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Paradoxes observed in the Engineering Design Practice

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There are paradoxical situations considered an inevitable part of product development in the corporate world. Three of such situations are:,

1. Large investments are required for the development of new products. However, the financial cost of those same investments can end up eating up product margins. The paradox being companies invest more to end up with less profitable products.

2. There is a market urge urge to innovate. However that seems to work against what can be described as the timelessness quality of a product. The paradox being that in seeking what’s new companies risk loosing what’s best.

3. Vast amounts of experience is accumulated as part of the product development process. However, very little of this experience is systematically used. The paradox being, the more experience companies accumulate, the harder it gets for them to apply it.

It is no wonder then, that the development of new products can become corporate battlefields in which fierce confrontations between internal areas of a company take place, all parties genuinely seeking the best for the company.

Sound understanding of Engineering Design and its timely application can make a big difference in improving the management and control of large product development projects, avoiding costly confrontations, increasing the profitability of the design process, and, in summary, help in solving some of the paradoxical situations just described.


GUILLERMO AGUIRRE completed his PhD at CUED in 1990 under the supervision of Ken Wallace. He then worked as CTO for Whirlpool Mexico and other large corporations, participating in the development of many of of their current product lines. He was appointed Under Secretary of Technology in the Mexican government for the 2001-2007 mandate with the task of increasing innovation in Mexican industry.

He currently runs a Strategic Product Development firm, he is one of the founding members of LatIPnet, an international business innovation network and regularly lectures at MIT and other universities on these subjects.

This talk is part of the Engineering Design Centre series.

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