Should it stay or should it go? A case study of concept screening in engineering design industry

Xuan Zheng, Scarlett R. Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

While we know that poor decisions during concept screening can lead to great expenses including redesign costs, production postponement, and even product failure, little is known about what factors influence professional concept screening. Previous research in this area has mostly been conducted with students or used hypothetical design challenges with professionals. This is problematic because such research methods are based on challengeable assumptions leaving out the risks and consequences that professionals face in their daily work. Hence, the purpose of the current study was to investigate the process of professionals making screening decisions in situ and identify the impact of the perceived properties of ideas (i.e., riskiness, originality, and feasibility) and the role of the professionals (idea generators versus executives) in this process. Specifically, a mixed method in-situ study was conducted in a small electromechanical company which included shadowing a research and development team from the conceptual stage to a final pitch meeting to senior executives. In addition, surveys and interviews were conducted to identify what factors were impacting concept screening. The results showed both idea generators and executives were able to distinguish and move ideas with relatively high market potential forward and avoided taking risks during concept screening. However, the idea generators did not show any preferences on the originality or feasibility of the ideas, while the executives preferred to invest in ideas with high feasibility. The findings of this study drew a distinction between professional design studies solving real design problems in a naturalistic, collocated team environment and those in a laboratory setting and added to the understanding of factors that influence the decisions made during professional concept screening. They also provide a much-needed insight into how engineering design professionals screen ideas .

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication31st International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791859278
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019
EventASME 2019 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC-CIE 2019 - Anaheim, United States
Duration: Aug 18 2019Aug 21 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference
Volume7

Conference

ConferenceASME 2019 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC-CIE 2019
CountryUnited States
CityAnaheim
Period8/18/198/21/19

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Modeling and Simulation

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