CONNECTION BETWEEN RESEARCH QUESTION AND METHOD

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Theoretical background

This chapter presents and refers to the theories that provides the study with a theoretical foun-dation. It begins with explaining how the presented theory are connected with the study’s re-search questions. Thereafter it continues with the describing of the theory behind the per-formed design process and ends with presenting a theory of semantic and intuition.

Connection between research question and theoretical background

To give this thesis’s research question a theoretical foundation, a verified design process with its associated phases are presented. To allow needed process adjustments, a theory about cus-tomized design processes, called “Creativity, trust and systematic processes in product devel-opment” also will be given.
Apart from that, the theory about the design process will give a theoretical background to the subsequent questions as well, the theories about semantics and intuition will further establish this. These theories are described due to that the stages in the design process provides tools and methods to answer the questions. The theory behind semantics offers knowledge about how signs and design interacts with the user. The theory about intuition provides help for decision making during the entire development process.

Produktutveckling – Effektiva metoder för konstruktion och design

In the book Produktutveckling – Effektiva metoder för konstruktion och design [2], a design process is presented as shown in picture [Figure 3]. The presented process includes stages be-ginning with creating a strategic plan that will lead to innovation and end with the launching of a complete product. The authors state that this process is iterative and that the different stages could be performed repeatedly during the project. Depending on what kind of project that is performed the amount of stages differs. [2, p. 115]

 Pilot study

During a pilot study a problem analysis is performed to gather background information that later can be used in a potential product development project. The analysis should be performed without any preconceptions and premature defined solutions to avoid limitation of innovations and creativity. To maintain an adaptable product development process and avoid unnecessary testing and design work, it helps to include a wide range of competence as early as in the pilot study. Resources are not prioritized during the pilot study nor the concept generating phase. However, a plan on how to distribute these resources in later stages of the project should be produced. [2, pp. 115-116]

 Requirement specification

The intention of the product specification phase is to state a specification of what the design process should result in. This is done with the information collected in the previous phase. This should be applied in a way that creates a foundation for later attempts to find a design solution. It should also work as a reference when evaluations for these solutions are done and result in a final concept. Since the understanding and knowledge about the soon to be developed product increases during the design process, the specification will be developed and updated throughout the project. The specification should, in its final state, include all criteria from the explicit and implicit conditions stated in the early process, criteria developed during clarification of the task and those who occur after different design determinations. The criteria should be separated into two different groups. Those who are related to the expected functions of the product and those who limits the allowed solutions of the product. [2, pp. 117-118]

Concept generation

The authors state that the definition of the word concept is a first run-up of a solution. This kind of solutions includes a rough layout of the product, cost estimations, illustrations and infor-mation about the product’s functions, analyses and results from different tests. This phase will not give enough conditions to enable creation of a working prototype, but will on the other hand generate ideas that will lead to the final concept. There are a range of different methods to gen-erate concepts, but the authors mention two categories as the main two. The first category is the creative methods which for instance includes brainstorming. The second category is called systematic and rational methods. [2, pp. 119-120]

Concept elimination

The concept elimination phase intends to analyze and compare the different solutions against each other and eventually select a concept to continue the process with. The evaluation should rank the concept’s values relative to the demands and requirements from the specification. The selection should be motivated by the concept that receives the highest rating during the analy-sis. Challenges could appear during this phase since different characteristics could be valued and measured differently by different stakeholders. Systematic matrices could be of great help during the selection. Evaluation of specific requirements could however be necessary. Actions such as rough calculations, testing of physical prototypes, modeling or computer aided simula-tions could in this case be performed. [2, pp. 120-122]

 Configuration and detail design

With the previous phases as foundation, the selected concept will now be ready for further de-velopment to become a functional product that fulfill the requirements. This phase is focusing on the detail design of the selected concept. This includes: dimensioning, selection of standard parts, design and choice of material and definition of the layout. This phase should lead to a prototype capable of testing, describing the intended product functionality and usability. [2, pp. 122-124]

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Prototypes

There are a lot of reasons for creating a prototype and the variety of appearances differs with the purpose behind the prototype. Today, virtual prototyping is a commonly used method for testing and visualizing both function, appearances and performance before any physical proto-types are created. Computer aided prototyping are still not able to replace physical ones com-pletely, therefore companies develop both. Included in the category “physical prototypes” are mock-ups. These are made to visualize shape, characteristics and color. Also included are func-tional prototypes that are tested to verify new technical solutions and those who are tested for production. [2, pp. 124-125]

 Adapt for manufacturing

It is essential to adapt the product for manufacturing (DFM). The purpose of the adaptation is to make it possible for the product to be machined and to make sure it caters to the different stakeholders’ demands. This needs to be done in a realistic and economic point of view. After this phase, the product should be ready to be launched. [2, p. 125]

Customized design process

Several attempts to standardize the design process have been made to make the procedure more cost and time effective. The uniqueness that every project requires, makes it difficult to follow a standard process precisely. Companies need to both explore innovation and exploit possessed knowledge when developing new products.
The study “Creativity, trust and systematic processes in product development” discusses how a structured working process could disturb a creative one, or the opposite. The conclusion in the study results in a statement that a systematic design process does not necessarily limit the creativity. It is debated whether a balance between the two processes can result in an optimal structured and systematic process that favors creativity. The outcome of the study explains that a structured design process should be considered as an important prerequisite rather than a re

Semantics

Without a correct understanding of a product, the user will experience trouble using it. During the last decade, the importance of semiotic has increased amongst product developers. [4] Semantics, together with pragmatics and syntax is a part of the research behind semiotics. Semiotic is the study of signs. It addresses their meaning, possible combinations and applica-tion between product and sign. Semantics may be seen as the application of theories on what signs are communicating. There are four ulterior functions of semantics: express, indicate, identify and describe. The product should with its design describe what it is and express abilities. It should be possible for the user to identify the product’s focus and from what brand it belongs. The product should also be able to indicate the function in a way that invites the user to act or react. With a semantic approach on an industrial design process the product’s use could result in being more obvious and self-evident. [4, p. 13] [5, pp. 52-55]

Intuition

Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus are writing in their article “Mind over Machine: The Power of Hu-man Intuition and Expertise in the Era of Computer” about how humans are able to form a spontaneous perception, yet having a foundation of experiences. The scientific definition of this state is called intuition. [6]
The article pictures five different stages of skill: novice, advanced beginner, competent, profi-cient and expert. This evolution of skills says that one begins as a novice, which implies with the need of an analytical decision making process. It ends with reaching an expert level of skill that will translate the collected experience into the ability of an intuition based decision making. The experts’ way of decision making does not need to reason nor undergo evaluations. It has the characteristics of being spontaneous and act on already possessed knowledge.
Engineers are educated to make carefully considered decisions based on facts, time and money. Real life projects often lack the time needed for these thoroughly evaluated decisions and are therefore needed to be intuition based instead. [6] [7, pp. 62-63]

1 Introduction
1.1 BACKGROUND
1.2 STATEMENT
1.3 OBJECTIVE AND RESEARCH QUESTION
1.4 DELIMITATIONS
1.5 OUTLINE
2 Theoretical background
2.1 CONNECTION BETWEEN RESEARCH QUESTION AND THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
2.2 PRODUKTUTVECKLING – EFFEKTIVA METODER FÖR KONSTRUKTION OCH DESIG
2.3 CUSTOMIZED DESIGN PROCESS
2.4 SEMANTICS
2.5 INTUITION
3 Method
3.1 CONNECTION BETWEEN RESEARCH QUESTION AND METHOD
3.2 CONCEPT STUDY
3.3 PILOT STUDY
3.4 CONCEPT GENERATION
3.5 CONCEPT ELIMINATION
3.6 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
4 Implementation and Result
4.1 PILOT STUDY
4.2 REQUIREMENT SPECIFICATION
4.3 CONCEPT GENERATION
4.4 CONCEPT
4.5 CONCEPT ELIMINATION
4.6 CONFIGURATION AND DETAIL DESIGN
4.7 FINAL CONCEPTS
5 Discussion
5.1 IMPLICATIONS
5.2 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
6 Conclusions and recommendations
6.1 FULFILLMENT OF REQUIREMENT SPECIFICATION
6.2 RECOMMENDATIONS
6.3 EVALUATION OF DESIGN PROCESS
6.4 FURTHER WORK
7 References
8 Attachments
8.1 ATTACHMENT 1, GANTT
8.2 ATTACHMENT 2, BENCHMARKING
8.3 ATTACHMENT 3, PICTURE OF THULE T-TRACK SYSTEM
8.4 ATTACHMENT 4, THULE THRURIDE 565
8.5 ATTACHMENT 5, OBSERVATIONS FROM USER STUDY
8.6 ATTACHMENT 6, INTERVIEW FROM USER STUDY
8.7 ATTACHMENT 7, REQUIREMENT SPECIFICATION
8.8 ATTACHMENT 8, QFD
8.9 ATTACHMENT 9, PUGH
8.10 ATTACHMENT 10, SLIPPAGE TEST
8.11 ATTACHMENT 11, FRONT FORK
8.12 ATTACHMENT 12, DROP OUT
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