Design integration in complex and networked product development: a case study of architectural design in the development process of a greener passenger ship

Pekka Murto

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

Abstract

This dissertation reports a single case study about design integration in complex and networked product development. Design integration is of central importance for beneficially using design in industry and for improving environmental sustainability. Literature on design often defines successful design integration as 1) the early integration of design and 2) the use of design in an extended role in product development to enable the envisioning of ideal future products and systems. However, studies on the position of design in product development have challenged the feasibility of such an integration strategy in different development contexts. Such an integration strategy is further challenged by research on complex products and business networks, which both underscore the uncertainty and unpredictability associated with the early phases of new product development. Shipbuilding well represents a complex and networked product development context. The particular case studied in this dissertation is the development process of the Viking Line’s MS Viking Grace cruise ferry, in which innovative design and environmental sustainability improvements were central drivers. In the study, design integration is framed as the role and activities that designers hold in a product development process. The results of the study are based on the analysis of documents, interviews and participant observation data on the role of industrial and interior designers (known as architectural designers in shipbuilding) within the Viking Grace project. The study shows that architectural designers were used as experts who developed the passenger interfaces of the ship, primarily relying on visual means, and were brought into the project gradually over time rather than being integrated early on in an extended role. Furthermore, the study characterizes the Viking Grace development process as progressive boundary development, where boundaries enabled the designers and developers to build on previous work in the project while simultaneously giving them sufficient latitude to make use of emerging knowledge in the later phases. It is further proposed that different complexity in management devices were used as essential means for reducing uncertainty, storing complexity and facilitating progressive boundary development in the process. Based on these results, the thesis suggests that successful design integration in complex and networked product development hinges on prolonged participation, which means that designers should ideally be involved both 1) in the development of boundaries and 2) when complexity management devices are used in the process. As such, the study adds to previous research in design management and environmentally sustainable design about the role and use of design in industry, particularly in terms of how to adapt design integration strategies and what capabilities designers need in the complex and networked product development context. Understanding generated in the study can support designers and design managers in making more informed decisions about what kind of design contributions are required in the different phases of complex and networked product development.
Translated title of the contributionDesign integration in complex and networked product development : a case study of architectural design in the development process of a greener passenger ship
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Hyysalo, Sampsa, Supervisor
  • Fuad-Luke, Alastair, Advisor
  • Person, Oscar, Advisor
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-60-7637-9
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Keywords

  • design integration
  • product development
  • passenger ships
  • shipbuilding

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