Pieter van Langen

How to determine objectives

How to determine objectives

Seven sorts of design knowledge are relevant to design services. You can determine an objective for the development of specific design knowledge in three steps. Targeted development of design knowledge contributes to a greater design impact, value, and performance.

Steps to determine an objective

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Significance

Define the meaning of specific design knowl­edge to your organization

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Direction

Define an action for developing specific design knowl­edge

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Priority

Define how urgent it is to develop specific design knowledge

How to determine the significance

Valuable

The design knowledge is necessary or useful to your business (yes/no)

Rare

The design knowledge is hardly present in your market (yes/no)

Inimitable

The design knowledge is hard to copy or substitute (yes/no)

Organized

The design knowledge is available when and where needed in your organization (yes/no)

How to determine the direction

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Rethink value

If the design knowl­edge is not valuable (anymore)

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Integrate value

If the design knowl­edge is valuable but not rare

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Increase value

If the design knowl­edge is valuable and rare, but not inimitable

sync

Exploit value

If the design knowl­edge is valuable, rare, and inimitable but not organized

update

Maintain value

If the design knowl­edge is valuable, rare, inimitable, and organized

How to determine the priority

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Do

If developing the design knowledge is important and urgent to you

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Plan

If developing the design knowledge is important but not urgent to you

send

Delegate

If developing the design knowledge is urgent but not important to you

not_interested

Eliminate

If developing the design knowledge is neither important nor urgent to you

Posted by Pieter van Langen in Handbook
Tunnel design

Tunnel design

Request

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Design service

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Situation

Designers of seven different disciplines make discipline-specific partial designs. As a team, they align their partial designs on a regular basis to form an integral design. When aligning their partial designs, the designers discover design conflicts, which they resolve by changing their designs.

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Challenge

[Improving a design service, Advancing a design team] How can designers from different disciplines reduce the number of design conflicts between their partial designs?

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Ambition

[Time, Cost] Spend less time on discovering and resolving design conflicts, which results in less cost. This is desirable, feasible, and viable.

Assessment

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Design service

Tunnel design

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Competitive position

[Weakness] Designers of different disciplines are unaware of conflicts arising between their partial designs.

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Problem

[System] To reduce the number of design conflicts between partial designs, designers from different disciplines need to share design objects, relations, and models when created and updated. This capability is missing. Designers can develop it, and its nature is explicit. Prognosis:

  • Unfavorable without intervention.
  • Favorable after an intervention.

Advice

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Design service

Tunnel design

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Concept

[System] Adapt the way of working to prevent design conflicts between partial designs from arising.

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Intervention

Step 1. Define a design ontology: have a knowledge engineer interview designers to extract meta-knowledge of design objects, relations, and models together making up an integral design.

Step 2. Create a meta-model of design: have a knowledge engineer represent the defined design ontology in a digital repository.

Step 3. Teach designers how to use a digital repository while designing: have a knowledge engineer train designers.

Posted by Pieter van Langen in Research
Plant redesign

Plant redesign

Request

room_service

Design service

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

description

Situation

The principal designer is the only one who masters the conceptual design stage of revamping. This is a key man risk. Attempts to teach other designers how to execute this stage have had limited success. Since the required expertise is thought to be largely unique, hiring is not an option.

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Challenge

[Improving a design service, Advancing a design team] How can more designers master the conceptual design stage of revamping?

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Ambition

[Risk] The ambition regarding the conceptual design stage of revamping is twofold:

  • More designers master this stage. This is desirable, feasible, and viable.
  • Faster onboarding of designers in this stage. This is desirable, feasible, and viable.

Assessment

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Design service

Design to revamp a plant

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Performance

[Risk] The current performance in the conceptual design stage of revamping is as follows:

  • There are too few designers who master this stage.
  • The onboarding of designers in this stage goes too slowly.
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Competitive position

[Weakness] For the conceptual design stage of revamping, only the principal designer knows:

  • All the steps to produce a design under different conditions.
  • What kind of design the customer will like the most.
  • How to utilize the organization’s modelling tools.
  • How to finish the design work on time.

[Weakness] The principal designer displays commercial acumen, but not all designers assigned to conceptual design in revamping do.

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Problem

[Strategy] Designers need the capability to estimate the required effort of conceptual design in revamping. This capability is valuable and rare, but not organized: only the principal designer has it. Other designers can develop it, and its nature is implicit. Prognosis:

  • Unfavorable without intervention.
  • Favorable after an intervention.
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Problem

[System] Designers need the capability to determine the process flow of conceptual design in revamping. This capability is valuable and rare, but not organized: only the principal designer has it. Other designers can develop it, and its nature is implicit. Prognosis:

  • Unfavorable without intervention.
  • Favorable after an intervention.
report_problem

Problem

[System] Designers need the capability to utilize modeling tools for conceptual design in revamping. This capability is valuable and rare, but not organized: only the principal designer has it. Other designers can develop it, and its nature is explicit. Prognosis:

  • Unfavorable without intervention.
  • Favorable after an intervention.
report_problem

Problem

[Skills] Designers need the capability to appraise customer traits. This capability is valuable, but not organized: only the principal designer has it. Other designers can develop it, and its nature is explicit. Prognosis:

  • Unfavorable without intervention.
  • Favorable after an intervention.
report_problem

Problem

[Skills] Designers need the capability to display commercial acumen. This capability is valuable, rare, and inimitable, but not organized: not all designers assigned to conceptual design in revamping have it. It is innate and its nature is tacit. Prognosis:

  • Unfavorable without intervention.
  • Guarded after an intervention.

Advice

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Design service

Design to revamp a plant

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Concept

[Skills] Find designers who display commercial acumen.

[Strategy, System, Skills] Teach designers with commercial acumen how to execute conceptual design in revamping.

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Intervention

Recruit and select designers who display commercial acumen by having the manager use commercial acumen as a selection criterion in job interviews.

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Intervention

Step 1. Define how to execute conceptual design in revamping by having a knowledge engineer interview the principal designer to extract knowledge on how to:

  • Estimate the required effort.
  • Determine the process flow.
  • Utilize modelling tools.
  • Appraise customer traits.

Step 2. Teach designers with commercial acumen how to execute conceptual design in revamping by having the principal designer train them. Use as training material the documentation on how to:

  • Estimate the required effort.
  • Determine the process flow.
  • Utilize modelling tools.
  • Appraise customer traits.
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Performance

[Risk] For the conceptual design stage of revamping, it is expected that after these interventions:

  • More designers will master this stage.
  • Onboarding designers in this stage will go faster.
Posted by Pieter van Langen in Practice
Aircraft design

Aircraft design

Request

room_service

Design service

Series aircraft design

description

Situation

Junior designers struggle to design a successor. Progress is slowing down whenever there are no senior designers looking over their shoulder, or to spar with them.

help_outline

Challenge

[Improving a design service, Advancing a design team] What can junior designers learn from senior designers to design a successor?

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Ambition

[Time] Junior designers design a successor more quickly. This is desirable, feasible, and viable.

Assessment

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Design service

Series aircraft design

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Competitive position

[Weakness] Unlike senior designers, junior designers do not know well how to design a successor.

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Problem

[System] What junior designers can learn from senior designers to design a successor is to make use of the design rationale of earlier aircraft in the same series. This capability is valuable but not organized: junior designers do not have it. They can develop it, and its nature is implicit. Prognosis:

  • Unfavorable without intervention.
  • Favorable after an intervention.

Advice

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Design service

Series aircraft design

drafts

Concept

[System] Teach junior designers how to make use of the design rationale of earlier aircraft in the same series.

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Intervention

Step 1. Define how to make use of the design rationale of earlier aircraft in the same series: have a knowledge engineer interview senior designers to extract knowledge of the way of working to retrieve, reuse, revise, and retain design rationale.

Step 2. Transfer knowledge of how to make use of the design rationale of earlier aircraft in the same series: have senior designers train junior designers in the way of working.

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
Sorts of design knowledge

Sorts of design knowledge

Seven sorts of design knowledge

Designers continually develop knowledge, together with customers, commissioners, users, fellow designers, partners, and other stakeholders. They acquire, generate, and transform knowledge of different sorts. One may distinguish seven sorts of knowledge for design and their interrelationships (see figure):

  • Strategy: the plan to accomplish design goals.
  • Structure: the way that design is organized.
  • 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
Framework for sorts of design knowledge

These seven sorts almost fully correspond with the seven internal factors in the McKinsey 7S Model. Other points of departure are conceivable. But the McKinsey 7S Model turns out to be well applicable in practice. Furthermore, it is known among many managers. For a brief introduction to this model, see for instance Strategic Management Insight or Investopedia.

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

Framework

Together, the seven sorts form a framework. It provides a structure for analyzing a design practice and advising on the development of knowledge for design. On the basis of this framework, the following conclusions can be drawn:

  • Multiple sorts of knowledge are of interest for design.
  • These sorts of knowledge are mutually related and interdependent.
  • For design, it may be necessary to develop different sorts of knowledge at the same time.
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. By the 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
Design Impulse has started

Design Impulse has started

Organizations must catch up, keep up, and move up to survive and thrive in a changing world. The ones that succeed are curious, creative, and committed to change. It turns out that design drives these enterprises, companies, and institutions.

Management consulting firm Design Impulse has started to help design leaders develop team capabilities that increase the value, impact, and performance of designing. Get in touch if you want to know more or need help.

Posted by Pieter van Langen in News