The cost of learning from failures and mistakes in product design: Reviewing the literature

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Shafqat, Ali (1); Oehmen, Josef (2); Welo, Torgeir (1); Willumsen, Pelle (2)
Series: ICED
Institution: Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Section: Design methods and tools
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


In the design phase of product development (PD) process, most new products face significant uncertainties and risks. Uncertainty is typically associated with a lack of information, while learning is a process that acquires information. Therefore, learning fast and at low cost decreases the uncertainty and increases the efficiency of the product design phase. This paper investigates the concept of the cost of learning in PD?s design phase. Reviewing the literature, we conceptualize the cost of learning and review the learning methods considering three aspects in the design phase of the PD process: (1) costs associated with learning from mistakes and failures, (2) learning methods and (3) categories of learners. This paper thus provides the conceptual foundations for future work to increase the efficiency of the PD process by reducing the cost of learning from mistakes and failures.

Keywords: Design learning, Design costing, New product development, Uncertainty, Design methods


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