Strategy Patterns

These strategies are:

Active Process

Definition: Achieve a state through actively countering all disturbances.

Opposite: Passive Structure

See Also: Operating conditions (maintenance thereof)

Examples:

Amortization

Definition: Offset fixed costs through scaling up.

Opposite: and decentralization

Examples:

  • centralized power generation
  • chip fabrication plants (get bigger and more expensive as chips get denser)

Analog Representation

Definition: Physical isomorphism to an ordinal quantity

Opposite: Discrete representation

Examples:

Asymmetric Design

Definition: Use of an an anti-symmetric design to increase order.

Opposite: Exploit symmetry

See Also:

Examples:

Bootstrap

Definition: Start a process with a smaller process that is simpler to initiate.

Opposite: Equilibrium

See Also:

Examples:

Buffering

Definition: Decouple subsystems to increase flexibility

See Also: Pre- and post processing

Examples:

Cancellation

Definition: Eliminate sources of error by systematically subtracting them.

Opposite: Constructive interference

See Also: Feedback

Examples:

Change Configuration

Definition: Employ a new or different structural or process topology.

Examples:

Change Unit Of Replacement

Definition: Eliminate a durability requirement by making something disposable.

Opposite: Amortization

See Also:

Examples:

Discrete Representation

Definition: Represent a continuous system in symbolic or digital form.

Opposite: Analog representation

See Also:

Examples:

Equilibrium

Definition: Maintain a state through balancing processes in equilibrium.

Opposite: Bootstrap

Opposite: Asymmetric design

Examples:

Exploit Different/New Material

Definition: Exploit properties of a previously unknown or unused substance.

See Also: Exploit different/new principle

Examples:

Exploit Different/New Principle

Definition: Exploit a previously unknown or unused scientific principle or effect.

See Also: Exploit different/new material

Examples:

Exploit Geometry

Definition: Employ geometry to achieve advantageous force or precision ratios.

Subcategories include:

See Also: Change Configuration, Topological Strategies

Examples:

Exploit Phase Difference

Definition: Distinguish materials on the basis of their phase (solid, liquid, or gas).

Examples:

Exploit Structural Symmetry

Definition: Allow rotational (or other) symmetry to substitute for replicated (or infinite) states.

Opposite: Asymmetric design

See Also: Equilibrium (for dynamic symmetry)

Examples:

Feedback

Definition: Employ positive or negative feedback to control a process or create oscillation.

Note:Feedback need not imply active control. Often a human is in the loop.

See Also:

Examples:

Function Sharing

Definition: Achieve efficient use of structure by sharing structures across different functions.

Opposite: Modularity

See Also:

Examples:

Generate And Test

Definition:

Opposite:

See Also:

Examples:

Idealization

Definition: Make problems tractable by idealizing the situation.

Opposite:

See Also:

Examples:

Impedance Matching

Definition:

Opposite:

See Also:

Examples:

Indirection

Definition: Introduce an intermediate conversion process, typically to increase degrees of freedom (flexibility) or match impedance (efficiency, accuracy).

Opposite:

See Also: Surrogacy as a special case of indirection.

Examples:

Interlock

Definition: Use structures and processes to mutually constrain themselves.

Opposite:

See Also:

Examples:

Landmark Calibration

Definition: Measure by comparison to a naturally occurring standard.

Opposite:

See Also:

Examples:

Miniaturization

Definition: Reduce resource consumption through scaling down.

Description: Miniaturization is the reduction in physical scale of a process or device. Miniaturization is usually pursued in the interests of efficiency and economy. In the process, a miniaturized technology often enables previously unforeseen functions and applications to emerge.

Opposite: Maximization - achieving efficiencies of scale, amortizing fixed costs.

See Also:

Examples:

Modularity

Definition: Make functions independent of each other.

Description: Directly mapping structure to function.

Opposite: Function sharing

Examples:

Modulation

Definition: Encode one signal in another signal.

See Also: Multiplexing

Examples:

Multiplexing

Definition: Share a channel across multiple signals at different times.

Opposite:

See Also: Modulation

Examples:

Operating Conditions

Definition: Design only for intended operating conditions, not all conditions

Description: A recognition that the conditions under which a process or device is conceived and manufactured is not necessarily the same as the conditions under which it normally operates.

Historically, this has meant manufacturing in extreme environments for operation in normal environments, such as melting, casting, or forging metals under extreme heat, and then allowing them to cool and retain their shape for use in everyday situations. Clean rooms for semiconductor fabrication are another example of this idea.

More recently, as man pushes into more extreme environments, this idea has been flipped around. Now, devices are being manufactured in relatively normal environments for use in space, underwater, inside nuclear reactors, etc. Often this adds new constraints to a design, but sometimes it allows a designer to relax constraints that would otherwise apply. For example, the Canadarm robot arm for the space shuttle need not be strong or stiff enough to operate under Earth's gravity. Likewise the Lunar Module need not support itself on Earth.

See Also: Sacrificial Element as way of accommodating harsh operating conditions,

See Also: Active processes as means of maintaining operating conditions.

Examples of fixed-condition designs:

Examples of adaptable designs:

Parallelism

Definition: Achieve economies of scale through replication.

Opposite: Pre- and post processing

Examples:

Pre And/Or Post-Processor

Definition: Compose designs in series.

Opposite: Parallelism

Examples:

Progressive Dilution

Definition: Dilute or concentrate a substance through repeated application of an imperfect process.

Examples:

Redundancy

Definition: Replicate for reliability, strength, power or speed.

See Also: Parallelism

Examples:

Sacrificial Element

Definition: Treat part of a device as a consumable resource.

Examples:

Staging (aka Cascade)

Definition: Compose multiple designs in series.

See Also: Pre- and post processing

Examples:

Surrogacy

Definition: Employ indirect force or action at a distance as a surrogate for direct manipulation.

Opposite:

Examples:

Tradeoff Criteria

Definition: Improve one design dimension at the expense of another.

Examples: