Studying the design process in constrained environment: an empirical approach to analyzing informal metal working enterprises in Tanzania

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Keshwani, Sonal (1); Jagtap, Santosh (2); Opiyo, Eliab Z. (3)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Dayananda Sagar University, Bengaluru India; 2: Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, India; 3: St. Joseph University, Tanzania
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 3215-3224
DOI number:


Product design is one of the key features of intellectual and creative abilities of humans.

Activities of product design have attracted not only experts, but also those without any design training. Many people - working in metalworking microenterprises in the informal sector of developing countries - engage in the activities of designing and manufacturing products. However, since extant design research is mainly undertaken in developed countries, there is scarce knowledge about design activities in informal metalworking microenterprises in developing countries. This paper aims to address this issue by uncovering some aspects of design processes in such microenterprises. In particular, we explored: various product attributes that these microenterprises consider in designing products, the process steps they follow in requirements identification and solution generation, and resources (e.g., design methods, training, etc.) available to them. To explore these aspects, we conducted semi-structured interviews in 24 informal metalworking microenterprises in Tanzania. The findings have important implications for supporting their design activities.

Keywords: Conceptual design, Design practice, Sustainability, Design process, Developing Countries

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