A Proposal for a Formal Definition of the Design Concept

  • Paul Ralph
  • Yair Wand
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 14)


A clear and unambiguous definition of the design concept would be useful for developing a cumulative tradition for research on design. In this article we suggest a formal definition for the concept design and propose a conceptual model linking concepts related to design projects. The definition of design incorporates seven elements: agent, object, environment, goals, primitives, requirements and constraints. The design project conceptual model is based on the view that projects are temporal trajectories of work systems that include human agents who work to design systems for stakeholders, and use resources and tools to accomplish this task. We demonstrate how these two suggestions can be useful by showing that 1) the definition of design can be used to classify design knowledge and 2) the conceptual model can be used to classify design approaches.


design information systems design software design project requirements goals science of design 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Ralph
    • 1
  • Yair Wand
    • 1
  1. 1.Sauder School of BusinessUniversity of British ColumbiaCanada

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