Strategy Simulation in Design: The Role of Simulation in Exploring Both Business & Design Decisions

Matt Mayfield*, Stan Ruecker**

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we discuss a simulation method that allows students to experience the many typical and often underlying forces of product management and design. Given the dynamic nature of strategy and product portfolio management, it is often difficult to convey the actions necessary to juggle multiple and sometimes conflicting constraints or opportunities within a business context. For the past five years, over 200 students in 15 offerings of a Product Portfolio Management class have been using this simulation technique to combine the different perspectives of business and design and how they inform strategic decisions over time. The simulation has been successful at helping design students understand the dynamics involved in product management and how design choices can influence, and be influenced, by business forces. In particular, it helps the students extend their thinking beyond a single product or service into the considerations necessary to manage an entire portfolio of products and services. It also gives them insights into competitive issues beyond cash flow efficiency and profitability, so they come to realize, for instance, that competitors do not necessarily share the same objectives – making it possible for more than one organization to “win” at the same time.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Journal2013 IASDR Conference: Consilience and Innovation in Design
StatePublished - 2013


  • Design Strategy
  • NPD
  • Product Management
  • Product Planning
  • Simulation


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