Information as a workpiece: an architecture for content-driven design support

Jos de Lange

    Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

    560 Downloads (Pure)


    Offering design support to product development practises is considered an essential function of design engineering research. Other than the archetypical process-based design support often found throughout the scholarly field of design theory and methodology, this research uses the output of those processes, information, as starting point for reasoning, using the following axiom:
    Information is the carrier of all (added) value in and of a product development cycle.
    Recognizing the importance of information and the value it carries, this thesis develops design support that uses information, rather than processes, to make explicit the consequences of design decisions. Similar to tangible objects under construction, where the status is evidently visible, this information content (i.e. the product definition) should function as the workpiece of a product development cycle. This new approach centralizes all explicitly available information and uses this as one workpiece to explicitly address and monitor the changes made to it. IN this, it is essential to neutrally regards uncertainty – recognizing both the negative as well as the positive influence uncertainty might have on development cycles. The approach does not dictate a certain way of working. Rather, it offers a range of processes, tools and techniques – collectively labelled mechanisms - as a toolbox for the information content hat enable the product developers to digest decisions as an evolvement of the entire information content and to discover the potential consequences of those decisions.
    The result is an architecture for design support that employs evolving information content to explore the (uncertain) solution space and explicate (possible) consequences of development decisions in order to initiate, direct and facilitate effective decision making. With it, information is no longer considered a logical by-product of activities and tasks, but becomes pivotal in design support. As a result, it is attempted to shift design support from process-driven (doing the things right) towards purport-driven (doing the right things).
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Twente
    • van Houten, F.J.A.M., Supervisor
    • ten Klooster, Roland, Supervisor
    Award date26 Apr 2018
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-365-4539-6
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2018


    • Design support
    • Information Management
    • Design Theory and Methodology
    • Product Development
    • Product design


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