Selecting the Best Solution

So many good ideas, but only one will be developed. How do you choose the design that will lead to the best solution of the problem? In some cases the design team does not make the choice – the decision is made externally by the customer, client, the marketing department, or someone else. In other cases one particular design is somewhat arbitrarily designated as the “golden” design based on personal preference or intuition, perhaps by only a single person. Another method used to choose a solution path is to have the design team vote for the best design. These methods may require little time and effort on the part of the design team, but their effectiveness can vary widely.
Alternatively, using a structured selection method can provide a more objective analysis of options, solid justification for the final selection, and will often produce a better result than those methods mentioned above. A decision matrix is commonly used in a structured selection process to objectively compare alternative concepts. The design specifications and customer needs are used as the basis of comparison to rate and rank each alternative concept. Based on the results of the decision matrix analysis, concepts can be eliminated, revised, or combined to create new and improved concepts. New issues that arise during the analysis may also necessitate revisions or additions to the design specifications. If multiple promising solutions remain, a new decision matrix can be created and the process reiterated until a single design concept emerges as the best choice.
In this project your group will select the best design solution to pursue from the multiple concepts that you have generated. In the selection process, you will refine your design ideas and use a decision matrix to compare them based on the design specification and customer requirements. You will also seek input and suggestions from individuals outside your design team.
·  Engineering notebook
·  Computer with Microsoft® software
·  Printer
·  Selecting a Solution presentation
·  Previous work from Concept Development
·  Previous work from Design Specification
·  Product Concept template
·  Decision Matrix template
·  Best Solution Rubric
1.  Using a decision matrix to compare the concepts created in Concept Development, identify the three most promising concepts for your project. At least one of the concepts must be an optimization of or a combination of two or more of your documented product concepts. Record your findings and justify your decisions in your engineering notebook.
2.  Document any new or revised concepts using the Product Concept template. Note that there should be at least one new or revised product concept.
3.  Complete Activity Concept Testing to obtain feedback from potential consumers. Take pictures to document the session and record the comments and suggestions provided on Post It notes. Insert the pictures into your engineering notebook.
4.  Review the feedback received during the poster session. Organize the information and prepare graphic representations (tables, graphs, and/or charts) of the data.
5.  Use the feedback obtained during the poster session to revise and improve your three preliminary concepts. Update your product concept documentation as necessary and document changes in your engineering notebook.
6.  Create another decision matrix to compare the three remaining design concepts. Be sure to revise the specifications, as appropriate, to better compare the more detailed concepts and address issues that have arisen during the selection process.
7.  As a team select the best solution concept from the three remaining concepts or create an improved concept by optimizing one of the designs based on the results of the decision matrix assessment.
8.  Create a document to communicate your final concept selection. Your document should be created electronically in an 8.5 x 11 format. It should include all of the sections detailed below and should meet any expectation set forth by your instructor. Beyond that, it is up to your team to ensure that the document is professional. It is your job to create something that will persuade the decision makers to pursue the detailed design, testing, and manufacture of your product.
Your document should include, at a minimum, the following:
Title Page
The title page should at least include the title of the project and team member names.
Problem Statement
It may be appropriate to elaborate on your statements in order to properly support them. For example you could include a source for statistics or a map of a geographic location.
Product Description
What is the product and what does it do? Describe the purpose and appearance of the final design concept.
How does the product work? Describe the intended operation of the product. Include inputs, outputs, and the internal processes necessary for the product to operate correctly.
How does the product solve the problem? Why did you choose this concept as the final solution to pursue? Explain, in detail, how the design concept satisfies the design specifications and customer needs and why it is better than your alternative solutions.
Most successful product designs accomplish one or more of the following:
·  Saves money
·  Saves time
·  Saves energy
·  Improves quality of life
·  Saves lives or prevent injury
·  Reduces hassle
·  Fixes a major problem in an existing product or service
Justify development of your product with one or more of these goals and include a discussion of each of the constraints and criteria included in the team’s design specifications.
·  Design specification
·  Brainstorming ideas
·  Product concepts (properly numbered and easily identified in appropriate decision matrix)
·  Consumer feedback (photos, surveys, and graphical representations)
·  Decision matrices
1.  Will using a decision matrix tool always result in selecting a product that is successful? Why or why not?
2.  Which two design specifications will impact your team’s design solution the most? Why?
3.  Explain how designing a solution is an iterative process.
4.  In addition to selecting a single product concept to pursue, how else could you use a decision matrix in the design process?

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Engineering Design and Development Component 2 Selecting the Best Solution – Page 3