The P3 platform: an approach and software system for developing diagrammatic model-based methods in design research
Many issues in design and design management have been explored by building models which capture the relationships between different aspects of the problem at hand. These models require computer support to construct and analyse. However, appropriate modelling tools can be time-consuming to develop in a research environment. Reflecting upon five design research projects, this paper proposes that such projects can be facilitated by recognising the iterative and tightly-coupled nature of research and tool development, and by attempting to minimise the effort of solution prototyping within this process. Our approach is enabled by a software platform which can be rapidly configured to implement many conceivable modelling approaches. This configurability is complemented by an emerging library of modelling and analysis approaches tailored to explore design process systems. The platform-based approach enables any mix of modelling concepts to be easily created. We propose it could thus help researchers to explore a wide range of questions without being constrained to existing conventions for modelling – or for model integration.