Integrated Design

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Broad Definition

In a broad sense, integrated design is design of products and systems that integrates environmental, social, and economic aspects by considering all of these at the same time. This level is related to Intersectoral Integration. There is a second more fundamental level of integrated design - and that is simply interdisciplinary design within the broader design discipline. This means that an Integrated Designer is competent in conceptualization, specification, art, design, engineering, calculations, part specification, build technique, production engineering, and quality control. In other words, any great designer in not just a product design, or engineer, or artist, or fabricator, etc - the great designer is all of these things.

Integrated design is part of Integrated Education and Integrated Enterprise. In the most narrow sense at OSE, Integrated Design refers to CAD-BOM-Build techniques.

Integrated design is design that considers and includes sound materials sourcing, fabrication, and Product Ecology throughout the entire design-build process. See CAD-BOM-Build for tactics of design-admissible parts-build ergonomics integration. OSE and OBI engage in integrated design and collaborative open source design in order to break the Iron Triangle.


  1. Good for the environment. It replaces environmentally destructive production with the circular economy. For example, it can replace coal or nuclear power with solar power.
  2. Good for people. It helps people achieve Psychosocial Integration, achieve unlimited potential via Neuroplastic Sublimation, and Work-Life Integration. For example, it creates open enterprises instead of concentration of wealth - empowering individauls to their full potential. Concentration of wealth means that some have a lot, others are deprived in a zero-sum game - and is a feature of [[Artificial Scarcity. The opposite of Mutually Assured Abundance
  3. Good for the world. It moves the world towards the Open Source Economy.

More Narrow Definition: Integrated Technical Design

If we apply the concept just to technical design, then integrated technical design means a design that considers all systems of the design as one whole understood by each designer, not as a set of separate systems then are integrated at the end. This is not inconsistent with modular design, which relies on modular breakdown. Because as we break down the system into parts (such as structure-MEP-trim-landscaping) - each part is designed with an intimate understanding of the other parts in mind.

For example, when OSE designs the structure of a house, we consider how plumbing or electrical will be routed through walls, and design accordingly. This is different from an architect designing a house, and then tradespeople figuring out how to route the subsystems, while cussing out both the architect and other tradespeople for putting things in the wrong place. Unfortunately, the latter is the industry standard in mainstream residential construction.

We are seeing evidence that this applies not only in residential housing, but also in other systems such as machines, and we suspect the same applies to microchips, jet engines, and other advanced, complex system designs. This appears to be a reason why complex systems tend to be either expensive, dysfunctional, or both.

OSE Examples

  • When designing plumbing, we specify parts for ease of build combined with usability combined with Design-for-Tolerancing. Plumbing is built at the module level to integrate completely within the build process. COTS parts are used for replicability to drive the cost of housing towards zero. See sample work product of integrated plumbing: [1].