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Design Tools We Use - The Morphological Matrix

13 July 2020, 11:05 am

As a product development house, we use a number of tools to help maximise your return on investment in your product and us. For us a product can be many things; objects, experiences, processes and interactions to name a few. Our success lies in our ability to deliver one or more benefits, each of which can be clearly perceived and expressed. To be able to do this consistently requires us to be proficient in the usage of a number of tools and mechanism that help drive the project forward. Today we focus on the morphological matrix.

More often than not, a lot of the designs we do end having a number of components, with multiple option for each component. Listing these components and options in the form of a table helps us look at all the options on one screen (ideally) and then compare options with one another to arrive at the best combination to develop in more detail. Now, doing a morphological matrix on engineered products might be a bit longer than what a blog post might allow. So, we’ve used a product we’re all familiar with, to illustrate how a morphological matrix works.

Consider the customary kebab at the end of a long night in town. The usual options are meat + bread + salad + sauce. Consider the table below that breaks our kebab down into its constituent elements.

The Humble Kebab

This is a morphological matrix in a very simple form. Given that there are four components as shown by the four rows, and there are three options for each component shown by the three columns, mathematically we can generate 34 (81) combinations of kebabs. So, if the morphological matrix can provide 81 design combinations for a kebab with these options, imagine the number of possibilities you will have when designing complex products!

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