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The Structure of Conceptual Design

The development of solutions in complex adaptive environments requires developing the conceptual design of such solutions. Solutions imply developing systems that are integrated by processes and objects. It has to be recalled that complex systems are necessarily integrated by objects that drive their functionality.

Conceptual DesignThe purpose of conceptual design is to define the process architecture of the solution. To make this solution possible, it is necessary to be able to emulate it in mind.

Emulating in mind requires envisioning the final picture of the process and the results that will be achieved. This requires having the knowledge of the fundamentals of the process and a solution thinking approach that allows building the solution.

The emulation of the solution becomes possible if the conceptual knowledge of the solution is available. The conceptual knowledge requires managing the ontogenetic map that defines the functionality of the concept that drives the solution.

Thus conceptual design implies integrating the emulation of the solution and the conceptual knowledge of the process to build the process architecture.

The Ontogenetic Algorithm of Conceptual Design

The Guiding Idea

The driver of conceptual design is the need of a functional solution. The existence of this driver requires having an empathic relationship with the solution. The empathic relationship with the solution is the essential driver of conceptual design while the functional solution is the “functional driver”.

When the driver is given, it is necessary to be able to manage the ambiguity of complex systems integrating processes and objects to fulfill the objective of developing a solution.

This requires integrating the triadic structure that is implicit in the operational dualistic approach of building processes and objects. For this purpose, it is necessary to manage ambiguous language to integrate the apparent contradiction between processes and objects.

Evident examples of the need of ambiguous language is the integration of the concept of yin and yang, maximal and minimum strategies, active principles and energy conservation principles, processes and objects.

It has to be considered that ambiguous language is necessary to apprehend the integration of the triadic approach of nature and concepts.

To ensure the functionality of the definitions of the processes and objects it is necessary to define which will be the destructive tests that need to be done.

The Basics of Conceptual Design

The empathic capacity and the use of ambiguous language are basic to approach conceptual design. An individual can only develop conceptual design processes of entities where s/he has the necessary capacity to deal with the triadic structure of the concept of a solution.

Conceptual DesignThe approach to concepts requires managing the operational contradiction between maximal and minimum strategies by managing the ambiguity of their integration.

The Maximal Strategy

The purpose of the maximal strategies is driven by solution thinking. Solution thinking is an approach to reality based on a conceptual solution an individual has in the specific field of the problem that is being solved or in a homologous field that can be used as a benchmark.

This approach can work as a pre-conceptual approach to reality that is driven by stagnated prejudices or can work as an adaptive conceptual approach driven by the capacity of adapting to the environment and the solution that is being built. Pre-conceptual approaches build utopias, while adaptive approaches expand the boundaries of a given activity.

The adaptive approach to conceptual design requires approaching reality using a backward chaining thinking process. This process requires emulating the final solution in mind and building the process from the end to the beginning. The backward chaining thinking process is necessary to manage the PERT (project evaluation and review technique) of CPM (Critical Path Method) processes.

On the other hand, it has to be considered that the GANTT method is based on a forward chaining thinking process, which builds the solution based on the addition of tasks. The backward chaining thinking requires having the “unified field” of the solution in mind in order to have always an alternative action that ensures the achievement of the results.

The backward chaining thinking process requires using an adaptive project management process that includes the use of plans A, B, C and D in order to ensure the achievement of results.

When this backward chaining thinking approach has been integrated with the adaptive project management model, there is a need to confirm the knowledge of the fundamentals of the specific environment.

The fundamental knowledge requires having sound knowledge and successful experiences in the specific field of action or in homologous fields.

The knowledge of the fundamentals is the catalyst of the process of ensuring the functionality of the conceptual solution of the problem.

The paradox is that it is a catalyst when there is a true valid knowledge but an inhibitor if the fundamentals are approached using rationalistic, subjective or any other fallacious approaches.

The maximal strategy expands the boundaries when the solution thinking allows emulating a solution in mind integrating the backward chaining thinking with the knowledge of the fundamentals.

When the emulation of the solution has been achieved, it is time to develop the minimum strategy, which requires confirming the conceptual knowledge that underlies.

The Minimum Strategy

The minimum strategy of a conceptual design process is to ensure the conceptual solution of the problem that is being managed. The conceptual solution is given by the functionality of the conceptual structure of the entity that is being designed. The first step is to know the essential structure of the concept, which defines the “unified field” of the entity.

With the unified field in mind, it is necessary to access the ontogenetic map of the essential concept. The ontogenetic map implies the description of the essential fundamentals following the laws of complementation and supplementation following the evolution cycle.

The ontogenetic map defines the ontogenetic algorithm to develop the conceptual design of the solution. Each of the fundamentals that integrates the ontogenetic map works as an extrinsic object when it deals with the attributes of the entity or as a behavioral object when it deals with the approach to the external entity.

This ontogenetic map is in fact a knowledge object that defines the structure of the “unified field” that needs to be managed when developing the conceptual design. The risk of this knowledge is that it might be fallacious.

Therefore, the next step is to develop the necessary destructive tests to prove the limits of the validity of the knowledge.

The Minimum Strategy is sustained by a Learning Process

Unless the ontogenetic map is already installed in the long-term memory of an individual, the use of destructive tests of knowledge unavoidably drive to a learning process. These learning processes require following the stages of the learning of complexity management.

These destructive tests of knowledge are the entropy inhibitor of conceptual design. It avoids accessing a complex problem with hypothetical ideas that generate no results. This stage finishes when the knowledge demonstrates its functionality to apprehend the unified field of the solution that is being designed.

Thus a conceptual solution can be built in order to provide the necessary complement to complete the process architecture.

The Conceptual Design of the Functional Solution

The conceptual design of the functional solution is based on the integration of the emulation of the solution in the mind of the designer that drives the maximal strategy and the conceptual solution that drives the minimum strategy.

It has to be considered that the final purpose of the conceptual design is to build a solution in a complex environment.

This requires defining the processes and objects that will be used, making the necessary destructive tests of the processes to achieve a functional solution, which is used as the input for the design of the complex system.

Complex system building requires necessarily having a strategy to manage the feedback from the environment and the bi-univocal relationship among its components.

Therefore, the context of conceptual design is given by its integration with the purpose, which is the building of a complex system and the strategy that is needed to organize growth.

It needs to be clarified that a complex system cannot be transformed into an operational system with univocal cause-effect relationships. It remains complex.

What needs to be done is to develop simple tasks that can be managed by anyone in order to develop the necessary actions to produce results while the complexity is managed at a superior level.

Levels of Conceptual Design

Four levels of conceptual design have been discovered:

  • Level 1 – Guiding Idea: that has the generic guiding idea of what is being designed.
  • Level 2 – Logical Design: that has the logical design of the process.
  • Level 3 – Objects Design: that deals with the design of specific objects.
  • Level 4 – Process Design: that manages the unified field of the solution.

Conceptual DesignLevel 1: Guiding Idea

This level of conceptual design is based on the rational knowledge of the conceptual solution and the understanding of the ontogenetic map that allows apprehending the metaphors that are used to categorize the design of the solution.

This level of knowledge requires having operational experience in the field of action of the solution without having the knowledge of the unified field that is being managed.

Level 2: Logical Design

This level includes the preceding level and includes the capacity of managing the complete structure of the conceptual knowledge of the unified field of the solution.

It is based on having the capacity to manage the unified field of knowledge based on integrating it in reasonable and understandable terms as a sort of “semantic network” of interrelated concepts that need to produce a predefined result.

This level of design provides conceptual solutions that are controlled making the destructive tests of these solutions. It requires being able to apprehend the triadic structure of concepts.

This implies being able to manage the ambiguity of the conceptual structure, which includes, on the one hand, a maxima strategy and, on the other hand, an operational contradictory minimum strategy.

Level 3: Objects Design

This level includes the preceding level and includes the capacity of emulating in mind some of the objects that integrate the final solution.

On the one hand, Objects design requires having the necessary empathy with the functions that need to be built as objects and with the users of these objects.

On the other hand, the design of objects deals with the functional solutions, which requires emulating the solution in mind and developing a backward-chaining process to define the problem that needs to be solved.

This process has to be recycled until the final solution has been achieved or has been replaced by a solution of a superior level.

The contradictions that will be found in these processes need to be approached by upgrading to a superior level where these contradictions are integrating in a unified field.

The objects design is based on the knowledge of the fundamentals of the objects and the knowledge of the purpose to be achieved by the entire system.

Level 4: Process Design

This level includes the preceding level and requires being able to integrate the interdependent objects that have bi-univocal influence using a double dialectical approach.

This level allows integrating the maximal and minimum strategy of each object in order to ensure the achievement of the results.

The process is based on emulating the dynamics of the solution in mind in order to be able to develop adaptive solutions and manage the influence of the environment.

The process requires being able to manage the unified field of the entire system and its dynamics, which requires developing the necessary destructive tests of the processes in order to ensure the functionality.

The final functional solution needs to have a maximal strategy to expand the boundaries of the system and a minimum strategy to ensure its survival.

There has to exist an extreme level of empathy and ambiguity management, because a complex system is a composite object itself where all the ambiguous aspects of the objects and processes that integrate it need to be structured as functional conjunctions.