The design of physical things has evolved greatly over many generations. From early origins of design by craftsmen and artisans, to carefully considered design and engineering on drafting boards, we have progressed today to building realistic and predictive models to explore with sophisticated software tools. But WHAT we are designing has changed. Much of the innovation and differentiation that drives product development today occurs in the domain of software and content. And that must influence the development of the physical and electronic design. We need a new generation of tools that understand and support simultaneous symbiotic development of the physical, electronic, logical, and content aspects of our products: Tools that support co-evolution of design.
For the past 16 years, COFES has been that place on the calendar that we set aside to lift our heads from the daily grind and consider our work in a broader context. This year, COFES explores the nature of the tools we will need as we reimagine design in the context of the 21st century. We’ve created great tools for the design of physical products and electronics, and decent tools for the design of software. What we haven’t done is even conceive of the tools we need for co-evolution of complex things. That’s what we will explore at COFES 2016.