Comparative study of design: application to Engineering DesignReport as inadecuate

Author: C. Earl, C. Eckert, L. Bucciarelli, D. Whitney, T. Knight, M. Stacey, A. Blackwell, S. Macmillan and P. J. Clarkson



A recent exploratory study examines design processes across domains and compares them.
This is achieved through a series of interdisciplinary, participative workshops.
A systematic framework is used to collect data from expert witnesses who are practising designers across domains from engineering through architecture to product design and fashion, including film production, pharmaceutical drugs, food, packaging, graphics and multimedia and software.
Similarities and differences across domains are described which indicate the types of comparative analysis we have been able to do from our data.
The paper goes further and speculates on possible lessons for selected areas of engineering design which can be drawn from comparison with processes in other domains.
As such this comparative design study offers the potential for improving engineering design processes.
More generally it is a first step in creating a discipline of comparative design which aims to provide a new rich picture of design processes ...

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