This paper addresses the early design and development of amorphous systems. As competitive differentiators, many companies are focusing on amorphous systems comprised of primarily non-physical components, such as software, firmware, and service or business processes. This paper contrasts the development of amorphous systems with that of traditional physical systems. Whereas many tools used in new product development do apply to amorphous systems, the process and the tools need adaptation. The key points are: 1) Modeling of the system using “solution elements” instead of parts, 2) Preliminary concept generation based on use scenarios, and 3) Early consideration of the business model in the context of a complex value chain. The paper presents our proposed 10 step guide to amorphous product development and illustrates it with a “smart refrigerator” example, as well as citing the guide’s deployment in industry.

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