An Investigation and Review of the Knowledge Needs of Designers in SMEs

Paul Rodgers, John Clarkson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in new product development (NPD) face many challenges including minimizing NPD costs, meeting high quality demands, and reducing NPD timescales. It is generally acknowledged, however, that any organization can only realistically hope to meet two or three of these goals. For instance, companies might be able to deliver high quality products in a short time - but this will generally require substantial investment to achieve. In an attempt to meet these demands designers may have to use vast amounts of knowledge during the design of complex multidisciplinary products. This often involves the utilization of large amounts of specialist knowledge and information which is usually poorly documented and difficult to access, but is crucial to successful NPD. There is an obvious need, therefore, for some sort of computer support that will assist the designer through the complex and multidisciplinary design process. This paper presents the initial findings from a review of the knowledge needs of designers in SMEs. The review forms part of a larger project to develop a framework or generic model for representing expert design knowledge, the main objective being to identify and develop mechanisms for supporting the design team through the design process and in supporting designers in their decision-making activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-29
JournalThe Design Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998


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