General Morphology was developed by Fritz Zwicky, the Bulgarian-born, Swiss-national astrophysicist based at the California Institute of Technology. Among others, Zwicky applied Morphological Analysis (MA) to astronomical studies and the development of jet and rocket propulsion systems.
In order to apply morphological analysis to product design, we simply identify the critical functions in our function structure diagram and then identify many different solutions for each function. The results of this research are compiled and presented in morphological chart. A morphological chart has the critical sub functions listed across the 1st row and then each column contains the different solutions for each critical function.
For example, the figure below shows the FSD for a pneumatic nail.
Critical functions are the functions in your function structure diagram that are hard to accomplish and/or have many inputs and outputs. From the FSD for the nailer. We might select the functions “isolate mail”, “trigger tool” and “apply kinetic energy” as critical functions. For a moderately complex product design usually four to six critical sub functions are identified. Note that the function “accept energy” was not chosen as a critical function because once you’ve selected the energy source there are very few acceptable ways to fulfill the function “accept energy”For example, if in a is powered by electricity then we would be forced to use a standard electrical plug to accept the energy. If the nailer was a powered by compressed air then we would have to use industry-standard nipple to accept the compressed air.
Shows the beginning of a morphological matrix for the nailer project. The next step would be to fill in the columns with alternative methods to fulfill each critical function.
A completed Morphological matrix for an exercise product to prepare bedridden patients to use a walker is shown below.
To use a morphological matrix to generate concepts simply requires the user to select one solution from each column and then try to integrate the solutions into a complete concept.See the illustration below for details.
In order to populate the morphological matrix you need to generate ideas. The following sections will teach you techniques for individual ideation as well as group ideation.