Modeling Complexity in the Structure of Design Regulation

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Robinson, David Myles; Dong, Andy
Series: ICED
Institution: Oregon State University
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 2685-2694
DOI number:


Government regulation shapes many aspects of the design of a product. This paper addresses the effect of the complexity of a regulation on product architecture through the structure of the regulation itself. The structure of a regulation derives from dependencies among requirements and parameters in the regulation that are ipso facto design elements. Since design elements such as requirements and parameters have no formal definition in regulation, it is difficult to identify them accurately and consistently. We apply two approaches to defining and coding requirements and parameters in the context of washing machine regulation. The two coding approaches generate networks of design elements that are analyzed to measure the complexity of the regulation and by extension the product. We find significant differences in the complexity of the regulation when coded in different ways and note deficiencies and strengths of each approach. These findings will support future research to measure the impact of regulatory complexity on product architecture.

Keywords: Design regulation, Complexity, Product architecture, Design structure matrix, Design theory

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