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Unlocking Organizational Potential: A Computational Platform for Investigating Structural Interdependence in Design

[+] Author Affiliations
Jesse Olson, Jonathan Cagan, Kenneth Kotovsky

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Paper No. DETC2006-99464, pp. 345-358; 14 pages
doi:10.1115/DETC2006-99464
From:
  • ASME 2006 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4a: 18th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, September 10–13, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4258-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3784-X
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME

abstract

An organization’s design– the structuring of its resources and flows of knowledge– is an important element determining its effectiveness. An essential element to achieving an organization’s problem-solving potential is the role that interdependence, in both the task and the organization, plays in determining the dynamic and emergent system level properties of the organization. In this paper, we present a computational platform for experimentally investigating the structural dependencies found in the design of a complex system, and exploring their role in determining system behaviors and performance. The approach presented in this paper is a multiagent simulation of the conceptual design of space mission plans by Team X, an advanced projects design group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The algorithm is composed of rich, descriptive models of both the team- types and timing of interactions, collaborative methods, sequencing, rates of convergence- and the task- primary variables, their behaviors and relations, and the approaches used to resolve them. The objective is to create an environment of interaction representative of that found in actual design sessions. Better understanding how the dynamics arising from organizational and domain interdependencies impact an organization’s ability to effective resolve its task should lead to the development of guidelines for better coping with task complexities, suggest ways to better design organizations, as well as suggest ways for improving the search for innovative solutions.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME
Topics: Design

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