A3 thinking approach to support knowledge-driven design

N. Mohd Saad, A. Al-Ashaab, M. Maksimovic, L. Zhu, E. Shehab, P. Ewers, A. Kassam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Problem solving is a crucial skill in product de- velopment. Any lack of effective decision making at an early design stage will affect productivity and increase costs and the lead time for the other stages of the product devel- opment life cycle. This could be improved by the use of a simple and informative approach which allows the designers and engineers to make decisions in product design by pro- viding useful knowledge. This paper presents a novel A3 thinking approach to problem solving in product design, and provides a new A3 template which is structured from a combination of customised elements (e.g. the 8 Disciplines approach) and reflection practice. This approach was vali- dated using a case study in the electromagnetic compatibil- ity (EMC) design issue for an automotive electrical sub- assembly product. The main advantage of the developed approach is to create and capture the useful knowledge in a simple manner. Moreover, the approach provides a reflec- tion section allowing the designers to turn their experience of design problem solving into proper learning and to rep- resent their understanding of the design solution. These will be systematically structured (e.g. as a design checklist) to be circulated and shared as a reference for future design pro- jects. Thus, the recurrence of similar design problems will be prevented and will aid the designers in adopting the expected EMC test results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1386
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • A3 Thinking
  • Knowledge-driven design
  • Problem solving
  • Product design

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