Pieter van Langen

How to determine objectives in 3 easy steps

How to determine objectives in 3 easy steps

Seven sorts of knowledge constitute the foundation of abilities. Abilities usually do not come naturally but need to be developed. This post explains how to determine objectives for developing abilities.

Steps to determine objectives

Suppose that you have identified an ability that you deem relevant for a given purpose. How can you determine an objective to develop this ability? You can do this in three steps.

looks_one

Significance

Define what the ability means for your purpose.

looks_two

Direction

Define a course of action for developing the ability.

looks_3

Priority

Define the importance and urgency of developing the ability.

Significance

You can perform a VRIO analysis to determine the significance of a given ability. This allows you to find out four relevant properties. These properties are:

Valuable

Valuable

Able to exploit opportunities and defend against threats (yes/no).

Rare

Rare

Scarce and difficult to acquire in the market (yes/no).

Inimitable

Inimitable

Hard to copy or substitute (yes/no).

Organized

Organized

Set up to capitalize on resources (yes/no).

Direction

Determine a course of action for developing a given ability as follows:

call_split

Phase out

If it is not valuable (anymore).

play_for_work

Specialize

If it is valuable, but not rare.

call_merge

Integrate

If it is valuable and rare, but not inimitable.

sync

Exploit

If it is valuable, rare, and inimitable, but not organized.

update

Maintain

If it is valuable, rare, inimitable, and organized.

Priority

Determine a priority for developing a given ability as follows:

priority_high

Do

If its development is urgent and requires your personal attention.

watch_later

Plan

If its development is less urgent but requires your personal attention.

send

Delegate

If its development is urgent but does not require your personal attention.

not_interested

Eliminate

If its development is less urgent and does not require your personal attention.

Posted by Pieter van Langen in Handbook
Tunnel design

Tunnel design

Preparation

room_service

Service

Name. Tunnel design.

Design object. A tunnel through rock, soil, or water.

Specifics. Fixed price.

description

Situation

Description. Designers of seven different disciplines each make partial designs of a tunnel to be constructed. They align their partial designs regularly to form an integral design. When they find conflicts between their partial designs, they resolve them by modifying their partial designs.

Critical success factors. The process of finding and resolving conflicts between partial designs takes precious time.

Current position. The service is less valuable than desired.

gps_fixed

Ambition

Kind of advantage to achieve. Valuable in terms of team performance.

Formulation. Designers manage conflicts between their partial designs in less time.

add_shopping_cart

Possibilities

Options. Ways to improve conflict management:

  • Find a conflict between partial designs as quickly as possible.
  • Resolve a conflict between partial designs as quickly as possible.

Analysis. Worth pursuing.

Assessment to upgrade to leading tunnel design

Filling out expectations

Expectations

Ways to improve conflict management:

  • Prevent a conflict between partial designs as much as possible.
  • Find a conflict between partial designs as quickly as possible.
  • Resolve a conflict between partial designs as quickly as possible.
Framing the situation

Frame

Prevention is better than cure to improve conflict management:

  • Prevent a conflict between partial designs as much as possible.
Formulating the problem

Problem

Question. How can designers prevent a conflict between partial designs as much as possible?

Issue. While making partial designs, designers do not know from each other what the other is doing.

Prognosis. Favourable: there are possibilities to do something about it.

Advice to upgrade to leading tunnel design

Devising a concept

Concept

Question. How can designers prevent a conflict between partial designs as much as possible?

Idea.

  • Express a tunnel design in a common formal digital language.
  • Process a tunnel design in a shared digital repository.
    • Create
    • Update
    • Maintain
    • Archive
Developing a solution

Solution

Idea. Express a tunnel design in a common formal digital language.

Action.

  1. Define a design ontology.
  2. Transform the design ontology in a formal meta-model.
  3. Manage the formal meta-model.
Developing a solution

Solution

Idea. Process a tunnel design in a shared digital repository.

Action.

  1. Create a digital repository.
  2. Implement the formal meta-model in the digital repository.
  3. Train designers in designing using the digital repository.
  4. Manage the digital repository.
Posted by Pieter van Langen in Research
Plant redesign

Plant redesign

Preparation

room_service

Service

Name. Plant redesign.

Design object. An existing plant.

Specifics. Design to revamp (i.e., renovate or expand).

description

Situation

Description. Plant redesign comprises three stages. First, one of the designers is tasked with producing a conceptual design. Then, a small team prepares a preliminary design. Subsequently, a larger team produces a detailed design.

Critical success factors. The principal designer is the only one who masters the stage of conceptual design. Training designers in this stage has not been successful. Since the expertise required is largely unique, hiring is not an option.

Current position. The plant redesign service is less valuable than desired in the stage of conceptual design.

gps_fixed

Ambition

Kind of advantage to achieve. Valuable in terms of team performance.

Formulation. The key man risk in the stage of conceptual design is mitigated.

Indicators. The success of mitigating the key man risk in the stage of conceptual design is determined as follows:

  • #X designers master this stage.
  • The onboarding of designers in this stage takes at most #Y weeks.
add_shopping_cart

Possibilities

Options. Ways to mitigate the key man risk in the stage of conceptual design:

  • Learn how the principal designer produces a conceptual design.

Analysis. Worth pursuing.

Assessment to upgrade to leading plant redesign

Filling out expectations

Expectations

Ways to mitigate the key man risk in the stage of conceptual design to revamp:

  • Learn how the principal designer produces a conceptual design.
  • Develop an easier-to-learn way to produce a conceptual design.
Framing the situation

Frame

To mitigate the key man risk in the stage of conceptual design, focus on developing valuable, rare, and inimitable capabilities:

  • Learn how the principal designer produces a conceptual design.
Formulating the problem

Problem

Question. How can designers learn how the principal designer produces a conceptual design?

Issue. Designers need to display commercial acumen. Not every designer possesses this tacit, innate skill.

Issue. Only the principal designer knows how to execute the following activities:

  • Estimate the required effort.
  • Determine the process flow.
  • Appraise customer traits.
  • Analyse a concept.

Prognosis. Favourable: there are possibilities to do something about it.

Advice to upgrade to leading plant redesign

Devising a concept

Concept

Question. How can designers learn how the principal designer produces a conceptual design?

Idea.

  • Secure know-how to execute specific activities to produce a conceptual design:
    • Estimate the required effort.
    • Determine the process flow.
    • Appraise customer traits.
    • Analyse a concept.
  • Ensure that only designers with commercial acumen are tasked with producing a conceptual design.
Developing a solution

Solution

Idea. Secure know-how to execute specific activities to produce a conceptual design.

Action.

  1. Find out how the principal designer knows how to execute the following activities:
    • Estimate the required effort.
    • Determine the process flow.
    • Appraise customer traits.
    • Analyse a concept.
  1. Teach designers how to execute the following activities:
    • Estimate the required effort.
    • Determine the process flow.
    • Appraise customer traits.
    • Analyse a concept.
Developing a solution

Solution

Idea. Ensure that only designers with commercial acumen are tasked with producing a conceptual design.

Action.

  1. Circumscribe or illustrate what it means that a designer displays commercial acumen.
  2. Train the responsible manager in recognizing designers with commercial acumen.
  3. Include displaying commercial acumen as a condition in the standard operating procedure for tasking a designer with producing a conceptual design.
Posted by Pieter van Langen in Practice
Aircraft design

Aircraft design

Preparation

room_service

Service

Name. Series aircraft design.

Design object. Aircraft similar to other aircraft identified by the same grouping key.

Specifics. Design a variation of aircraft identified by the same grouping key.

description

Situation

Description. A team of designers is tasked to design a series aircraft. The team consists of senior designers and junior designers.

Critical success factors. Junior designers slow down whenever there are no senior designers looking over their shoulders or sparring with them.

Current position. The service is less valuable than desired.

gps_fixed

Ambition

Kind of advantage to achieve. Valuable in terms of team performance.

Formulation. The design team designs a series aircraft more quickly.

add_shopping_cart

Possibilities

Options. Ways to design a series aircraft more quickly:

  • Learn how senior designers design.

Analysis. Worth pursuing.

Assessment to upgrade to leading aircraft design

Filling out expectations

Expectations

Ways to design a series aircraft more quickly:

  • Learn how senior designers design.
  • Reduce waste in the design process.
Framing the situation

Frame

To design a series aircraft more quickly, wisdom comes with experience:

  • Learn how senior designers design.
Formulating the problem

Problem

Question. How can junior designers learn how senior designers design?

Issue. Senior designers are not aware of their way of working.

Prognosis. Favourable: there are possibilities to do something about it.

Advice to upgrade to leading aircraft design

Devising a concept

Concept

Question. How can junior designers learn how senior designers design?

Idea. Learn how to use design rationale while designing.

Developing a solution

Solution

Idea. Learn how to use design rationale while designing.

Action.

  1. Find out how senior designers retrieve and reuse design rationale of aircraft identified by the same grouping key.
  2. Find out how senior designers revise and retain design rationale of aircraft while designing.
  3. Train junior designers on how to use design rationale while designing.

Background research

Frances Brazier, Pieter van Langen, and Jan Treur (1997). A compositional approach to modelling design rationale. AIEDAM 11, 125-139.

Posted by Pieter van Langen in Research
7 sorts of design knowledge to accomplish design work

7 sorts of design knowledge to accomplish design work

Designers continually develop knowledge with customers, commissioners, users, fellow designers, partners, and other stakeholders. They acquire, create, and share knowledge of different sorts. This post explains which sorts of design knowledge exist that a team needs to accomplish design work.

Sorts of design knowledge

A team’s organization consists of the following sorts of design knowledge and their interrelationships (see figure):

  • Strategy: the plan to accomplish design goals.
  • Structure: the way of organizing design work.
  • Systems: processes and procedures of design.
  • Style: the way designers approach design.
  • Specialisms: fields of specialization of designers.
  • Skills: talents and abilities of designers.
  • Shared values: accepted values, norms, and standards for designing.
Sorts of design knowledge
Sorts of design knowledge and their interrelationships

These seven sorts almost entirely correspond with the seven internal factors in the McKinsey 7S Model. Other points of departure are conceivable, but the McKinsey 7S Model applies well in practice. Furthermore, many managers know this model. For a brief introduction to this model, see, for instance, Strategic Management Insight or Investopedia.

In practice, the two sorts Systems and Style may be hard to distinguish. For instance, a design team will likely define style as the processes and procedures the team members have agreed to follow. In such cases, you may conveniently combine the two sorts into one sort, System.

Framework for design knowledge

The seven sorts of design knowledge and their interrelationships form a framework that can be used to:

  • Analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a design team.
  • Search for knowledge that is of interest to design work.
  • Embed design knowledge in a team’s organization.
Posted by Pieter van Langen in Handbook
Member of Ooa

Member of Ooa

In November 2019, Pieter van Langen (founder and owner of Design Impulse) has become a member of Ooa, the Dutch Order of Organization experts and advisors. Ooa is the eldest professional association for consultants in the world. Through its membership, Design Impulse likes to express that our customers can always count on knowledgeable, professional, and challenging consultancy.

Ooa acts as a knowledge platform for members, organizing knowledge exchange between consultants and other professionals. In 1989, Ooa joined the International Council of Management Consultancy Institutes (ICMCI). See the website of Ooa for more information (in Dutch).

Posted by Pieter van Langen in News
Launch Design Impulse

Launch Design Impulse

Organizations act in a changing world to achieve goals. The ones that consistently succeed are curious, creative, and committed to change. And more often than not, design drives these enterprises, companies, and institutions.

Design-driven
Design-driven organizations are more successful

For this reason, Pieter van Langen decided to launch Design Impulse, an independent Dutch management consulting firm specializing in design leadership consulting. We help design leaders develop winning team capabilities for successful design and strategic advantage. Consult us and request a free quick scan.

Launch Design Impulse
Design Impulse
Posted by Pieter van Langen in News