On December 21st 2010, the 2nd Workshop on Complex Systems Architecting was organised in Twente. Complex systems architecting describes the art of designing complex systems (e.g. mechatronic systems, interactive systems, etc.) using a very systemic approach; divide the complex system into sub systems that can be designed and engineered. This years theme of the workshop was entitledÂ ‘Communication for Multidisciplinary Cooperation‘, which obviously has some overlap with the topic of my research. I therefore decided to submit a research poster and attend the ’1-minute-elevator-pitch’ presentations. During the 1-minute presentation everyone has exactly 1 minute and 1 sheet to present his/her work. It’s just a way to attract people to check out your research poster during lunch break.
The poster led to some interesting discussions, especially because the audience covered quite a range of disciplines, such as mechanical engineers, system architects and software engineers.
Once again it became clear that in such a diverse audience it is important to have at least some agreement on definitions. For instance, during my presentation I mentioned ‘early stage of product development’. In the REPAR project we pretty much agree that this term covers anything up to engineering. At the workshop however it turned out that ‘early stage’ is something that happens before (e.g. outside) the actual product development process; sketching, drawing and brainstorming are not part of the official process.
An interesting point that also came back during the invited speeches was the designer’s, engineer’s and system architect’s need for design context, which for this audience means the surroundings of a system component (the printer in which a printer engine should work). It is different from what in the REPAR project is refered to as context, as we usually mean the context of the product as a whole (e.g. the printshop in which a printer is used, or the road on which a truck drives).
In the end, presenting and discussing the research for/with an audience that is quite different from the ‘usual’ designers, researchers and engineers has been quite challenging, and once again pointed out the need for clear definitions of things likeÂ ‘a designer’, ‘the early stage’ and ‘virtual reality’.