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Advancing Problem Definition and Concept Generation for Improved Product Life Cycle Management



Eswaran Subrahmanian, Yoram Reich


Large engineering projects have become the norm with new additional requirements arising from the point of view of life cycle management of the product. Traditional methods for generating requirements and concept generation often have not taken into account the range and diversity of disciplines that have to be part of the process. In this paper, we propose two novel processes: one for the problem definition phase and the second for the concept generation phase. These processes, by design, attempt to bring together a variety of experiences in the early stages of product development to ensure the identification of the set of goals from conception to disposal. These methods have been used in classroom settings and in industrial contexts and have been effective. However, more detailed studies of their effectiveness and tools to support these methods in large scale projects are part of future explorations with these methods.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7430
Report Number


concept generation, design process, PLM, problem definition, product design, product life cycle management, wicked problems


Subrahmanian, E. and Reich, Y. (2007), Advancing Problem Definition and Concept Generation for Improved Product Life Cycle Management, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 22, 2024)


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Created July 1, 2007, Updated November 10, 2018