Enhancing the design dialogue: a study of engineering design meetings

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This research investigates the phenomenon of knowledge and information loss within engineering design and develops a prescriptive framework which if applied to teams working at an either co-located or distributed level, can aid in the identification and subsequent capture of critical informal product and process information.
The work reported within this thesis stems from the current paradigm shift from product delivery to through-life service support within the engineering industry. The focus of this research is on synchronous engineering design meetings and social interactions, where traditional records fall short of documenting many important design decisions. Many companies are now faced with the challenge of creating accurate and reusable documents of design activities in order to support their products through life. The aim of this work is to assist design engineers to record more information and knowledge than traditionally documented, providing a much richer product history and allowing the design process to be revisited and subsequently reused. This thesis addresses one key aspect of this challenge: the need to create richer and more accurate records of synchronous design activities and in particular meeting based activities. The development of enhanced documentary systems complemented with multi-modal data objects such as audio and video has the potential to improve the recording of knowledge and information throughout meeting activities for re-use at latter instances in the product lifecycle.
This thesis develops a framework specifically to enhance the capture of discursive and collaborative aspects of synchronous design activities, and in doing so, document not only the discussions and decisions made therein but also the information resources utilised within such design episodes. The mechanism to validate and analyse the framework is demonstrated through the development of a prototypal system. Through the undertaking of design based case studies and experiments, the records generated by the system provide on average a 54% more accurate and therefore complete depiction of activities undertaken. In addition, time savings of up to 51% are recognised through the eradication of additional post processing activities. In summary, the development and application of the framework is shown to provide positive direction for future development of such documentary activities.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
  • Ion, William, Supervisor
Award date10 May 2011
Place of PublicationGlasgow
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2011


  • design dialogue
  • engineering design meetings
  • product and process information
  • engineering industry
  • information and knowledge
  • documentation
  • records
  • synchronous design activities
  • post processing activities
  • design based case studies


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