Volume 15, Issue 3 p. 347-354
Regular Paper

Elegant systems design: Creative fusion of simplicity and power

Azad M. Madni

Corresponding Author

Azad M. Madni

Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089

Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089Search for more papers by this author
First published: 29 May 2012
Citations: 51

Abstract

Elegance is a term frequently associated with aesthetics in design. It typically connotes simplicity, beauty, and grace. When it comes to complex systems, it also connotes predictable behavior, power, and creative functionality. Elegance is what separates the merely functional from the engaging. An elegant design usually has a thematic vision that drives its creation. It engages both designers and users and supports creative exploration on their part. The process of elegant design is an iterative, creative process that exploits systems thinking, probing questioning, and appropriate analogies and metaphors to gain insights that can be transformed novel solutions. This paper provides key insights into elegant systems design and characteristics of elegant systems designers. It offers a heuristics-driven elegant systems design process along with metrics for assessing elegance. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Syst Eng 15