Theory of Practices as a Means to Uncover the Customer Needs

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Most of the Axiomatic Design research work focuses on the design as being a relation between the functional domain and the physical domain. Yet, the outcome of a successful design results from a definition of the functional requirements that accurately reflect the customer needs. The contribution of this paper is to help defining a theoretical framework to describe the customer needs and the related functional requirements, using the 'Theory of Practices' (TP). This theory highlights every human activity in terms of a set of actions called 'practices'. Practices relate to the actions required to fulfill a need through three variables: a material support, a competence to perform the action and a meaning that arises from the action. TP also takes into account the surrounding functions of the practice, defining them according to the milieu of its usage. Thus, TP allows a clear identification of the customer needs to fulfill and facilitates the scrutiny of the related functional requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia CIRP
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Customer Needs
  • Theory of Practices

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