Tools for innovation and conceptual design
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The ability to design is the distinguishing characteristic of an engineer. Recent research has increased our understanding of both the engineering design process and effective means for teaching that process to neophyte design engineers. In that spirit, a design methodology was developed at the Institute for Innovation and Design in Engineering (IIDE), Texas A&M University. At the core of this approach is a design philosophy based on the cognitive skills of Abstraction, Critical Parameter Identification, and Questioning. This philosophy along with the design process is taught in the senior undergraduate design and graduate design courses. The goal of the methodology is not only to teach the design process to novice designers but also to instill in them the design philosophy that would enable them to perform design effectively and innovatively in any area of specialty. In this dissertation the design philosophy along with its role in the design methodology is explained. The Need Analysis and the Conceptual Design stages of the IIDE methodology are elaborated. The weaknesses in these stages are identified and addressed, by developing and incorporating design methods and techniques that fit the spirit and framework of the IIDE design methodology. The Object Function Method was developed to address certain aspects at the Need Analysis stage. There was need for an effective concept searching method within the Concept Design stage of the IIDE design methodology. This is addressed by the development of new search techniques and methods for effective concept discovery during concept searching. The usage and application of these methods and techniques is explained in detail along with examples. Additionally, this dissertation contains the results of a study conducted with two groups of senior design students, those who have been through the process and those who have not, to evaluate the effectiveness of applying the IIDE design philosophy and performing the Need Analysis and Conceptual Design stages for the given design challenge. The goal of the study was to investigate the relationship, if any, between the degree to which these aspects of the design methodology were followed and the quality of the resulting design solutions produced.
Karuppoor, Srinand Sreedharan (2003). Tools for innovation and conceptual design. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from