• Do you want to know more about your design team and their problem-solving capacities?

  • Does your company suffer from low retention of designers?

  • Do you always struggle to keep your creative staff motivated and challenged?

  • Do you want your design teams to work at their peak performance?

  • Do you want to offer training for your creative staff but they don't show interest?

A lot of designers go through their career, moving from company to company, using a fixed set of skills, usually linked to the use of a CAD software. As they become faster in using their tools, the routine design tasks become boring, and that's when they start thinking about moving to a new company and taking on new challenges. The

Design problem solving is a never-ending challenge. A knife is probably one of the first tools humans ever designed. It has a simple construction with a handle and a blade, and yet, there has been millions of different designs for it ever since. Then why is it that a designer working on a sheet metal factory becomes bored with the possibilities


Rational Chaos

I am offering a series of training sessions aimed at increasing the problem-solving capabilities of the in-house design teams in the industry. The workshops are based on the Function-Behaviour-Structure design framework which has been developed through studying many high-performance design and engineering teams. The sessions are specifically aimed at highly-creative staff that need motivation and intellectual challenges all the time to stay excited about their role.

Function • Behaviour • Structure

The Function-Behaviour-Structure (FBS) ontology of designing is based upon a purposeful, process-based view of design. Originating from concepts of knowledge representation for machine learning, this framework aims at constructing prototypes of design knowledge through different types of design issues. The design activities then become processes that aim at translating a set of requirement issues into a set of solution issues. The FBS ontology of design constructs models of both design knowledge and the design process.

Understanding the Function-Behaviour-Structure framework brings insight and structure to a designer's problem-solving activities. They will be able to filter through the requirements of the design brief, make better assumptions about missing aspects of the design task, formulate a clear problem, and come up with better solutions.


Some of the content from the workshops:

Design Thinking Methods

Function-Behaviour-Structure Framework

Design Brief Analysis and Problem Formulation

Modular Design Principles

Design Strategies

There are two major currents in offering process-based models of design activities, namely prescriptive and descriptive approaches (Asimow, 1962). A prescriptive model of design provides a procedure for how designers must act. There are many different instances of such prescriptive models in engineering design, product design, and architecture (Cross, 2000; Jones, 1970; Pahl et al., 2007; Ullman, 1944). Most of these models are based on a four-phase process of designing; namely, formulating, synthesising, analysing, and optimising (Asimow, 1962). The actual behaviour of designers, however, is far more complex and cognitively intense than the prescribed procedures.

Designing is an iterative process whereby designers go through cycles of small processes (Beitz et al., 2007), which can be modelled through scientific tools that are able to handle the concepts and processes of concern in designing. A collection of such concepts, called ontology, is used to build structured models of knowledge in different fields (Alberts, 1993).

Employing an ontological view of designing has particular benefits for the concerns of this thesis. Ontological concepts are sufficiently generic to be applied when modelling knowledge in different contexts, including customisation. Yet, they are specific enough to define clear boundaries for concepts in each domain and to prevent misinterpretation between concepts from different domains. In the following section, I introduce a well-established and popular design ontology, which could be used to study customisation from a design point of view.

The Function-Behaviour-Structure (FBS) ontology of designing (Gero, 1990) is based upon a purposeful, process-based view of design. Originating from concepts of knowledge representation for machine learning, this ontology aims at constructing prototypes of design knowledge through different types of design issues. The design activities then become processes that aim at translating a set of requirement issues to a set of solution issues. Using these two sets of concepts (i.e., design issues and transitional processes), the FBS ontology of design constructs descriptive models of both design knowledge and design process. The following section contains a short introduction to this ontology and its components.