MIT Expert Richard de Neufville to Deliver Webinar on Flexibility in Engineering Design

Richard de Neufville By Lois Slavin
April 17, 2013

Flexibility in Engineering Design is the topic and the title of the April 22 offering of the MIT System Design and Management Program’s Systems Thinking Webinar Series. The presentation will be delivered by acclaimed MIT professor Richard de Neufville of the MIT Engineering Systems Division and department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Registration is free and open to all.

Both an engineer and a system designer, de Neufville is currently focusing his research and teaching on inserting flexibility into designing technological systems.

"Major industrial and government projects show that the use of ‘real options’, enables managers to react to unanticipated events, which significantly increases overall expected performance," he explained.

This work implies a fundamental shift in the engineering design paradigm, from a focus on fixed specifications, to a concern with system performance under the broad range of situations that could occur. His book, "Flexibility in Engineering Design", (co-authored with Stefan Scholtes of the University of Cambridge) was published by the MIT Press in 2011.

In de Neufville’s webinar, participants will get learn about:

  • the problems with predetermined forecasts or requirement sets;
  • the benefits of flexibility in engineering design and its role in designing and developing products that can adapt to a wide range of uncertainties;
  • how to utilize flexibility in engineering design;
  • how flexibility in engineering design delivers value by reducing or eliminating downside risks, increasing access to upside opportunities, and ultimately producing overall win-win solutions and developmental strategies, and;
  • a framework and next steps for applying flexibility in engineering design in your organization.

De Neufville’s webinar is free and open to all. Details/registration

De Neufville is renowned at MIT and elsewhere for innovations in engineering education. He was the Founding Chairman of the MIT Technology and Policy Program, and author of 6 major texts on systems analysis in engineering. His work has received extensive recognition by many, among them the Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, the NATO Systems Science Prize; the Sizer Award for the Most Significant Contribution to MIT Education; and the US Federal Aviation Award for Excellence in Teaching.

At present he is part of the MIT faculty team developing the new Singapore University of Technology and Design, which features a holistic education centered on technological design.

De Neufville is known worldwide for his applications in airport systems planning, design, and management and has been associated with major airport projects in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia — as well as others in Africa and Latin America.

In his spare time, he rows a single scull annually in Boston’s Head of the Charles regatta, and regularly goes on week-long hiking treks into the mountains.

Richard de Neufville