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Engineering Design and the Product Life Cycle by John K. Estell, Kenneth J. Reid

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CHAPTER 5

CONSTRAINTS AND CRITERIA: A CLOSER LOOK

Constraints shape and focus problems and provide clear challenges to overcome. Creativity thrives best when constrained.

—Marissa Mayer, CEO, Yahoo!

An inner process stands in need of outward criteria.

—Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian-British philosopher

Constrained circumstances can bring the best out of you.

—Cameron Mackintosh, British producer

The word constraint may sound negative; after all, engineering as a profession and design as an activity are inherently creative. We are supposed to “think outside of the box,” which implies that we should not be constrained by convention. However, constraints play a crucial role in design.

We need an objective way to determine the best solution to a ...

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