Design for flexibility

Most commonly applied in the building design and construction sectors, the design for flexibility principle calls for use of underused space, expansion capacity, demountable partitions, and mobile or modular furnishings.


This concept can and should be applied to product design as well. A. Bischof and L. Blessing developed guidelines for integrating product flexibility into the design process in 2008, which include the following principles:

  • Ease and accessibility: mobility, parametric design, place quickly worn parts towards exterior
  • Standardization and modularization: parts, fasteners, joints, tools required
  • Transparency: minimize internal connections and dependencies
  • Digitization: use software instead of hardware
  • Anticipation: additional functions in the future, create buffers, add-ons, oversize, technology lock-in, redundancies