Systems design - transdisciplinary work

New product development is the most complex context for any organization, no matter domain they are operating in. And, since making completely new products of course are part of the life cycle of any product, our organization and its way of working needs to be able to handle that case too. New product development is about the understanding how the new parts (subsystems) in the new system architecture, where many or all of them are novel to us, will integrate to a coherent and cohesive whole. This ability is normally depicted as systems design, where also the later systems test is an important part, to be able to check the correctness of the systems design. To make a system architecture with subsystems, is a good way to get an overview, used by us humans since ancient times. The visualization is also an important part for our understanding.

New product development of course means higher complexity, compared to only changing or adding parts to an existing product. This therefore means, that our new way of working needs to consist of the ability to also make new products. This is a very important aspect to understand already before the transformation to a new way of working begins, and not as an add-on later, since this will always lead to sub-optimization and a mal-functioning way of working.

When we are making something novel, this means transdisciplinary work, which means both analysis and synthesis. We have two different scenarios depending on the novelty. When making a brand-new product, we need to find completely new knowledge about our synthesis, which is all about reducing transdisciplinary complexity. If our experts can guide us when making our new product, this means that our product is not completely new, since we can take advantage of our experience. In this case it is instead about reducing transdisciplinary complicatedness.

Any way of working in product development needs not only to be able to handle, but also differ between transdisciplinary complexity and transdisciplinary complicatedness, since the former is not predictable, but the latter is, to a high extent.

If our product (system) is big, we may also need to do proper architectures for our sub-systems, to get a better overview and understanding of our them, where the sub-systems, depending on the complexity, also may require the same transdisciplinary work.

See here for more detailed information about transdisciplinary complexity/ complicatedness, and why we need to reduce it.