Vol.7 No.4 2015

Research paper : New research trends in artifactology (J. OTA et al.)−201−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.7 No.4 (2015) 2005. Awareness of artifactology issues is therefore shared among many researchers, and it is clear that the importance of a subject-independent transdisciplinary framework continues to be recognized. “Problem solving” is one of the aspects intimately related to artifactology within this subject-independent discipline. Smith[6] divides problem-solving in the wider sense of the word into two approaches, namely problem setting, which comprises problem identification, definition, and structuring, and problem solving in the narrow sense, which consists of diagnosis and alternative solution generation. In many cases, the latter approach obtains a suitable solution through appropriate modeling and optimization methods. Various methods have been proposed for the former approach,[7] but overall they are predominantly termed Soft System approaches.[8] A typical method is Soft Systems Methodology (SSM).[9] This method aims at multiple problem stakeholders agreeing with others, termed accommodations, and, although it proposes a model consisting of seven steps, there is much qualitative discussion. A merging of both approaches is essential to achieving comprehensive problem solving, and although several attempts have been undertaken (e.g., reference [10]), to date no firmly established methodology exists.Against this background, we wish to take a high-level view of the positioning of artifactology in which RACE is involved. The external report formulated by Science Council of Japan’s “New Academic Framework Committee” in 2003, discusses design science, which is closely linked to artifactology, as follows:[11][12]Taken in a broad sense, the term “design science” is fitting for intellectual activities that are aimed at the “pursuit of things that should exist.” Design science must be a new science that addresses purpose and value head-on. As design is undertaken for the purpose of people, the subject of design science is artifactual systems. A new academic framework is built through a new concept of the “principle of order,” which is common to both the humanities and sciences. The three stages, the “world of materials,” the “world of biology,” and the “world of humans,” correspond to “physical science,” “life science,” and the “humanities/social sciences,” respectively. Subjects in design science are not limited to these respective domains, but it studies “artifactual systems” linked to any of the three aforementioned domains. Design is an exceedingly human activity that accomplishes its purpose by combining unchangeable laws and changeable programs and realizes value, and design science is an “artifactual system science” that provides it with a rational foundation. In other words, artifactology is an academic framework for the new creation (design) of artifactual systems in a universal sense, and, in contrast to the aforementioned problem-solving, can be said to place emphasis on creating artifacts.2.2 Disciplines artifactology research has entered and new problemsLet us now look at the kind of research RACE, which is involved in artifactology, has conducted. The center started Phase I (1992–March 2002) under a three-division system; namely, design science, manufacturing science, and intelligence science. Problem analysis, then generalization were performed for artifactology (setting off the research agenda), and the foundation was laid for a theoretical structure for the hypotheses and discoveries that realize new functions. Dematerialization and breaking of the limitations of specific disciplines were extracted as the mission of artifactology education and research. These activities also underlie the ideas involved in building a new academic field with more possibilities through a unified reconsideration of various existing fields from a perspective of functionality and universality. However, the main outcome in Phase I was the extraction of problems, and it cannot be said to have succeeded in building a methodology to tackle modern evils. Phase II (April 2002–March 2013) therefore began with the objective of applying the outcomes of Phase I to actual problems (study on creation processes). Four fields that needed to be studied in realizing this mission were proposed, and a division set up for each. First, digital value engineering was proposed as a problem and a knowledge representation method in artifactology. Next, the following were positioned as methodologies for dematerialization: life cycle engineering, which deals not with mass production or consumption but with recycling and maintenance; service engineering, which discusses artifacts from the perspective not of the manufacturing of material but of the provision of functionality; and co-creation engineering, which deals with consensus building among individuals and the construction of the associated society, and links the aforementioned life cycle engineering and service engineering from the perspective of transcending the limitations of specific disciplines.[13][14] Further, the Value Creation Initiative (Sumitomo Corporation) Division dealing with value, an important concept in artifactology, was in operation from December 2005 until March 2010. The Phase II outcomes were, in the life cycle engineering division, the establishment of an academic discipline that extended the existing life cycle engineering to cover monitoring and maintenance. In the service engineering division, a design theory for services not constrained to material functionality alone was obtained; in the digital value engineering division, new expressions of knowledge and the creation of value was obtained; and in the co-creation engineering division, a problem-solving methodology through co-creation of various acting subjects in various fields was obtained. The co-creation engineering division built the foundation for the integration of the other three research divisions. The Value Creation Initiative


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