Design and Engineering – Material Order

Lars Andersen1

1Head of research. Dr. Philos. PhD. NTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Trondheim. Norway. +047 92885305.


The problem to be addressed in this paper is: why does the development of creativity based on interaction and dialogue between equal individuals stand opposed to an effective decision-making system that promotes process control and reduces design errors in the design process? The purpose of the research is to improve the new forms of design and engineering processes. The research method is a combination of formative process research, process tracking, and phenomenological analysis. The research case is the construction of a hospital. Construction in the oil industry (offshore) and shipbuilding are supporting cases. The empirical study confirms that reciprocal dialogue and the spirit of the partners' independence and equality contribute to increased creativity in the design process, but that there is still great potential for further development. The study also reveals that it is problematic to combine a strong dialogue orientation and collaboration in the design process with an efficient decision-making system. A proposition in this paper is that a satisfactory illumination of the problem to be addressed requires an extension of the existing lean discourse: The paper first discusses language action theory and the eighth flow approach in an extended theoretical and epistemological context. It then expands the discourse using modern organizational system theory and a material-technological approach.


Design, complexity, collaboration, communication, materiality



Andersen, L. 2016, 'Design and Engineering – Material Order' In:, 24th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Boston, USA, 20-22 Jul 2016.

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