ering design: What’s the difference?

DS 87-2 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 2: Design Processes, Design Organisation and Management, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Greene, Melissa; Gonzalez, Richard; Papalambros, Panos; McGowan, Anna-Maria
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: University of Michigan, United States of America; 2: NASA Langley Research Center, United States of America
Section: Design Processes, Design Organisation and Management
Page(s): 467-476


Design thinking (DT) and engineering systems thinking (EST) are two complementary approaches to understanding cognition, organization, and other non-technical factors that influence the design and performance of engineering systems. Until relatively recently, these two concepts have been explored in isolation from one another; design thinking methods have been applied to industrial design and product development, while engineering systems thinking is used in professional systems engineering practice and large-scale, complex systems design. This work seeks to explore the relationship between these two concepts, comparing their historical development, values, applications, and methods. The primary contribution of the work is a set of four concept models that depict plausible relationships between design thinking and systems thinking for engineering design.

Keywords: Design cognition, Design theory, Design methodology, Systems Engineering (SE), Multi- / Cross- / Trans-disciplinary processes


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