Constraints and conditions: drivers for design processes

Eckert, Claudia and Stacey, Martin (2014). Constraints and conditions: drivers for design processes. In: Chakrabarti, Amaresh and Blessing, Lucienne eds. An Anthology of Theories and Models of Design: Philosophy, Approaches and Empirical Explorations. London: Springer, pp. 395–415.



A theory of design that is useful for understanding and improving design processes in industry should account for both the similarities and the differences between processes, across products, companies and industries, and indicate how they can be influenced. Design processes are shaped by the constraints the product and the process need to meet and the context in which development process takes place. This chapter advocates the incremental development of design theory by identifying the major causal drivers that influence how designing is done, and constructing and revising causal stories for how they affect design. A number of important drivers are identified and related to different types of constraints on products and processes; one important factor is whether or not conformity to requirements can be assessed objectively.

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