The initial phases of the design process -- including interactions with stakeholders, ideation of concept candidates, and the selection of the best candidates --- have a large impact on the success of a project as a whole. Much of the value generated during these phases comes from the designers' exploration of the design space as they create concepts for the final solution. Unfortunately, an entire dimension of the design space is often ignored during the initial phases of the design process -- the tactics dimension. Engineers tend to emphasize the design of technology in their work, while paying less attention to how that technology is used. By adding tactics to technology as two dimensions of the design space and creating the Tech/Tac plot as a means for visualizing those dimensions, the designer's ability to visualize, understand, and explore an expanded design space is improved. In this paper, we introduce a deliberate design-space structure that can help teams generate and evaluate integrated Tech/Tac concepts. The structure improves concept exploration during the early phases of the design process by harnessing the information provided by a two-dimensional, structured design space. This design space is represented here as a vector space with a basis of technology and tactics. Also presented are definitions and principles that facilitate the use of the technology-tactics framework to represent the design space in various useful ways. Six tests were carried out during this research to develop and evaluate the structure. The final instantiation of the concepts presented in this paper has been shown to be meaningful to design teams during ideation.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





Design space exploration, Ideation effectiveness, Technology, Tactics, Technology-tactics plot, Bi-objective



Included in

Engineering Commons