Design perspectives, theories and processes for engineering systems design

Isaksson, Ola; Wynn, David and Eckert, Claudia (2022). Design perspectives, theories and processes for engineering systems design. In: Maier, Anja; Oehmen, Josef and Vermaas, Pieter eds. Handbook of Engineering Systems Design. Springer, pp. 53–99.



Engineering systems are socio-technical systems that provide solutions to fundamental economic and societal challenges. Such systems are complex in both technical and human terms. Engineering systems evolve over time, and uncertainty over time plays a decisive role. Perspectives on design, design theories and design processes can be used to guide and support designers of engineering systems. This chapter provides an introduction to several well-established perspectives on design, such as Design as participatory activity, Design as unique mode of thinking etc. In the same way design theories are introduced, exemplified by C-K theory, Axiomatic Design, Domain Theory and others; and an introduction to well-known processes, including Stage-based, Agile and Set-Based models and many more is provided. It is explained how each of the discussed approaches offer valuable insights that help to address different aspects of complex systems design. The evolution of the approaches reflects the evolving recognition of users and context when designing engineering systems.

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