Policy Research Domains (Major Policy Research Domains) II. Promoting Innovation and Strengthening International Competitiveness

An Empirical Analysis on the Increasing Complexity of Artifacts, Design Processes and Product Architectures

Project Leader/Sub-Leader




OSHIKA Takashi

OSHIKA Takashi Faculty Fellow

Sub-Leader (until December 31, 2008)



Today, with advanced technologies for digitization and modularization, product designs under loose constraints will immediately be commoditized. Japan's design sector should, for its own survival, collectively and continuously address challenging design issues to take a leading position in the world's design field. In Japan, organizational strengths for integrated manufacturing are unevenly distributed for historical reasons. One way to correct this would be to face the challenges and continue to work on artifacts that have rigid functional requirements and constraints, namely products and processes incorporating complex integral architecture. In order to do this, it would be necessary to amalgamate different approaches to support the design of management, control and other systems in a complementary manner, which means providing full support for frontline designers. Japan's industry, government and academia must be united in delivering this support.

2007 - 2008

As customer needs and social constraints (environment, safety, etc.) become increasingly complex and sophisticated, firms find it more difficult to take a modular approach in the products they supply to the market. In particular, in such products as automobiles, with many mechanical components remaining, require co-evolution of mechanics, electronics and software. This demands mutual coordination between the design of controlled mechanical components and the design of controlling electronic and software components. Based on this perspective, this project inquires into the contemporary problem of "complex products" from the standpoint of design theory. Specifically, we interpret products supplied to the market as being "artifacts" (designed objects), and analyze the causes of their growing complexity, and the response of firms to such developments.

July 24, 2007 - April 30, 2009

Major Research Results


RIETI Policy Discussion Papers


RIETI Policy Discussion Papers


RIETI Discussion Papers