Exploration and early validation in Systems Engineering: A study on combining systems and design practices in systems development towards innovations in Norwegian high-tech industries
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This thesis on exploration and early validation in Systems Engineering focuses on engineering practices towards high-tech innovations in the early systems development phase. It looks towards systems and design approaches to characterize and employ a framework supporting systems engineers in defining the problem to be addressed and the iterative creation of systems concepts to resolve these issues. The evolving technology enables systems that interact and intervene with people and organizations more complexly than ever before. Consequently, the high-tech industry faces a rapidly changing market need and systems with increasing socio-technical complexity. The industry needs rapid adaptation to change to stay competitive. Staying ahead of competitors and providing significant innovative solutions are essential for the industries’ business value. In recent years, the literature has proposed combining systems and design approaches to cope with real-world problems in systems development towards innovations. However, the literature on practices to support this combination is still young. As a result, there is a knowledge gap of a practical framework to achieve this. This thesis presents research conducted as part of a research collaboration project with four Norwegian high-tech companies and two academic partners within Systems Engineering and Systems Oriented Design. The research collaboration project aimed to establish a combined systems and design framework for the industry partners to achieve significant innovations. The industry context of this thesis is within the business domains of the four industry partners, primarily focusing on the early systems development of a large-scale renewable energy system for operation in ocean space. This thesis also includes results from researching engineering practices in early systems development of product innovations in land-based industries such as chemical and demolishing plants. The thesis is article-based and consists of four independent and interlinked studies using mainly qualitative research methods. The four appended articles present the four studies. Articles 1 and 2 are part of an initial explorative study to clarify research goals and questions and gain insight into engineering practices and challenges through two industry cases. Article 3 analyzes ten industry cases exploring engineering practices from systems and design approaches and identifies industry needs and success criteria for a combined framework. Furthermore, Article 4 builds on the findings from Article 3 and employs the success criteria in a 2-year longitudinal industry case to synthesize a practical method. Finally, Article 4 evaluates the method in an industrial setting to gain insight into the main challenges in applying this way of working and provide a basis for further research. This thesis contributes to the Systems Engineering body of knowledge by gaining insight into the industry needs for a combined systems and design framework in the early systems development phase. The thesis identifies the characteristics of a framework and broadens the theoretical understanding of how such a framework supports the engineering practices towards high-tech innovation. Furthermore, the thesis proposes a practical method to guide the systems engineers in employing the framework and indicates potential challenges and lack of system engineers’ skills to practice this way of working.
Has partsArticle 1: Kjørstad M., Falk K., Muller G., Pinto J. (2019). Early Validation of User Needs in Concept Development: A Case Study in an Innovation-Oriented Consultancy. In: Ahram T, Karwowski W, Taiar R, eds. Human Systems Engineering and Design. IHSED 2018. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 876. Springer, Cham, 54-60. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-02053-8_9
Article 2: Kjørstad, M., Mansouri, M., Muller, G., Kjenner, S. (2019). Systems Thinking for Early Validation of User Needs in the Front End of Innovation; a Case Study in an Offshore SoS. Systems of Systems Engineering Conference SOSE 2019. doi: 10.1109/SYSOSE.2019.8753865
Article 3: Kjørstad M., Falk K., Muller G. (2020). Exploring a Co-Creative Problem Solving Toolbox in the Context of Norwegian High-Tech Industry. IEEE Systems Journal. doi:10.1109/JSYST.2020.3020155
Article 4: Kjørstad, M., Muller, G., Falk, K. (2021). Co-Creative Problem Solving to Support Rapid Learning of Systems Knowledge towards High-Tech Innovations: A Longitudinal Case Study. MDPI Systems Journal, 9(2):42. doi: 10.3390/systems9020042
PublisherUniversity of South-Eastern Norway
SeriesDoctoral dissertations at the University of South-Eastern Norway;121
Copyright© The Author, except otherwise stated
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/deed.en
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