Configurators are expert systems that support product customization by defining how predefined entities and their properties can be combined. Configurators support decision-making processes in the sales and engineering phases of a product and bring substantial benefits, such as shorter lead times, fewer errors, increased ability to meet customers’ requirements and more. Developers of configuration systems act as designers, albeit often not recognizing they are performing in a design process. They define the project scope and the distinction between the problem and solution space elucidates the dualistic approach of Design Thinking (DT). DT is a human-centered approach that includes a wide perspective of stakeholders and aims at enhancing human experience and solving complicated problems by exploring both the problem and solution space. However, exploration of the solution space is typically not a big part of configuration projects, where instead the focus is on mapping the existing knowledge to the configurator. Thus, this paper investigates if the use of DT can make the configuration engineers more inclined to develop new and improved product solutions before implementing knowledge into the configurator. Firstly, the paper reviews the DT literature and discusses its potential applications in configuration projects. Secondly, the paper studies three configuration projects in which DT has been applied. Next, the case studies are compared to existing configuration projects described in the literature. The results of analysis showed that the application of DT promoted increased exploration of the solution space and better communication within organization, and that this led to improved product solutions.
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