To create world beating products engineers primarily need three qualities. The ability to create a vision, be aspirational and also be well organised.
- Vision: It is important to have a clear understanding of a product’s intended function and objectives. The creation of a vision is helped by a good understanding of the business problem that needs to be solved.
- Aspiration: For a product to be better than competing products, whether that is faster or slower, bigger or smaller, cheaper or more expensive or any other superior qualities, requires a level of positivity, ambition, energy and the insight necessary to overcome any challenges to progress.
- Organisation: While vision and aspiration are great characteristics, no product will ever be developed without a degree of organisation. This requires an understanding of how the different resources such as people, skills, technologies, facilities, systems and many other components can be efficiently brought together to create something that works better than anything else.
It’s possible to create simple designs of any product or system – even those that seem complicated! Creating a structured approach to investigate something complex is the essence of problem solving and problem solving confidence can be developed in a way that aids critical thinking. Not only is this is a skill that can be learned but it’s also something that is intuitive – so everyone has a natural ability!
Even though complex products such as Concorde are made using thousands of components, engineers need to decide how they will work together. The process of creating and designing such products is complicated and can take many years. Once a product has been designed and manufactured, they can be operated for many decades. Concorde first started flying with passengers in 1976 and was operated for 27 years until 2003. In 1996 it set the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a commercial airliner.
Modern high technology products and systems are becoming increasingly complex so the importance of structured problem solving skills is growing. Why not start your journey today?
TOP DOWN DESIGN
The top down approach to product design encourages engineers to take a broader perspective (world view) of the product or system that needs to be developed. This broader perspective can help engineers to take more effective control of the overall process by making more complex challenges appear less overwhelming.
Learning how to develop a top down approach to analysis is a great way to build problem solving confidence. Complex products continually evolve as old technology is upgraded and software updated. Sometimes components that are not performing as expected must be replaced. These changes arise from new innovations and are implemented are as engineering modifications.
The process of ensuring designs continue to perform and remain safe requires careful planning and management control. The most effective way to manage this process is “top down”. The top down approach to design management looks at the overall performance of a product and its key components and systems.
PRODUCT DESIGNER TOOL
The Product Designer tool on this website supports the development of “top down” design thinking using “systems engineering” and “modular design” skills that engineers use to design complex products such as aircraft, trains, ships, spacecraft and so on.
Look at the case studies, select a world beating product and create your own design using the Product Designer tool. Register for a FREE account, save your design and then come back and make changes or, create another world beating product!
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