CUED Publications database

Describing complex design practices with a cross-domain framework: learning from Synthetic Biology and Swarm Robotics

Chen, CC and Crilly, N (2016) Describing complex design practices with a cross-domain framework: learning from Synthetic Biology and Swarm Robotics. Research in Engineering Design, 27. pp. 291-305. ISSN 0934-9839

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Abstract

© 2016, The Author(s). This paper reports on the development of a cross-domain framework for describing complex design practices. The framework is grounded in studies of two different complex design fields: Synthetic Biology and Swarm Robotics. In the first study, we interviewed practitioners in Synthetic Biology, identifying three essential aspects of complex design problems and practices. The first of these aspects is the characterisation of system complexity, the second is the design objective taken with respect to this complexity, and the third is the design approach applied to realise this objective. In the second study, we interviewed designers in Swarm Robotics, confirming the domain generality of the three aspects identified in the first study and permitting a comparison to be made of how the two fields differ from each other in these aspects. Considered together, the two studies provide the basis for building a cross-domain framework for describing complex design practices. Such a framework is presented here, not to exhaust all possible descriptions of complex design practice but rather to provide a structured yet adaptable way of highlighting the important aspects of these descriptions. Indeed, each aspect of complex design can be can be broken down into different elements depending on the design contexts under consideration. Having such a framework enables designers to identify fundamental similarities and differences both between and within fields.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: UNSPECIFIED
Divisions: Div C > Engineering Design
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:39
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2017 01:27
DOI: