• 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.


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 for an organization to effectively utilize the Lean Systems Design framework and integrated Lean Systems Thinking Product Design process
  • Apply the techniques necessary to successfully implement the Lean SD framework and Lean Systems Thinking Product Design process on a certification project

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

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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