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PHD-DESIGN  September 2018

PHD-DESIGN September 2018

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Subject:

Re: Real world product development for users

From:

Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 20 Sep 2018 09:50:02 +0200

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Dear Terry and All,

This started as an off-list note to Terry. As I deepened the explanation, I thought it might be useful to younger researchers on the list in terms of explaining something about the search process that precedes deeper aspects of research.  

Terry’s post yesterday explains his interest in greater depth. I’d suggest that the answer remains a proper internet search. There is so much information available that he’ll need to do a proper search on his own. He's not going to get much help from members of this list, at least not on the evidence of published replies.

Terry wrote, “Members of this list are in a good position to know of their department's engagement with such mathematically-based design methods. I would be grateful for information on such methods in academic design education  and design research either on-list or off-list.”

Members of the list will certainly know what their own departments do, at least those who have an overview of departmental offerings. 

Nevertheless, Terry has often stated that the majority of list members on PhD-Design come from what he labels as traditional “art and design” backgrounds. By definition, most of these people study or teach in traditional departments and programs. And by definition, these traditional departments and programs will not have the kinds of courses and programs Terry seeks. 

Anyone who checks the fields and disciplines that I described is more likely to find the programs and courses Terry seeks. Relatively few list members work in places like these. I wrote,

"Many universities offer such programs, and some of them are excellent. These programs appear in a wide variety of disciplines and fields — not simply marketing construed in a narrow sense, but the richer, socially aware versions of marketing that appear under such labels as ‘macro marketing.’ Some product development courses appear in schools of engineering, as well as in innovation programs, and more. They also appear in design programs, in applied arts, in informatics, and in at least a dozen other fields that involve creating products and services that will ultimately serve human needs in the real world."

There is an inconsistency between Terry's assertions about the PhD-Design list population and his decision to ask this population to supply him with information on a mathematically rigorous topic that is generally not available in traditional art and design schools.  
 
Someone who wants answers to this kind of question must do the hard yards with a careful internet search, perhaps augmented by a carefully structured research request to a variety of lists across several fields. 

This was a bit more confusing because of the way Terry asked. His initial post did not seem to be a research request. It seemed to be a comment on something interesting that he wants the list to know about. I took it as an oblique way of once again telling us to study mathematics:

"Wondering how many university design and design research programs are teaching this kind of material on product design professional practices?”

This is not so much a research request as it is a gentle admonishment. 

The reason I posted in response to Francois, is that Francois seemed to want to know something.

But there is a second logical inconsistency here. Terry asserts — as I do — that there are hundreds of design fields, not all of which are labeled design. It is also the case that many design programs, courses, and techniques are taught in departments, schools, and faculties not labeled design. For example, TUDelft teaches design in a Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. When I was a dean, my university offered product design engineering as a joint program of the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Design. (I don’t know how they do it now — they restructured the university after I left.) University of Indiana has many design courses in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering — I don’t know if they teach product development, but they must use mathematically rigorous modeling for some of their work. OCAD University has a number of people with physics backgrounds in different design areas — perhaps they use some forms of mathematical modeling for product development. I don’t know — this is not my topic, but if I wanted to know about this topic, I’d be looking in places that have people with strong mathematics backgrounds on staff.   

There are some questions I might raise on the PhD-Design list. But the answer to Terry's question is not likely to appear here. This requires a real search. And the information is readily visible for anyone willing to slog through the masses of available documents. Here are the yields on some likely Google searches:

product development AND engineering design — 421,000,000 hits

product development AND market development — 602,000,000 hits

product development AND medical device — 167,000,000 hits

new product development strategy — 317,000,000 hits

and there are even hits on the exact subject for Terry asks us to supply information:

product development mathematical model — 46,300,000

Academia has 2,883 Paper Titles that match "product development"

And there are several discipline-specific associations, and their related journals.

https://www.pdma.org

http://www.innovatorsguide.org/Assoc/Product-Development-Associations.htm

Among these, there will be many duplicates and false positives. It is necessary to search and winnow them out. It’s also necessary to look at and decide whether articles are worth reading. But it is not possible to decide without looking. Any kind of serious research takes time. Some of the time feels like a waste, and much of it feels like clerical work. That is what research involves. 

Last week, I visited my childhood home town in New London, Connecticut. My cousin drove down from New Hampshire to spend the day with me. We were talking about our respective academic experiences over lunch. My cousin is a couple years older than I am. He was a distinguished medical researcher who wrote the key textbook in his field, along with another dozen books and several hundred research articles. We were reminiscing about the old days before research journals were digitized. People worked with paper journals and hard copy books that required us to sit in a library. Some lucky folks had a dedicated desk or study carrel where they could keep the material with which they were working. Any fruitful search would then require hours at the xerox machine, even for distinguished scholars and scientists unless they had a funded research assistant. My cousin used to have to xerox off hundreds of pages so that he could mark them up and use them properly.

No one on this list has to do that. But answering Terry’s question properly will need a couple weeks on the net.

I apologize if I have belabored this point with details that no one wants. It’s my experience in recent years that people have not developed the kinds of search skills that were once expected of researchers and of PhD students planning to become researchers. 

My graduate students often complained that they were drowning in information when they used the techniques I taught them. On the other hand, they got the information they needed, and they put it to good use.

One of the professors in my doctoral program was a communications professor named Dorothy Harris. She was a forceful influence on those of us who wanted to learn research skills and research methods. She would often end a session with the motto, “Be true to your sources and your sources will be true to you.”

This is as true when it comes to locating sources as in using them. Even allowing for overlaps, a set of careful searches among more than 1,553,000,000 articles and several dozen professional and academic associations will yield more information on mathematical models for product development than a query to 3,000 people in a population that does not primarily rely on mathematical methods.     

Yours,

Ken

Ken Friedman, Ph.D., D.Sc. (hc), FDRS | Editor-in-Chief | 设计 She Ji. The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation | Published by Tongji University in Cooperation with Elsevier | URL: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/she-ji-the-journal-of-design-economics-and-innovation/

Chair Professor of Design Innovation Studies | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University | Shanghai, China ||| Email [log in to unmask] | Academia http://swinburne.academia.edu/KenFriedman | D&I http://tjdi.tongji.edu.cn 

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