Conceptual Foundations of Design Problem Solving

  • Smith G
  • Browne G
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-Design problems, processes, and methods are top-ics of longstanding interest in fields such as architecture and engineering. Design tasks are also common in domains ad-dressed by systems and management scientists. However, much scientific work in these fields indicates little awareness of design theories and research. This paper introduces systems and man-agement scientists to the extensive design theory literature. More importantly, it consolidates and extends that literature by developing a deep conceptual analysis of design problems and problem solving. The analysis is built around five elements of design problems: goals, constraints, alternatives, represen-tations, and solutions. These elements define the basic tasks or functional demands posed by design problem solving. The pa-per also identifies special difficulties faced by designers in sys-tems and management science domains.

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  • Gerald F. Smith

  • Glenn J. Browne

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