Design Methods and Design Management

Academic Staff

Fields of competence

The goal of our research group is the development and adaptation of methods and processes of systems engineering for industrial product development and university teaching in mechanical engineering. The focal point of our research are current challenges of agile PGE-Product generation engineering. With our expertise we provide incentives and specific concepts to develop innovative product ideas efficiently and qualitatively.


ASD - Agile Systems Design

Plan structured – act agile: Targeted and cost-efficient innovations with the necessary flexibility

  • Development of smart manual assembly stations
  • Innovative battery systems 2025
  • Everyday mobility for the elderly
  • Agile change management of sales structures
Fields of competence

PGE - Product Generation Engineering

Develop where, there is potential. We support you in aligning your development activities for a new product generation.

  • Determining parts, which have to be newly developed
  • Identifying and assessing development challenges
  • Increasing efficiency by reusing knowledge

Knowledge management

We enable your development by a pro-active integration of knowledge management methods

  • IN² - From INformation to INnovation
  • Need-based provision of knowledge (IRTG)
  • Development of Knowledge-Roadmaps
  • Assessment of knowledge risks
  • Data-Mining

Development in distributed teams

Product engineering in times of globalisation: We digitize collaboration and enable worldwide cooperation across development sites:

  • ProVIL – „Product development in a virtual Idea laboratory“: annual Live-Lab
  • S2S – Science 2 Society: EU-Project for distributed Open Innovation

Innovation management & product strategy

Looking ahead is vital, to be successful tomorrow! The use of appropriate and need-based methods of strategic identification of potential is therefore imperative in order to make decisions at an early stage.

  • Scenarios of mobility 2025
  • Scenarios of the application of development methods 2030
  • Technology trends 2030

Technical problem solving

The Problem solving methodology SPALTEN is a universal methodology to systematically solve problems.

  • Training SPALTEN + SPALTEN field trip
  • Appropriate and need-based recommendation of methods
  • Concept to integrate SPALTEN into everyday professional life

Development methods

We support your approach to methodical work with

  • Tools to select methods InnoFox
  • Implementation of methods
  • Interactive training
  • Methodically structured workshops
  • Approaches to increase the acceptance of methods


Validating products in mixed-reality-environments enables the safeguarding of the maturity level already in early development phases and thus helps to reduce late changes.

  • Validation of products in early development phases
  • Development of semi-virtual validation environments based on Augmented Reality Technology

ASE - Advanced Systems Engineering

Complexity is multidimensional! We support a model-based interdisciplinary cooperation in the analysis and design of complex technical systems by means of goal-oriented modelling languages e.g. SysML and C&C²-A

  • Modelling and analysing the embodiment design to function relation employing C&C²-A to identify  functionally relevant embodiment design parameters
  • Modelling of systems and systems architectures employing SysML for (partly) automated development of alternative concepts

Range of services


  • Open-Innovation make the most of your potentials! – From analysis to Innovation, together with student teams!


  • Present us with problems  – we provide you with many innovative solutions!


  • Appropriate knowledge transfer: Learn and apply methodical competence in interactive training!

Transfer projects

  • Profit from state-of-the-art research in joint projects!
Range of services



Selected publications

Albers, A., Heimicke, J., Spadinger, M., Reiss, N., Breitschuh, J., Richter, T., Bursac, N. and Marthaler, F. : „A systematic approach to situation-adequate mechatronic system development by ASD - Agile Systems Design“. In Procedia CIRP. 2019

Albers, A., Heimicke, J., Müller, J. and Spadinger, M.: „Agility and its Features in Mechatronic System Development: A Systematic Literature Review“. In Proceedings of 30th ISPIM Innovation Conference. 2019

Albers, A., Rapp, S., Peglow, N., Stürmlinger, T., Heimicke, J., Wattenberg, F., Wessels, H.: „Variations as Activity Patterns: A Basis for Project Planning in PGE – Product Generation Engineering“. In CIRP Design Conference 2019. 2019

Albers, A., Rapp, S., Spadinger, M., Richter, T., Birk, C., Marthaler, F., Heimicke, J., Kurtz, V., Wessels, H.: „THE REFERENCE SYSTEM IN THE MODEL OF PGE: PROPOSING A GENERALIZED DESCRIPTION OF REFERENCE PRODUCTS AND THEIR INTERRELATIONS“. In International Conference on Engineering Design 2019. 2019

Marthaler, F., Orsolani Uhlig, E., Siebe, A., Bursca, N., Albers, A.: „Strategische Potentialfindung zur generationsübergreifenden Produktentwicklung mit langfristigem Zeithorizont: Eine qualitative Studie im Live-Lab IP – Integrierte Produktentwicklung“. Karlsruhe, Germany, 2019

Albers, A., Heimicke, J., Walter, B., Basedow, G.N., Reiß, N., Heitger, N., Ott, S. and Bursac, N.: „Product Profiles. Modelling customer benefits as a foundation to bring inventions to innovations“. In Procedia CIRP, Vol. 70 No. 1, pp. 253–258. 2018

Albers, A., Rapp, S., Birk, C., Bursac, N.: „Die Frühe Phase der PGE–Produktgenerationsentwicklung“. In Stuttgarter Symposium für Produktentwicklung. Stuttgart, Germany, 2017

Albers, A., Reiß, N., Bursac, N. and Richter, T.: „iPeM – Integrated Product Engineering Model in Context of Product Generation Engineering“. In Procedia CIRP, Vol. 50, pp. 100–105. 2016

Albers, A., Reiß, N., Bursac, N. and Breitschuh, J.: „15 Years of SPALTEN Problem Solving Methodology in Product Development“. In Proceedings of NordDesign 2016. Trondheim, Norway, 2016

Albers, A., Bursac, N., & Wintergerst, E: „Produktgenerationsentwicklung – Bedeutung und Herausforderungen aus einer entwicklungsmethodischen Perspektive“. In Stuttgarter Symposium für Produktentwicklung 2015. Stuttgart, Germany, 2015

An overview of all IPEK publications can be found here.