Value-Driven Design

The notion of Value is not new to the field of design, but has in fact been constantly evolving and growing for the better part of the last century. The advent of Operations Research and Systems Engineering in middle of the 20th century finally gave researchers some of the tools necessary to begin attacking complex problems with some amount of scientific rigor. The period also gave rise to significant advances in the field of economics, specifically decision theory. Von Neumann and Morgenstern's investigations of games and behavior resulted in an axiomatic basis for rational decision making under uncertainty, and sparked significant research for the next fifty years on how to apply the concepts of expected utility theory in practice. In the late 1990's, George Hazelrigg and Paul Collopy began to phrase independent arguments for a holistic notion of Value as the driver of decision making in design, as opposed to requirements on individual attributes. The frameworks and concepts they developed help to provide an approach for eliciting and understanding the Value delivered by engineered systems, and prescribe a normative approach for attempting to maximize this Value under uncertainty.  For the last 20 years, the major research struggles have related to proving the concept in practice through the analysis of large scale engineering problems.

Active Research in Value-Driven Design

Current research in the field of Value-Driven Design seeks to promote the approach and make it accessible in practice in several ways:

  1. Identifying characteristics of "good" system value models
  2. Developing pragmatic methods for specifying system value models
  3. Developing pragmatic methods for distributing a system value model to other stakeholders
  4. Developing tools to aid in solving / analyzing system value models
  5. Developing confidence in the approach via practical case studies

Building Energy Modeling

Building simulation focuses on the prediction of thermal comfort and energy consumption of novel building designs, retrofits to existing buildings, and commissioning/certification of existing buildings. Learn more...

Hybrid-Energy Systems

Hybrid-energy systems provide a promising new alternative to the production of electricity and chemical products through the combination of traditional and green-technology. Learn more...