Form vs. Function: A Systems Approach to Achieving Harmony 1999-01-1266
Today's world places increased emphasis on society's members to know more, to do more, to see more. Increasingly, information is thrown to the consumer that he/she has to process almost continually, regardless of their surroundings. Due to this heightened need, the customer is becoming increasingly perceptive of their vehicle surroundings, expecting their vehicle to be an extension of their home and/or office, to assist in getting things done in an environment that is as convenient and comfortable as their primary workplace.
Similarly, there is also increased emphasis on vehicles to be styled so that they are visually appealing, so that all the parts work as a whole to make the environment as enjoyable as consumers' most pleasant surroundings outside the vehicle.
To accomplish this, automotive manufacturers need to show similarities and consistencies in vehicle design/execution between other industries, such as home and office design, the computer industry, home entertainment companies, etc. The statement of ‘Form follows Function’ alludes to a relationship between two ends of a spectrum called Harmony, and this relationship is not always equal for all vehicles. There must be a balance between these two attributes in order to achieve the customer needs in the vehicle. The process of defining AND executing that ‘balance’ is what separates the winners from the losers.
We will share a view of a systems approach to achieving Harmony. Specifically, this paper will address issues such as how Harmony is defined, how the systems approach defines requirements from a ‘total vehicle’ perspective and then flows those requirements down into a ‘hardware contributor’ level in order to achieve the total vehicle performance being targetted for, how Human Factors and Harmony go hand in hand in balancing execution, and case studies validating how this process has achieved what the customer is expecting.