Processus et méthodes pour la résolution de problèmes interdisciplinaires et pour l'intégration de technologies dans des Domaines fortement Basés sur la Connaissance

Abstract : Most of the major technological challenges of the 21st century like e.g., reduction of greenhouse gas emission and sustainable energy supply, but also the bio- and nano-technological revolutions require intensified collaboration between different disciplines of engineering design as well as of natural science.The present Ph.D. research tries to provide some insight into the questions of•How to provide methodological support for creative problem solving in interdisciplinary groups composed of engineers and natural scientists?•How to support the process of the integration of a technology originating from a knowledge-intensive domain in order to solve a given design problem?The literature analyzed relevant aspects on several systemic levels (global, institutional, team-, individual and problem- perspective).The review allowed highlighting problems related to both, the activity as such as well as to the methods which seem a priori appropriate to support it. In this regard, incoherent interpretive schemes and majority influence are examples for the former and performance drawbacks as well as learning difficulties associated to hierarchical methodologies are instances of the latter.Based on the results of the literature review, two experiments were conducted.The first experiment inquired into the impact of disciplinary group composition (H1) as well as of the applied methodology (H2) on the creative group problem solving process and its outcomes.In a laboratory experiment 60 participants, 45 with a life science background and 15 with a mechanical engineering background were trained either in instances of intuitive approaches (Brainstorming, Mind Mapping) or in analytical, hierarchical methodology (TRIZ/USIT). Then, they had to solve an ill-defined medical problem in either mono- or multidisciplinary teams. The creative process as well as the output was documented using questionnaires and documentation sheets. Further the output was evaluated quantitatively by two domain experts before it was categorized qualitatively.Statistical analyses (ANOVA, Correlation parameters and Attraction rates), to a certain extent, support H1 and H2. More importantly however, the experiment shows differences related to method performance in general and as a function of disciplinary group composition in particular.The second experiment investigated whether concepts of TRIZ and its derivatives ((A/U)SIT) are appropriate to provide support for the process of technology integration before the background of an industrial NCD/NPPD process (H3).In order to test this hypothesis a model was developed which allows the identification and resolution of problems which typically appear during the integration of a specific technology into a given application. The model incorporates two of the most important concepts of TRIZ, and is sought to facilitate creative problem solving attempts in both, mono- and multidisciplinary teams.The said model was tested during an industrial NCD study in the roller bearing industry. After the case study, the participating engineers were asked to compare the applied model and the associated technology integration process with existing approaches used in the company.The results of the experiment point to superior performance of the presented model in terms of knowledge transfer-related and idea quality-related criteria. However, required resources for process conduction and necessary effort for the learning of the approach were considered comparable to existing approaches.The present Ph.D. work contributes to the understanding of creative problem solving in interdisciplinary groups in general and related to technology integration in particular. Especially the comparison of more pragmatic intuitive methods with more hierarchical analytical approaches depending on disciplinary group composition provided relevant insight for R&D processes.
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Malte Schofer. Processus et méthodes pour la résolution de problèmes interdisciplinaires et pour l'intégration de technologies dans des Domaines fortement Basés sur la Connaissance. Génie mécanique [physics.class-ph]. Ecole nationale supérieure d'arts et métiers - ENSAM, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015ENAM0005⟩. ⟨tel-01304777⟩

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