Harnessing complexity in design

Timothy T. Maxwell, Atila Ertas, M. M. Tanik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Large scale design problems involve complex systems. The complexity arises from the nature of the large interconnected systems and is escalated by the background, personal characteristics, and perspectives of the individuals working on the design team. It is important for designers to understand complexity and how complexity affects the understanding and prediction of system behavior. It is even more important to manage the complexity such that it does not overwhelm the design effort and prevent the development of effective solutions. This paper presents an overview of complexity, discusses how complexity can increase almost with out bound, and suggests ways to control the impact of complexity on design processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-74
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Integrated Design and Process Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


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