Constraint management for concept ideation in conceptual design

Ang Liu*, Yuchen Wang, Ivan Teo, Stephen Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Constraint plays a critical role in swaying the direction of concept ideation in conceptual design. Design constraints should be differentiated from design objectives because they play different roles in influencing ideation. Constraint management is a very challenging task in conceptual design because they are mostly abstract, subjective, and dynamic. This paper focuses on constraint management for the sake of concept ideation. In this work, design constraints are modeled as the initial and boundary conditions of concept ideation. A new classification scheme is proposed to classify various design constraints into four categories: input internal constraint, system internal constraint, input external constraint, and system external constraint. A new concept ideation process is prescribed to generate more constraint-compliant concepts, through biologically inspired design. Some existing design methods, such as Domain Structure Matrix and Concept Map, are incorporated into the proposed process. A case study is presented to showcase how to follow the proposed method to redesign a robotic vacuum cleaner to make it more compliant with stricter design constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-48
Number of pages14
JournalCIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Biologically inspired design
  • Conceptual design
  • Design constraint
  • Design method


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