User requirements for analogical design support tools: Learning from practitioners of bio-inspired design

13 Feb 2018

When designers develop biologically-inspired design (BID) solutions, they are engaging in a process of analogical design. Software tools have been developed to support analogical design processes, presenting designers with information to help in the construction of useful analogies. However, the requirements for such tools have not been explicitly informed by accounts of practitioners’ experiences. To address this, interviews were conducted with 14 expert practitioners in BID to understand how they find and apply cross-domain analogies. Three main themes emerged from the analysis: (1) the skill sets of individual practitioners; (2) the ways they work as part of an interdisciplinary team; and (3) their orientations to biology. These themes present opportunities and challenges for developing analogical design support tools.