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A method for comparing concepts with respect to sustainability and other values
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.
2014 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Selecting concepts involves challenging decisions because decision-makers must consider many factors and the implications of the selection are far-reaching and unknown. As markets become increasingly sustainability-driven, bringing sustainability considerations into the decision is necessary. This is challenging due to the complexity of the concept of sustainability and it being unfamiliar to many decision-makers. In this work we therefore aimed to develop support for helping decision-makers to consider sustainability when selecting a concept. We undertook a case study where we studied decision-makers selecting a road construction process. Then we developed a method of support to help these decision-makers to select a process. The developed method helps decision-makers consider sustainability aspects when selecting concepts. The method supports decision-makers to compare alternatives by using indicators that are based on the values of actors in the extended value network. Global society is included as an actor who values development that is more sustainable. We modelled and visualised the outputs from the developed method in order to support decision-makers in the case study with their specific decision. Early indications from our testing are that the method and general approach could be useful for decision-makers wanting to consider sustainability in concept selection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Budapest: Delft University , 2014.
Keywords [en]
Sustainability, sustainable product development, value, value-focused, concept selection, decision-making.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-6700Local ID: oai:bth.se:forskinfoFCF2EC74C877ABA3C1257CDF004BD3EBISBN: 9789461861764 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-6700DiVA, id: diva2:834232
Conference
Tools and Methods for Competitive Engineering (TMCE)
Note

Tools and Methods for Competitive Engineering 2014 conference proceedings. ISBN/EAN (Printed Proceedings Volumes 1 and 2): 9789461861764. ISBN/EAN (Digital Proceedings USB Flash Drive): 9789461861771.

Available from: 2014-05-22 Created: 2014-05-21 Last updated: 2018-09-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Integrating sustainability into concept selection decision-making
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Integrating sustainability into concept selection decision-making
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The audience for this research is fellow researchers and others helping product developers to start including sustainability when they are selecting product concepts.

The aims of the research were to understand the needs of product developers integrating sustainability into concept selection and what might be done to help them.

The research approach was to iterate between the three studies of design research methodology. The first study focused on understanding the challenges that product developers face when integrating sustainability into concept selection. The aim of the second study was to identify potential support to help product developers to deal with the challenges.  And the third study was to try out the potential support to see if it actually helps product developers address the challenges they face. These studies were executed through reviewing literature and exploring two cases.

The results led to a focus on supporting the decision-making process and supporting analysing with  respect to social sustainability.  Selecting concepts is a complex decision made under challenging conditions. Bringing in the complex, new and unfamiliar aspects of sustainability can make good decision-making even more challenging. When integrating sustainability, two particular barriers to good concept selection decision-making are errors due to illusory correlation and confirmation bias.

Despite the challenges, how good you are at making decisions matters. And a good decision-making process drives good decisions. This is especially relevant when bringing in complex and unfamiliar aspects, such as sustainability.  A likely candidate for helping product developers achieve a good decision-making process when integrating sustainability is active, value-focused decision-support. In other words, structuring the process into bite-sized steps and using particular techniques to avoid bias. At each step, decision-makers’ focus is anchored by the things that stakeholders value as important.   Further research is required to investigate the details of how to employ these process-support approaches in the particular context of integrating sustainability into concept selection decision-making.

In addition to a process, complicated selection decisions demand analysis. Support for analysing concepts with respect to social sustainability was identified as a gap. We explored a potential approach that might contribute to this analysis, but found that it was not useful for the particular decision in hand.  This opened up some interesting questions for further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2015
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 11
Keywords
Sustainable product development, decision-making, concept selection
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-10971 (URN)978-91-7295-320-8 (ISBN)
Presentation
2015-12-17, 09:00 (English)
Supervisors
Projects
Model driven development and decision support
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2015-11-16 Created: 2015-11-12 Last updated: 2015-12-22Bibliographically approved
2. The individual human side of supporting sustainable design beginners
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The individual human side of supporting sustainable design beginners
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Starting to include sustainability considerations in a design project is a transition requiring a change in how things are done, that is, a change in behaviour. Furthermore, this transition takes place in the midst of the usual pressures of product design. Prior research on sustainable design has mostly explored the so-called technical side – identifying what tasks should be performed, such as specifics of including sustainability criteria when analysing product concepts. However, this has not been enough. These tasks are not being performed to the extent that they could, or that is needed. Recent studies have advocated the consideration of the human nature of the people who are to execute these ‘technical’ tasks. In other words, there is a need to work with the socio-psychological factors in order to help sustainable design beginners to adopt new mindsets and practice (their usual way of doing design).

My aim was therefore to investigate how to support individual product design team members with the human aspects of transitioning to executing sustainable design. In particular, I focused on supporting good individual decision-making and individual behaviour change. This aim was addressed through multiple research projects with four partner companies working with the early phases of product design. Given a focus to change practice, I followed an action research approach with a particular emphasis on theory building. This action research approach comprised two phases: understanding the challenge and context, and then iteratively developing solutions through a theorise–design-act-observe-reflect cycle.

Through the research projects, my colleagues and I found that there are challenges related to behaviour change and decision-making that are hindering execution of sustainable design. In order to help organisations to overcome or avoid these challenges, we found that it may be beneficial for those developing sustainable design tools and methods to (i) use techniques to mitigate for cognitive illusions, (ii) provide individuals with the opportunity to implement sustainable design while helping those individuals to increase their motivation and capability to execute sustainable design, and (iii) communicate with these individuals in such a way as to avoid triggering psychological barriers (self-defence mechanisms). I combined these points into two models.

Together with the partner organisations, we applied the two models to design some actions that we then tested. The actions included integrating behaviour change and decision-making considerations into sustainable design tools as well as stand-alone interventions in the culture.

Given the findings of these studies, I urge developers of sustainable design tools to see implementation of their tool as a learning journey. The beginning of the journey should comprise small steps supported by handrails, which then increase in size and decrease in support as the journey continues. Especially in the beginning, tool developers will also need to help travellers to avoid the decision-making errors that occur due to being in unfamiliar territory.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2018
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series, ISSN 1653-2090 ; 9
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-16972 (URN)978-91-7295-357-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-10-19, J1650, Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 371 79 Karlskrona, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2018-09-10 Created: 2018-09-06 Last updated: 2018-09-28Bibliographically approved

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Gould, RachaelThompson, Anthony

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