Functionalist design implies managing the functional structure of the solution, based on the functionalist principles that define a process. It ends with an operational solution that can be managed by anyone without needing to manage the functionalist principles of what is being done. It uses binary actions to simplify this process.
The Unicist Functionalist Designers are tools to develop the participative design in adaptive environments to empower the functionality of business processes. They are based on a unicist ontological approach that allows managing the functionality and operation of adaptive systems.
Roles in Functionalist Design Groups
The participative process includes three roles to simplify and accelerate the design processes:
- A coordinator to organize the development of the design processes.
- An ombudsperson who is responsible for ensuring the benefits for customers and users.
- A fallacy-shooter who is responsible for ensuring the testing processes.
The Functionalist Design Process
The input to any functionalist design is the conceptual structure of the functionality of the entity that is being designed and the output is the definition of the operational design that includes the definition of the necessary binary actions. The process includes the following modules:
The unicist functionalist designer is a tool to design solutions based on the management of the requirements of a solution, the roots of its functionality, and the root causes in the case of problem-solving.
The design work begins by defining the wide context that influences the system and the restricted context that catalyzes its functionality. When the design of a specific solution occurs in a field where the functionalist structure of the category of the solution has been researched it is necessary to use the ontogenetic map of the functionalist principles.
When it is a new category of system it is necessary to research the functionalist principle which takes time and therefore requires developing a solution using palliative solutions. In this case, the design in itself is part of the research project to find the functionalist principles.
When the design includes the solution of a problem, it is necessary to develop a research work that includes all aspects that begin with the description of the facts and end with the definition of the solution and its test. This is the case in 90% of the design processes including the design of innovative solutions.
It is necessary to have sound knowledge of the field that is being approached and in the case of innovations, it is necessary to have the concept of the solution. In the case of innovation, the initial objective is to begin by designing a prototype. If there already exists a prototype there is no need for dealing with problem-solving.
Solution Design Process
There are different levels of complexity of problems. There are basically three dimensions that define their complexity:
- The level of dependence on the feedback from the environment, which is defined by the credibility and influence a solution has. The more dependent, the higher the level of complexity.
- The size of the solution that is being built. The larger the scope of activities included in a solution the higher the level of complexity.
- The level of adaptability of the solution, which defines the intrinsic complexity of its functionality.
The Functionalist Designer manages three levels of complexity which are integrated into one system. It is necessary to minimize the design effort by making solutions as simple as possible maximizing the influence on the environment to minimize the costs. The levels are:
- Level 1 of complexity, where the solution does not depend on the feedback from the environment. The solution only needs to ensure its intrinsic functionality.
- Level 2 of complexity, where the solution needs to be adaptive to the environment and has no intrinsic complexity.
- Level 3 of complexity, where the solution needs to be adaptive and has and is complex in its intrinsic functionality.
Module for Complexity Level 1
This level of complexity is based on managing the central purpose, active function, and energy conservation function of a solution.
They allow defining the synchronized binary actions that make the solution work and define the pilot tests to ensure the intrinsic functionality and the destructive tests that ensure the use of the solution.
This tool is guided by a concept map that defines the logic implicit in the different steps.
Module for Complexity Level 2
When a solution is focused on the functionality of things the level of complexity is 1. When the solution aims at the use value of something the level of complexity is 2 or 3.
The 2nd level of complexity is driven by the need of developing an adaptive solution that manages its interdependence with the environment. It uses the intrinsic functionality that has been designed before and adds the influence of the wide and restricted context.
The wide context makes the solution exist. Without fitting into the wide context solutions cannot be recognized.
The restricted context expands the possibilities of the solutions by exposing the possibility of approaching a solution based on the features of the existent alternatives plus the satisfaction of latent needs.
It implies developing the binary actions to manage the influence of the wide context and using the binary action implicit in the restricted context to open possibilities.
This level of complexity is managed by developing the necessary pilot tests of the functionality of the solution and the destructive test to test the limits of the functionality based on the possible changes in the environment.
Module for Complexity Level 3
The 3rd level of complexity needs to be managed when the solution needs to be adaptive in the environment but is also integrated by intrinsic adaptive entities that influence the external adaptability.
This level uses the input from the preceding levels that define the context and the functionality of the solution.
The third level of complexity manages the operational complexity which is defined by the development of the necessary binary actions that drive the maximal strategy of the solution and the minimum strategy of the solution.
The maximal strategy drives growth by developing the necessary added value and the minimum strategy ensures results by focusing on the purpose of the solution.
The third level includes the binary actions of the first and second levels of complexity which implies that it ends by developing the following binary actions:
- The actions to manage the influence of the environment
- The actions to generate value
- The actions to ensure the achievement of results
- The actions that satisfy the purpose of the solution
The output of the UFD is a detailed operational design of the solution based on tools that fully depend on the design that is being made or the problems that are being solved. UFD is compatible with the design tools that are available in organizations such as BPMN, CAD, Adobe, etc.
The operational design includes the building of a prototype of the final solution.
Pilot Testing and Destructive Testing Module
The designer is driven by the results of pilot tests. Pilot tests ensure the achievement of results and drive the recycling of the solutions that are being built.
Therefore, the pilot testing tool is simultaneously a learning tool that expands the available knowledge.
Each level of complexity is based on an autonomous pilot and destructive testing approach according to the binary actions that are used.
The pilot tests validate the operationality, while the destructive tests validate the functionality which includes the validity of the functionalist principles and the operationality of the synchronized binary actions.
Destructive testing validates the operationality of the solution, its adaptability due to the management of the roots of the functionality, and the validity of the functionalist knowledge that has been used.
The recycling process of failures requires moving back to the diagnosing stage to confirm the validity of the information that is tested during the destructive tests. Destructive tests are applied after the pilot tests demonstrate the functionality of a solution.
It has to be considered that pilot tests work even if the root causes are not addressed, and palliatives are being used. This is not the case with the destructive test which only works if the adaptability of the process has been achieved.