FSDE candidate presentation by Dr. Scott Flemming

Event Date:
Thursday, August 11, 2022, 9:30 am
Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering building
FSDE 205

The Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering is interviewing two candidates for a tenure track position in Engineering Design. Each candidate is invited to provide a public presentation and everyone is welcome to attend. Dr. Scott Flemming will present on August 11, 2022, at 9:30 am and Dr. Stephanie Roth on August 12, at 10 am, both in FSDE 205.

Dr. Scott Flemming (9:30 am August 11, 2022, FSDE 205)

A robust problem definition is crucial to creating sustainable engineering designs. Poorly defined projects, of course, often result in a significant waste of many kinds of resources. In addition, stakeholder and client needs must be well considered when defining a problem: poor attention to these requirements often results in solutions that simply do not work for clients, and even solutions that work against client needs and desires. While the literature suggests problem definition is extremely important, it is also evident that there are too few supports to help designers and design teams define problems well. In this talk, Dr. Flemming discusses ways of describing problems in general (in terms of goals, constraints, variables, and strategies), tools that can be used to explore problem spaces and client needs, and a method of categorizing design spaces that can aid problem recognition (The Universe of Problems Approach). The author argues that, if such supports are used, engineers will design more sustainable solutions in terms of both resource waste and the fulfilling of stakeholder needs. This talk will include the description of a study which was designed to assess the efficacy of the Universe of Problems Approach. Results of this study suggest that when novices (second-year students) are presented with opportunities to explore key problems in their field, their problem definition ability is comparable to that of the more senior years (fourth- and fifth-year students). Without exploration of these key models, novices perform statistically worse in a problem definition task than their upper-year counterparts.

Contact Name
Grant McSorley