Designing PSI: An introduction to the psi framework

Yoram Reich*, Eswaran Subrahmanian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The PSI spaces are a framework for studying designing as practiced in the real world: framing and solving technical, social or organizational goals embedded in the existing socio-economic and institutional cultures and practices. Given the interconnected nature of the design product, knowledge and activities, we should anticipate that understanding designing is at least as complex as designing itself. Consequently, understanding designing involves mobilizing multiple knowledge sources, with different perspectives and diversity of participants orchestrated to achieve an effective outcome. We call the study of the PSI spaces the PSI framework. We introduce the PSI spaces, and their language resting on diverse disciplines such as psychology, engineering, economics, and sociology. We introduce some of its methodological tools; how the PSI spaces might be used to explain design challenges through misalignments of the spaces and how these misalignments could be resolved. The PSI framework has significant implication to the development of design science; it demands that design science be a trans-disciplinary endeavor, in need of a flexible community that will study it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-146
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED
Issue numberDS 80-02
StatePublished - 2015
Event20th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2015 - Milan, Italy
Duration: 27 Jul 201530 Jul 2015


  • Design management
  • Design science
  • Design theory
  • Organisation of product development


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