Emotion comes from the Latin words “e=ex”=out and “movere”=move, and motivation comes from the same Latin word “movere”. Thus, motivation-action-emotion constitute a cycle and it is repeated.
Emotion is deeply associated with our internal desire or intrinsic motivation and our needs to grow, which psychologists point out.
Process-focused design is, in short, a design to satisfy our intrinsic desire. Why is user experience getting wide attention these days? Customers would like to customize their products. They would like to actualize themselves. But current product design focuses on final products so they have no other choice than to satisfy themselves with customizing experience as users. But if we focus our primary attention to parts instead of final products, they can enjoy customizing their products through all product lifecycle or in other words, they can also be the players in the game. That is what our customers want. And it is their internal desires. In other words, process-focused design may be called “Engineering 2.0”, if we call the traditional engineering “Engineering 1.0”, just as we say “Web 2.0” for the new web technology where there are no walls between developers and users.
It is deeply related to modularization. But we have to remember that discretization and digitalization are different. Digitalization entails meanings. Most of current modularizations are more discretization than digitalization. Process-focused design is engineering digitalization. Thus it goes together with emotional engineering. They cannot be separated. Lego would provide you with a clear image of how process-focused design and emotional engineering work together.
They are not new at all. But it looks at industry from a completely different perspective. Since humans were born on earth, they paid their efforts to make their dreams come true. That is why humans are called “Homo Faber”, i.e., human makes a tool. We make tools to make our dreams come true. This is nothing other than emotional engineering. And it is made clear that modularization was observed soon after humans were born and tried to make tools.
Biologists tell us that only human can think about the future and can dream. Engineering is here to make our dreams come true. But since the industrial Revolution, we forgot our dreams and our engineering became technology-dominated. Why did humans want to fly like a bird? They not only would like to fly, but they would like to travel comfortably for a long distance. They did not want to change vehicles for land, water and air. That was their basic desires.
But today, rails, automobiles and airplanes are developing independently without noticeable collaboration among them. What people wanted was integrated transportation. In fact, birds can fly, but they can also walk and swim. That is what people wanted. But we forgot all about it. If Lego-type industry or parts/components centered industry framework can be established, we can share many parts across industries and it would facilitate to integrate many different industries and it will also serve to meet the quickly diversifying and personalizing needs of our customers.
Process-focused design may be called Lego-style design or modular design. But current modular design is based on final products and they divide final products into modules. It is top down, but process-focused design is bottom up. It is combinatorial design. It combines many different modules into different final products, just like Lego.
Additive Manufacturing is, for example, one of the technologies that would facilitate the change of industrial framework from current linear model to parallel processing model. The current industry framework is tree-structured, but parallel processing model, which will be the industry framework tomorrow, will be Lego-style industry and it is network-structured. Such industry framework will provide fast adaptability. Until now, the range of material selection has been limited. But such new material technologies as Additive Manufacturing will provide us with far greater choices of materials. Therefore, designers and engineers can pay attention to and cater to intrinsic motivations of their customers, which bring today’s diversification and personalization. Until now, due to the limitation of material choices, engineers could not go beyond external motivation or beyond providing rewards, i.e. they could not go beyond providing better functions or product values.
Basically, process-focused design pays chief attention to parts, not to final products. Current industry framework is linear and it is final product based. But if we focus more on intermediate parts or components, and pay efforts to share them across industries, the idea of process-focused design is not limited to any particular industrial sector. Any industry can introduce the idea and reduce time, cost and energy.
In fact, process-focused design is very closely related to modularization. Current modularization pays attention only to functions, but process-focused design may be called design focusing on emotional modularization. In fact, fashion industry has been practicing such emotional modularization for a long time. We can extend the idea to engineering design and it can be extended across many different industries. It must be admitted, though, that there are industries which require high expertise and professional skills. But even in such fields, the idea can contribute to make the current complex and complicated design much simpler so that it would make MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operation) much easier.
You would understand easily if you think about Lego. Lego only provides blocks. But people enjoy building up many different things using blocks. It is most cost effective. They only provide blocks and people do not blame you no matter how much time they need to build up their own things. Thus, process-focused design will satisfy you not only emotionally to the maximum, but also attach you to the product and you will be a lifetime customer. The value is not one time, but lifetime. Thus, the reduction of energy, cost and labor will be enormous and it will make our society greener and greener.