Traditional engineering design is a customer-centric approach that focuses on maximizing performance objectives and minimizing costs under resource constraints. This approach may be effective in meeting the needs of a particular customer but may be detrimental for a larger group of people. A more inclusive human-centered design attempts to deal with a broader base of customers extending beyond geographical boundaries. Inadequacy of even this approach is apparent, as only humans are the center of this design paradigm.
Life Centered Design (LCD) is different from traditional design methodology. It accounts for all forms of life by creating beneficial symbiotic relationships between humans and other living matters leading to sustainability. Nature has solved most problems we face in some form, and it continues to inspire humans. In this context, the LCD approach makes perfect sense as a concept. The challenge, however, is to find solutions using the LCD approach. How do engineers, who avoided biology in the first place, identify potential solutions from nature for solving problems in hand?
This paper proposes the use of morphological charts in the early design phase to generate potential solutions. Specifically, the objective is to develop a structured system that will enable industry innovators to correlate everyday engineering functions with those available in nature. By developing a morphological chart with this correlation, engineers and designers can now identify and create life-friendly designs.