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Design Paradigms by Henry Petroski

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Paconius and the Pedestal for Apollo

A Paradigm of Error in Conceptual Design

 

 

 

Errors can occur at all stages of the design process, but fundamental errors made at the conceptual design stage can be among the most elusive. Indeed, such errors tend to manifest themselves only when a prototype is tested, often with wholly unexpected or disastrous results. These, more than any other design errors, are invariably human errors, because a conceptual design comes only out of the uniquely human creative act of transforming some private concept from the designer’s mind to some public concept that can be described to and modified by other humans. The creative act of conceptual design is the result of nonverbal thought (Ferguson, 1977, 1992), and ...

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