Domain-independent models of the design process are an important means for facilitating interdisciplinary communication and for supporting multidisciplinary design. Many so-called domain-independent models are, however, not really domain independent. We state that to be domain independent, the models must abstract from domain-specific aspects, be based on the study of several design disciplines, and be useful for many design disciplines and for multidisciplinary design teams. This paper presents a domain-independent descriptive design model that is developed by studying similarities and differences between design processes in three design disciplines and which is based on the general theory of state-transition systems. The main concepts of the descriptive model are a design situation and a design activity. The descriptive model is applied in a domain-independent prescriptive model that supports designers with structured reflection on a design process; reflection provides an important possibility in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of design processes.
Reymen, I. M. M. J., Hammer, D. K., Kroes, P. A., Aken, van, J. E., Dorst, C. H., Bax, M. F. T., & Basten, T. (2006). A domain-independent descriptive design model and its application to structured reflection on design processes. Research in Engineering Design, 16(4), 147-173. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00163-006-0011-9