An appraisal and classification of the transdisciplinarity of existing design tools

Mark Goudswaard, Ben Hicks, Linda Newnes

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

5 Citations (SciVal)


Transdisciplinary (TD) working offers the potential to bring together potentially disparate elements of engineering projects permitting them to concomitantly be addressed on empirical, pragmatic, normative and purposive levels. Whilst the importance and potential benefits of working in this manner are widely accepted, a key inhibitor to the adoption and embedding of TD working in practice is the variety and diversity of design tools employed and their relative levels of ability to support TD working. To explore what can be thought of as the enabling or inhibiting roles of design tools, this paper appraises common design tools and classifies them according to the level of transdisciplinary working that they permit. This is achieved by considering the capturable level of design rationale for each design tool as per Jantsch and contextualising each within the design process. The discussion considers how these findings are reflected in practice and how chains of particular tools could be employed to support TD working across the different phases of the design process. In total 41 tools are appraised with 6 acting as enablers of interdisciplinary working but none identified as truly TD. Most notably, a much greater proportion of TD enabling design tools are available to support the early phases of design. Further work might consider how education can be used to ensure effective use of current design tools and how knowledge transfer can and should be, applied to enable use of TD tool chains in industry.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransdisciplinary Engineering for Complex Socio-Technical Systems - Real-Life Applications - Proceedings of the 27th ISTE International Conference on Transdisciplinary Engineering
EditorsJerzy Pokojski, Maciej Gil, Linda Newnes, Josip Stjepandic, Nel Wognum
PublisherIOS Press BV
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781614994398
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2020
Event27th ISTE International Conference on Transdisciplinary Engineering, TE 2020 - Virtual, Online, Poland
Duration: 1 Jul 202010 Jul 2020

Publication series

NameAdvances in Transdisciplinary Engineering
ISSN (Print)2352-751X
ISSN (Electronic)2352-7528


Conference27th ISTE International Conference on Transdisciplinary Engineering, TE 2020
CityVirtual, Online


  • Design Methods
  • Design Tools
  • Transdisciplinary Engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Software
  • Algebra and Number Theory
  • Strategy and Management


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