchange or joint research projects consisting of members from industry and academia.
Jöran Grieb, Christian Quandt

A Collaborative Engineering Design Research Model—An Aerospace Manufacturer’s View

Bringing new technologies into products and out to a market require continuously improved methods, tools, and skills in engineering design. Following, a brief introduction into challenges for an engine component manufacturer and how engineering design research play an integral role, the aim of this chapter is to discuss experiences from university and industry collaborative research. The university and industry collaborative research is a necessary means to improve practice in industry, and the experience narrated through the cases presented will give some basis as to why this has been, and continues to be the case. Four collaborative research modes are introduced where after three cases from GKN Aerospace Engine Systems as are presented where design research have made impact in several ways. Common to all cases is the long term and deep relation between the academic research team and the company’s key stakeholders, who have been decisive to efficiently transit research results into practice. A common understanding of the challenges while ensuring mutual benefit in research initiatives is considered a key pre-requisite for successful introduction of Engineering Design research results. A main argument is that for adoption of research results that impacts the mindset of people—which is often the case of engineering design research—the research must be seen from a change management perspective. The success factors and learning’s are summarized into key factors for enabling an effective and efficient collaborative design research.
Ola Isaksson

Implementing Product Architecture in Industry: Impact of Engineering Design Research

This chapter details the setup of how a new engineering design approach, namely the systematic design of “product architecture” in the early phases of the engineering design process at the commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN Truck & Bus AG, was integrated into an existing process landscape. As part of this implementation, models, methods, and tools from engineering design research were drawn upon, and their impact as part of the implementation is discussed.
Matthias Kreimeyer

Verification Upstream Process, a Quality Assurance Method for Product Development in ODM Mode

Product development of many high-volume consumer products has moved to original design manufacturers (ODM) during last few years. The ODM market has grown steadily and has been estimated to reach several hundreds of billions euro currently. In ODM business mode, ODM customer sets requirements for product, carries out quality assurance activities, and approves the product finally. ODM’s role is to manufacture the product and to participate in product development activities with ODM customer or to do the research and development completely by itself. Naturally, there are remarkable differences between the ODM and ODM customer in order to make this working mode meaningful. ODM’s development and manufacturing may be closer to market, resourcing can be more flexible and thus shortening time to market, labor costs can be lower or ODM may simple have specific knowledge on new technology like electronics chipset needed in the product. In this article, we describe the benefits and challenges of ODM mode. The main focus is on quality assurance activities. We describe how one quality assurance method verification upstream process (VUP) can be used in ODM business mode. With VUP, we can improve verification and validation (V&V) requirements setting, harmonize V&V tools and methods as well as to improve results reporting. VUP focuses on early risk management, where ODM takes care of part of quality assurance by itself.
Antti Perttula

Understanding the Gaps and Building Bridges for Synergy—How to Promote the Dialogue Between Design Research and Design Practice

“What is the impact of design research on practice?” To be able to answer that question it is helpful to understand the nature and circumstances of design research and design practice. Pathways from academia into industry are discussed in general and by concrete examples taken from the personal background of the author of this contribution. A major prerequisite for generating impact is to maintain a dialogue between both parties. The current situation of this dialogue is reviewed, leading to the conclusion that there exist strong gaps and hurdles. Based on the analysis and understanding of these gaps, a proposal is made for enhancing the communication between design research and design practice.
Josef Ponn

Development and Application of an Integrated Approach to CAD Design in an Industrial Context

This chapter presents an integrated approach to their use in four main sections. After presentation of the results of a literature survey on the field of parametric associative CAD design systems, the chapter will present the results of a descriptive study which has been accomplished to identify the challenges, problems, and weaknesses involved in the current use of the parametric associative CAD systems in the automotive design process. The next section presents a prescriptive study in which the different phases and subphases of a newly developed parametric associative approach (PARAMASS) are described, based on the identified factors and indicators in the previous section. By means of designing an inlet valve assembly, the different phases of the developed approach are demonstrated and presented. Finally, a quantitative evaluation of the important factors of the developed integrated approach will be presented.
Salehi Vahid

Adoption and Refusal of Design Strategies, Methods, and Tools in Automotive Industry

Design research has resulted in a deepened understanding about the design process as well as characteristics and proceeding schemes of single designers and design teams. Additionally, numerous strategies, methods, and tools were developed in the last decades. Not all the results could be successfully applied in industrial practice. This chapter seeks to contribute to the exploration of the causes for failure or success in a certain branch of industry—the automotive industry—from a certain view point. The objective is not to present a concise and complete exploration of the phenomenon of adoption and refusal of design strategies, methods, and tools but instead to contribute explanation hypotheses for certain partial phenomena. The chapter first explains the view point and the source of insight, presents the design research outcomes to be transferred, and discusses some specialties of the specific industry branch. Then a model of the transfer of design research results into industry is presented. This model presents the basis for the later detailed discussion of the insights.
Stetter Ralf

When and How Do Designers in Practice Use Methods?

Designers in practice do not use methods as explicitly as design teachers and researchers expect it. Observing good experienced designers one often can discover methodical skills and intuitive systematic approaches. Methods—as they are taught in design courses at the university—can only be found in the daily routine, when it is demanded by the management, e.g., in the companies’ design project guideline.
Burkhard Wolf


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