• Lean Systems Design

Learn to Use Systems Thinking for Innovative
Human-Centered Product Design


Offered by the University of Michigan College of Engineering, this five-day course will engage you in the use of systems thinking for the creation of innovative, human-centered product designs, with special emphasis on the integration of human considerations at every stage in the process.

Learn from decades of University of Michigan research and industry expert experience in design thinking, design science, and systems engineering. Apply course content immediately with exercises in class and a work-based project after class, and demonstrate your knowledge by earning a University of Michigan Lean Systems Design Certification.


Program Overview

Day 1: Understanding the Stakeholders and the Product's Interface with the External World
  • Lean Systems Design framework
  • Empathizing with target customers, users and aspirants to develop a human-centered innovation plan based on insights from values, attitudes, lifestyles, desires, and unmet needs
Day 2: Developing Requirements and System Concepts
  • Developing initial requirements and criteria which optimize product appeal
Day 3: Product Architectural Design
  • Thinking outside the box using methods to generate potential solutions
  • Utilizing systems engineering methods to decompose the product optimization problem into more manageable sub-problems
  • Using human-centered innovation insights, requirements, objective functions, and risk management to converge to a final solution
Day 4: Design Integrating and Verifying; Validating the Solution
  • Sequentially verifying and integrating solutions to assure the product is effective at meeting the expectations of the target customers and users
  • Validating the final product and manufacturing/assembly process
Day 5: Reducing Risk in Product Design
  • Managing cognitive biases in design team decision making
  • Planning systems engineering project management

Learning Objectives

  • Explain why using the Lean Systems Thinking process in your company can produce human-centered leadership products efficiently
  • Understand and describe the key concepts of the U-M Lean Systems Design (SD) framework
  • Understand what steps are necessary to lead your organization to effectively utilize the Lean Systems Design framework and integrate Lean Systems Thinking Product Design process
  • Apply the techniques necessary to successfully implement the Lean SD process on the small scale project necessary for Certification

Program Faculty

Robert Bordley
Robert Bordley
Program Director, Systems Engineering & Design
Professor of Practice, Integrative Systems + Design
Adjunct Associate Professor, Industrial & Operations Engineering
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Arthur Hyde
Arthur Hyde
Adjunct Professor , Integrative Systems + Design
Chief Engineer (retired), Ford Motor Company
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Melissa Greene
Melissa Greene
Ph.D. Candidate, Design Science

Lean Systems Design 'M' Model

The Systems Engineering 'V' Model was updated to integrate the human-centered design science processes, methods, and tools, as well as lifecycle management considerations. Additionally, Lean principles that are highly complementary to present systems engineering models should be more prominently visible in the systems engineering model to make it easier to execute. The result is an 'M' model which can be scaled for use by small teams and large enterprises to better structure systems engineering management plans which are more efficient and effective than the traditional 'V' based plans.

This new Lean Systems Design 'M'  model has been developed based on the experience from two sources:

  1.  Program faculty member Art Hyde's experience from 40 years at Ford Motor Company
  2. The breadth of expertise at the University of Michigan in Systems Engineering, Design Science, Decision Science, Six-Sigma, Lean Engineering, Marketing, and Organizational Change Management.