Extension to Open Design negotiation of constraints

Let us assume that the professor of the preceding example gets a job offer for an interesting position outside the university for 20 hours per week. Obviously, he cannot accept this offer, while maintaining the constraints x1 > 10, x2 > 15, and x1 + x2 < 40. If he nevertheless wishes to accept the offer, he has to renegotiate these constraints. The last one, accepting more than 40 hours work per week, would affect his family life which is unacceptable to him. So the professor decides to renegotiate his contract with the university. In the negotiation with the research coordinator and the teaching coordinator it then becomes clear that:

• To be meaningful, research can only marginally be reduced below 15 hours/week.

• Teaching responsibility should be either more than 10 hours or limited to just one elective of say 3 hours/week.

The parties therefore decide on new (renegotiated) constraints:

There upon, the professor accepts the outside position and optimises his time as described before within constraints (3.4), (3.5), and (3.6).

In Open Design this process takes place, in essence, in the same way. Initially, the constraints are defined in such a way that no solution is possible: the solution space, also called feasible region, is zero. Contrary to classical linear programming, however, the constraints are not considered to be fixed but negotiable. The negotiations about changes in constraints in order to achieve a non-zero solution space can be limited to those constraints that really matter, i.e. those having the greatest impact on the solution space. These constraints, having major impact, can be identified by a sensitivity analysis of the constraints as initially given.

Herein lies the first major improvement brought about by the Open Design approach: identification and negotiation of the constraints that really matter for achieving a solution at all.

The second significant merit of the Open Design approach is that a higher level of satisfaction can be achieved for all stakeholders. In other approaches certain stakeholders are invariably excluded from the design process. As a result, these stakeholders tend to be dissatisfied with the outcome.

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