Asee peer logo

The Needs Problem Matrix: Providing Some Order To The Chaotic Ideation Fuzzy Front End

Download Paper |

Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Improving ME Education: Trends in Mechanical Engineering I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

12.1450.1 - 12.1450.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/1896

Download Count

11

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Madara Ogot Pennsylvania State University

visit author page

Madara Ogot is an Associate Professor in Engineering Design and in Mechanical Engineering at Penn State. He is the co-author, along with Gul Okudan, of an introductory design text, Engineering Design: A Practical Guide. His current research interests include design under uncertainty, stochastic optimization and innovative design.

visit author page

biography

Gül Okudan Pennsylvania State University

visit author page

Gul E. Okudan is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Design at Penn State. She received her Ph.D. from University of Missouri-Rolla. Her research interests include intelligent shop floor control, manufacturing strategy modeling and measurement, solid modeling and measurement, product design and product design teams.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Needs-Problem Matrix: Providing Some Order to the Chaotic Ideation Fuzzy Front End

Abstract

The fuzzy front end of the ideation process can often be chaotic, disorganized and seemingly haphazard, especially to student novice designers. Presented with a large array of pre-ideation tools and methods that are supposed to assist them in generating concepts that solve the correct problem, and take into account all aspects of the problem, students are often overwhelmed with information, or simply unable to see the connections or relevance of the data generated from the tools, students begin to view these pre-ideation design process steps as ‘busy work’. The Needs- Problem Matrix (NPM) aims to tie seemingly disparate data from several pre-ideation tools together, presenting student designers with clear connections and a path forward in the ideation process. Use of the NPM ensures that relevant information is not omitted or ignored during concept generation. The NPM incorporates information garnered from patent analyses, black-box models, detailed customer needs analyses, and a design structure matrix used to establish design functional hierarchy. The NPM provides a flow of information from one tool to the next, clearly showing how they are all related, and illustrating what role each plays in the ideation process. Finally, the NPM also serves as a means to clearly document collected pre-ideation information and to aid in the decision making process.

1.0 Introduction

The fuzzy front end of the ideation process can often be chaotic, disorganized and seemingly haphazard, especially to student novice designers. Starting from introductory through capstone design courses, engineering students are presented with a large array of pre-ideation tools and methods that are supposed to assist them in generating concepts that solve the correct problem, and take into account all aspects of the problem (e.g. needs of the customer, pre-existing solutions, etc.). Although recommended pre-ideation tools and methods varies between design texts, common items include black-box modeling for problem decomposition; pairwise comparison charts or analytic hierarchy process (AHP) for attribute ranking or weighting, respectively; hierarchal lists or trees for organizing customer needs; and patent searches to find pre-existing solutions. Students are then supposed to organize and use the information generated as a framework for their concept generation. Often overwhelmed with information, or simply unable to see the connections or relevance of the data generated from the tools, students begin to view these pre-ideation design process steps as ‘busy work’. They simply go through the mechanics of using them – as they are often required to do so by the course instructor – but proceed with the concept generation step without using or referring to most of the gathered information. The Needs-Problem Matrix (NPM), loosely based on the Quality Function Deployment’s House of Quality,7 aims to tie seemingly disparate data from several pre-ideation tools together, presenting student designers with clear connections and a path forward in the ideation process. Use of the NPM ensures that relevant information is not omitted or ignored during concept generation. With reference to Figure 1, the NPM incorporates information garnered from patent analyses, black-box models, detailed customer needs analyses with AHP weighting, and a design structure matrix used to establish design functional hierarchy.

1

Ogot, M., & Okudan, G. (2007, June), The Needs Problem Matrix: Providing Some Order To The Chaotic Ideation Fuzzy Front End Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1896

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015