System thinking & synthesis mapping to manage product material selection process

Format: Papers, RSD9, Topic: Economics & Organisations, Topic: Mapping & Modelling

Flavia Papile
Barbara Del Curto
Andrea Coccia

Politecnico di Milano Italy | Faber S.p.A. Italy


Material selection is one of the core tasks in industrial product design practice since materials are the basis of manufactured artefacts. Over time, an increasing number of characteristics and attributes have been taken into consideration as competing and influent elements on the product’s material decision. However, even if the material selection can be efficiently supported by different methodologies, tools and platforms, still in the industrial strict routine, it is difficult to invest the right amount of time in scouting possible new material solutions to upgrade the production line.

This gap between theoretical approach and practical application of new materials influences significantly the shift towards a more sustainable development. In this paper, the material selection process has been analysed as a process within a sociocultural system (enterprise). All the collected information have been
mapped in cooperation with company employees to create a visual narrative of the whole work. The result, hence, is a synthesis map that provides a model for professionals to manage an aware material selection activity. The systemic view of the entire material selection process is then discussed: further improvements can be developed from the perspective of sustainable development and industrial/environmental interdependences.

Citation Data

Author(s): Authors: Flavia Papile, Barbara Del Curto, Andrea Coccia
Title: System thinking & synthesis mapping to manage product material selection process
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
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First published: 4 October 2020
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Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


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