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Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • explain invention, design, innovation and diffusion as ongoing processes with a range of factors affecting success at each stage;

  • explain how particular products you use have a history of invention and improvement, and appreciate the role that you and your family, as consumers, have played in this history;

  • define key concepts such as invention, design, innovation, diffusion, product champion, entrep
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Module team

The T552 course team

Andy Lane, course team chair and author (1999) Karen Shipp, course team chair (2002)

Rosalind Armson, author and critical reader

Jake Chapman, author

Eion Farmer, author and critical reader

John Hamwee, author

John Martin, author

Laurence Newman, course manager

Wendy Fisher, author

John Hudson, author

Graham Paton, author

Roberts, author

Christine Bla
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1.3.8 Diagrams for communication

Commonly used diagrams for communication follow conventions that are widely understood, many diagrams used for connectivity as previously discussed also lend themselves to use in communicating ideas. A diagram developed for communication:

  • is large, clear and well laid out;

  • has shading and/or colour for emphasis;

  • has a title; and

  • has a key to the meaning of all the symbols used in the diagram.


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1.3.7 Diagrams for planning and implementation

The first principle in planning is: be clear about your own direction and purpose – in other words, your values and why you are doing anything. You can use the technique of asking why? And then why? of the answer. And then why? of the answer to that. Keep repeating this process until you get back to your underlying values to create an objectives tree or network to help you define the direction in which you wish to go and the steps necessary to get there.

In an objectives
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1.3.6 Diagrams for diagnosis

As the detail of the connectivity revealed through a diagram increases, many diagrams can be used for diagnosis by comparing a diagram of what should be happening with what is happening. This approach has been developed in detail by Bignell and Fortune (1984) to analyse systems failures. They argue that all satisfactory systems have functioning decision-making, operational and performance monitoring systems and that many failures can be explained by a failure in one of these aspects, even whe
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1.3.5 Diagrams for further analysis and quantitative model building

To gain further understanding of the connectivity in a situation, a multiple cause diagram can be converted into a sign graph by indicating whether the cause has a positive effect or a negative effect by adding the respective signs. Not all multiple cause diagrams lend themselves to this treatment as you need much greater knowledge of the situation to be able to be sure about the causal chains in a situation and the effects they are likely to have. Sign graphs are particularly useful
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1.3.4 Diagrams for connectivity

Relationship diagrams offer one way of putting more order into your understanding of a situation. Each element of a situation is named in an oval and lines between ovals indicate that there are relationships between the particular elements – but no more than this!

Systems maps are another way of developing one's understanding of a situation. Systems maps are essentially ‘structure’ diagrams. Each element or sub-system is contained in a circle or oval and a line is d
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1.2.4 Conveying information to others

Diagrams are used extensively in most types of texts, but why do authors use them? There are two main reasons:

  • to illustrate what something looks like;

  • to demonstrate how objects or ideas or quantities are organised or related.

But there is also a subsidiary reason I hinted at. Authors also use diagrams:

  • to decorate and enhance the text to make it more pleasing to read.


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12.1.1 Survey questionnaires

Questionnaires are lists of questions that enable information to be gathered efficiently from a relatively large number of respondents. Most questionnaires require a fixed type of response, such as a choice between available answers, or along a scale of response. For example, a product design questionnaire might suggest, ‘I found the product easy to use’ and provide a five-point scale of response from ‘agree strongly’ to ‘disagree strongly’. Or a question might be, ‘how often do
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9.1 User trip

This section introduces a simple method of investigating product use. Even such simple methods can provide useful information to guide product redesign and new product development.

The essential idea of user trips is simple: you just take a ‘trip’ through the whole process of using a particular product or system, making yourself a critical observant user.

The only way to learn how to make these user trips is to try one or two for yourself. You will be surprised how much you fi
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8.1.2 Feedback

A second important principle is providing feedback to the user – for example, when you press a button it moves and clicks, or you hear some other sound or you see a light to indicate the action has been registered by the machine.

Here's another short video clip from Phillip Joe at IDEO, this time on feedback.

5.14.4 Solar distillation

The energy available in solar radiation can be harnessed to distil sea water. In a simple and inexpensive solar still system designed by the Technical University of Athens, for the island of Patmos, sea water is first pumped to a feed reservoir from which it flows by gravity, when required, into a large shallow basin divided into long narrow sections (Figure 36). Separating these channels are concrete strips, which provide access for maintenance. The interior surface of the entire basin is li
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5.9.1 Microfiltration

This process removes particles between 0.05 and 5 μm in size. The water is pumped at a pressure of 100–400 kPa through the membrane module.

Microfiltration has been adopted by water companies as a means of removing some stages in the life cycle of the chlorine-resistant pathogens Cryptosporidium and Giardia. It is widely used to produce pure water for the electronics, pharmaceutical, chemical and food industries, by removing microbial cells and small particles.


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5.9 Membrane filtration

Membrane filtration is a process whereby particles smaller than about 10−2 mm (which can pass through sand filters) are removed using synthetic polymeric membranes and a high pressure. The membrane effectively acts as a sieve.

It is increasingly becoming popular as an advanced treatment process for water (especially for removal of Cryptosporidium) and wastewater (where water reuse takes place), and various possibilities are:

  • <
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3.2 The disaster

The 39-year-old Silver Bridge collapsed suddenly at about 5 p.m. on 15 December 1967 when the roadway was filled with rush-hour traffic – 37 vehicles were trapped on the roadway.

The first signs of collapse were later recounted by the survivors. Many occupants of the cars on the bridge had felt it ‘quivering’ before it fell. Most witnesses had then heard ‘cracking’ or ‘popping’ noises, some saying that it sounded like a ‘shotgun blast’. After this, the bridge started d
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2.4 Corrosion processes: galvanic corrosion

When two dissimilar metals are in contact, or in close proximity with a conducting fluid in between, an electrochemical cell can be formed that leads to the more reactive metal becoming an anode and the less reactive metal a cathode.

This kind of corrosion is known as galvanic corrosion. It is not uncommon, since metals are often coated with others of different E0, and different metals are often in close contact with a common electrolyte.

One of the earlie
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5.3 Scholarly definitions of religion

Scholars offer us many different definitions of religion, but these definitions tend to be of two types. The first type is known as a substantive definition: that is, a definition that tells us what kind of thing religion is by pointing to its distinguishing characteristic – usually its beliefs and/or practices. We can find an example of a substantive definition of religion in my summary of the definitions found in the Concise Oxford Dictionary. Think again about d. Acc
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1.2 Preparing for the video clips

Read the extract ‘I live by faith: the religions described’ by clicking the link below.

A3: this extract is from Worlds of Faith, pp.24–48, by John Bowker, 1983, with the permission of BBC Worldwide Limited.

3.4 The mass production of death

Mass shootings by soldiers and Einsatzgruppen and the use of the mobile gas vans took time and energy. There was concern about the effects on the morale of the men involved. Towards the end of 1941, even before the Wannsee Conference, the Nazis had begun building camps in Poland that incorporated large gas chambers for the mass production of death. Belzec was the first to come into operation in February 1942, killing people with carbon monoxide first released from bottles and subsequen
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.

Unit image

Courtesy of Lanterna at Flickr

All other materials included in this unit are derived from conten
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