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Developing products with set-based design: How to set up an idea portfolio and a team organization to establish design feasibility


Schulze, Anja (2016). Developing products with set-based design: How to set up an idea portfolio and a team organization to establish design feasibility. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 30(03):235-249.

Abstract

Prior research has identified set-based design as a method that accounts for the high level of uncertainty that is associated with the design of innovative products or systems. Rather than precisely specifying a system architecture in the early design stages, set-based design builds on designing a system and its architecture in an evolutionary way. The literature on set-based design has studied how a system's design evolves by moving from a number of optional design ideas to the final system through gradually eliminating unfeasible design ideas and continually developing design ideas for which engineers increasingly establish feasibility. However, little is known about how firms set up the design process and the organization to successfully create new products with set-based design. Our research contributes to closing this gap. First, we study how firms determine the number (i.e., portfolio) of design ideas to pursue, an important step of the early design process. Second, we study how firms organize for set-based design by assigning teams to develop design ideas and eventually design a system's architecture. Our research uses an exploratory case study approach, investigating five cases in three different firms. First, we find that the early design process is characterized by the absence of formal idea evaluation and selection. Instead, firms start to pursue all initially created design ideas, evaluating and selecting them in an evolutionary manner as the design project progresses. Second, we identify two organizational approaches associated with set-based design: assign one team to pursue all ideas or assign one team per design idea.

Abstract

Prior research has identified set-based design as a method that accounts for the high level of uncertainty that is associated with the design of innovative products or systems. Rather than precisely specifying a system architecture in the early design stages, set-based design builds on designing a system and its architecture in an evolutionary way. The literature on set-based design has studied how a system's design evolves by moving from a number of optional design ideas to the final system through gradually eliminating unfeasible design ideas and continually developing design ideas for which engineers increasingly establish feasibility. However, little is known about how firms set up the design process and the organization to successfully create new products with set-based design. Our research contributes to closing this gap. First, we study how firms determine the number (i.e., portfolio) of design ideas to pursue, an important step of the early design process. Second, we study how firms organize for set-based design by assigning teams to develop design ideas and eventually design a system's architecture. Our research uses an exploratory case study approach, investigating five cases in three different firms. First, we find that the early design process is characterized by the absence of formal idea evaluation and selection. Instead, firms start to pursue all initially created design ideas, evaluating and selecting them in an evolutionary manner as the design project progresses. Second, we identify two organizational approaches associated with set-based design: assign one team to pursue all ideas or assign one team per design idea.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:14 July 2016
Deposited On:21 Dec 2016 13:27
Last Modified:15 Mar 2017 01:00
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0890-0604
Additional Information:Copyright: Cambridge University Press.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0890060416000226
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:14075

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