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Applications of General Morphological Analysis: From Engineering Design to Policy Analysis

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Since its conception and development in the late 1940’s by Fritz Zwicky at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the “morphological approach” – or General Morphological Analysis (GMA) – has been applied to many diverse areas of study, from engineering design and technological forecasting to policy analysis, organisational development and creative writing. This article outlines the numerous applications of GMA developed since the 1950’s and gives examples from some 80 published articles. Early examples of Zwicky’s work are also described and an overview of modern, computer-aided GMA is presented.
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Acta Morphologica Generalis AMG Vol. 4 No. 1 (2015)
© Swedish Morphological Society ISSN 2001-2241
Applications of General Morphological Analysis
From Engineering Design to Policy Analysis
Asunción Álvarez1 and Tom Ritchey2
Abstract: Since its conception and development in the late 1940’s by Fritz Zwicky at the California
Institute of Technology (Caltech), the “morphological approach” – or General Morphological Analy-
sis (GMA) has been applied to many diverse areas of study, from engineering design and techno-
logical forecasting to policy analysis, organisational development and creative writing. This article
outlines the numerous applications of GMA developed since the 1950’s and gives examples from
some 80 published articles. Early examples of Zwicky’s work are also described and an overview of
modern, computer-aided GMA is presented.
Keywords: General morphological analysis, non-quantified modelling, engineering design, scenario de-
velopment, policy analysis, product design, design theory, technological forecasting, Fritz Zwicky.
1. Introduction and background
The term “morphology” (from the Greek μορφή, morphé = form) is used in a number of scientific
disciplines to refer to the study of the structural relationships between different parts or aspects of
the object of study. For example, in biology, morphology is the study of the form and structure of
organisms and their specific structural features; in linguistics, it is the branch of grammar that studies
the structure of forms of words, mainly through the use of the morpheme construct; in geology,
geomorphology is the study of landforms and the processes that shape them; urban morphology is
the study of the form of human settlements and the process of their formation.
In this context, morphological analysis refers to the analysis of structural relationships within the
particular scientific discipline where this term is used. However, in the 1940s and 50s, Fritz Zwicky,
the Caltech astrophysicist, generalised the “morphological approach” as a method for exploring all
possible solutions to any type of multi-dimensional, essentially non-quantified problem complex.
“Attention has been called to the fact that the term morphology has long been used in
many fields of science to designate research on structural interrelations for instance
in anatomy, geology, botany and biology. ... I have proposed to generalize and sys-
tematize the concept of morphological research and include not only the study of the
shapes of geometrical, geological, biological, and generally material structures, but
also to study the more abstract structural interrelations among phenomena, concepts,
and ideas, whatever their character might be.” (Zwicky, 1969, p. 34)
Zwicky applied general morphology to a number of different fields of enquiry including astronomy,
engineering design (especially jet and rocket propulsion systems), social policy, legal systems and
ethical issues in fact any complex social-technical problem that requires “… an integrated view
which relates ... technical, political, psychological and ethical factors… All of these factors add up to
a complex task which is beyond the power of ordinary scientific, technical and managerial experts.”
(Zwicky, 1960).
1 InPlanta, Madrid
2 Corresponding author, Swedish Morphological Society Contact: ritchey@swemorph.com
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This breadth of application is not surprising, given that General Morphological Analysis (GMA) is
essentially a general method for non-quantified modelling. However, to date there is no overview of
the literature in GMA, and no classification of the diverse areas of study to which it has been ap-
plied. For this purpose, we have attempted to categorise the main areas in which GMA has been
applied to date. We have settled on the following:
Engineering and product design
General design theory and architecture
Futures studies and scenario development
Technology foresight/technological forecasting (broken out of Futures Studies)
Management science, policy analysis and organisational design
Security, safety and defence studies
Creativity, innovation and knowledge management
Modelling theory, OR methods and GMA itself
Some comments are in order here. Firstly, this classification was not developed according to any
deeper theoretical considerations. It is mainly based on two decades of working with GMA in differ-
ent contexts. Its aim is to provide an intuitive overview of how and for what purpose GMA has
been/can be applied, rather than attempting to formulate a strict taxonomy. These categories are
hardly water-tight: they are not all on the “same level” so to speak, and there is a good deal of over-
lap or fuzziness between them. For this reason, many of the articles presented here could very well
fit into more than one of the categories (although we have chosen not to do this).
There are also a good many examples of studies employing GMA which are not captured in any of
these categories (unless we allow for the category of “general design theory” to cover all stray dogs).
During the past 20 years, numerous enquiries have been made, and in some cases studies carried out,
concerning the most varied of structural forms, e.g. morphologies of psychotherapeutic procedures;
of techniques in the plastic arts; of story-line development for screenplays; of facilitation techniques
and methods of group counselling. The list could go on.
Finally and perhaps needless to say this is a survey aimed at presenting relevant examples of the
varied applications of GMA, and not an attempt to give an exhaustive presentation of the literature.
We have undoubtedly missed some relevant works, and we apologise if we have overlooked any
important contributions. In this context, it should also be kept in mind that the concept of “morpho-
logical analysis” (or the “morphological approach”) as a method for creative thinking and problem
structuring is mentioned in hundreds if not thousands of articles from the 1960’s forward. We do
not include such articles, but only those whose focus is actually on applying GMA.
A personal note from co-author Tom Ritchey: I apologise for the fact that so many of my own contri-
butions are included here. Initially, I chose to limit the number of “Ritchey articles” to one per cate-
gory in hopes of avoiding being branded a self-aggrandising twit. However, some of my colleagues
pointed out that many of the articles that I had decided not to include treated important methodologi-
cal issues concerning modern GMA, and that I would be a bigger twit if I left them out. They also
said that I should have the guts to “take the flack” if need be. So be it.
For those readers who are not previously acquainted with GMA, a brief theoretical and methodologi-
cal overview is provided in the Section 11. If you are new to this area, things will make more sense
if you read it first.
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2. Zwicky’s early work with GMA
Fritz Zwicky’s original work with general morphology was in the fields of astrophysics and engi-
neering design. The three examples presented here represent some of the earliest work done with
GMA. They are presented purely for historical reasons, to show how Zwicky conceived of the “mor-
phological approach” relatively early on.
Two of the examples are taken from Zwicky’s visionary work in astrophysics: Morphological As-
tronomy from 1948 (also expanded and published in book form in 1957). Here Zwicky proposes the
application of morphological methods in order to “gain an overall perspective of what still can be
done, of what is possible with available means and manpower and what might come if these means
were radically expanded beyond those presently realized”.
Example 1: Designing a new type of telescope
Zwicky uses this first example mainly as an exercise to show how the morphological approach
works. After initially formulating the problem to be studied (which sometimes is a formidable, itera-
tive task in itself), one begins by identifying and designating all of the possible quantitative and
qualitative parameters that are relevant to the problem. In this case, it would consist of all possible
attributes of telescopes and their performance characteristics. For instance, one significant parameter
would be the ratio r of the energy entering the telescope aperture to the energy absorbed in the re-
cording instrument. This ratio might be:
A1: r >1; A2: r 1; A3: r < 1
A second parameter B could list all the recording devices available (i.e. photographic plates, ioniza-
tion chambers, photocells, etc.). A third parameter C describes the type of interaction of the light
with the optical parts of the telescope”, e.g. reflection, diffraction, refraction, etc.
Thus an array of parameters, represented by their respective (discrete) values ranges, is given in the
matrix in Figure 1. This is the original form that Zwicky gave to a morphological field that came to
be called an n-dimensional Zwicky Box.
Fig. 1: Zwicky’s original representation of the morphological field for an X-
dimensional problem, with one “solution” displayed (circles). (From Mor-
phological Astronomy, 1948).
If the number of elements in each parameter is respectively nA, nB, nC,… nX, then the total number n
of types of possible telescopes is n = nA
nB,
nC
nX. In Fig. 1, one of these possible combinations
of parameters is displayed in (A1 + B2 + C2 + … + X3).
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One then carries out a performance analysis of the telescopes arising from each of all the possible
combinations arrived at. This process represents two strangely superimposed (and what might seem
to be mentally contradictory) tasks: on the one hand, of identifying combinations of attributes which
are seen to be logically impossible or empirically implausible and discarding them; and on the
other hand, of keeping one’s mind open for the discovery of strange and novel combinations that we
may not hitherto have imagined. (This exhaustive method of examining each possible “configura-
tion” can be done if the model is small enough. Already 6 parameters, each containing 4 attributes,
will result in 4096 possible combinations.)
Example 2: The general problem of astronomy
Zwicky then goes on to outline the more ambitions challenge of showing how the morphological
method might be applied to “the general problem of astronomy”, which would include the following
areas:
(a) Observation of celestial phenomena
(b) Experimentation with celestial phenomena
(c) Theoretical integration
(d) Use of the knowledge gained in construction
(e) Dissemination of the knowledge and its bearing on all activities of Man.
Note that these areas, in turn, can each be studied as (initially) separate small morphological models.
He thus breaks down the “Observation of celestial phenomenainto the following parameters:
(α) The instruments to be used for observation
(β) The location of these instruments
(γ) The alternative of manned and unmanned instruments
(δ) The objects of observation (divided into 1) the contents of the universe and their quantitative
and qualitative nature, and 2) the physical laws governing the interactions of the celestial
bodies and the general fields
Although Zwicky does not go on to formulate a full morphological field for these parameters, it
could look something like Figure 2, rendered in contemporary GMA field-format.
Figure 2. Hypothetical morphological field for Zwicky’s outline for “Observation of celestial phenomena”.
Note that the parameter “The objects of observation” could be turned into two separate parameters, each bro-
ken down into a number of sub-categories.
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Example 3: A Morphology of Propulsive Power
The third example is taken from one of Zwicky’s most well known works in the area of engineering
design: Morphology of Propulsive Power (Zwicky, 1962). Here he categorised and exemplified
576 theoretically possible modes of propulsion systems using six parameters (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Zwicky’s propulsive power morphology from 1962, containing six dimensions (parameters) and 576
(4x4x3x3x2x2) formal configurations one displayed.
While Morphological Astronomy and Morphology of Propulsive Power remain among his most well
known works, Zwicky made scores of morphological studies from the late 1940’s until his retirement
in 1969. Many of these still languish, unpublished, in the Zwicky Archives in his home town of Gla-
rus in Switzerland. However, we can get an idea of the diversity of his work in some of his other
published studies. These include Morphology of Justice in the Space Age”; “Morphology of Multi-
Language Teaching”; and “Morphology of Codes of Conduct in Law and the Administration of Jus-
tice”. All of Zwicky’s publications are listed on the site of the Fritz Zwicky Stiftung, at:
www.zwicky-stiftung.ch. There is a recent English language biography published by the Stiftung:
Ströckli, A. & Müller, R. (2011) Fritz Zwicky: An Extraordinary Astrophysicist, Cambridge Sci-
entific Publishers.
A review of the biography is available online:
Book Review: “Fritz Zwicky: An Extraordinary Astrophysicist” by Tom Ritchey. Acta Mor-
phologica Generalis, 1(3), 2012. [Available online at:
http://www.amg.swemorph.com/pdf/amg-1-3-2012.pdf]
There are also two available summaries of Zwicky’s life and work:
Remembering Zwicky by Jesse Greenstein and Albert Wilson. Engineering and Science 37:15-19,
1974. [Available online at: http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/3021/1/zwicky.pdf]
Idea Man by Stephan M. Maurer. Beamline, 2002.
[Available online at: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/pubs/beamline/31/1/31-1-maurer.pdf]
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3. Applications in Engineering and Product Design
GMA is an ideal fit for engineering design, given the large number of diverse variables generally
involved in engineering problems. Indeed, engineering design was one of the main applications for
GMA from its beginnings (see K.W. Norris, below). With the far more advanced IT techniques now
available, the application of GMA to engineering and product design is becoming more widespread.
Here are examples of some of the many articles available.
3.1 The morphological approach to engineering design (1963)
Norris, K. W. (1963) “The morphological approach to engineering design, in J. C. Jones and
D. G. Thornley (eds), Conference on Design Methods, New York: Macmillan.
This is the classic, often cited forerunner in applied morphological analysis (other than
Zwicky’s own work). It describes how “the morphological approach” was applied by a pio-
neering engineering firm the Norris Brothers in Sussex, England in a historical milestone
in engineering design: the development of the Bluebird hydroplane and cars, which set eight
world speed records. Ken Norris outlines his interpretation of the morphological approach to
engineering design, giving various examples to showcase its strengths and potential weak-
nesses. Norris proposes establishing standard terms for the design process in general and the
morphological approach in particular in order to aid education and discussion. He also pro-
poses investigating the possibility of using computers to “separate and collate solutions… so
that the elimination procedure becomes more automatic and less dependent upon the engi-
neer’s intuition”. A more detailed presentation of the Norris brothers work with GMA is given
in the article:
Álvarez, A. (2014) “The Norris Brothers Ltd. morphological approach to engineering design –
an early example of applied morphological analysis”. Acta Morph Gen, 3(2). [Available at:
http://www.amg.swemorph.com/pdf/amg-3-2-2014.pdf]
3.2 Long-range process design (1968)
Bridgewater, A. (1968) "Long Range Process Design and Morphological Analysis", The Chemical
Engineer, April 1968.
Bridgewater, a great proponent of GMA, advanced it in a number of areas, including Technologi-
cal Forecasting (see /u). This is one of the earliest applications after Norris’ initial article.
3.3 Morphology in systems engineering (1969)
Hall, Arthur D. (1969) "Three-Dimensional Morphology of Systems Engineering", IEEE Transac-
tions on Systems Science and Cybernetics, 5(2).
From the abstract: “This valuable approach is essentially a search technique for piling up alterna-
tives in a design problem. In this paper the technique will be used to present a new and simple
model of the field of systems engineering that may be useful in surprising ways”.
3.4 Analysis of the design space of input devices (1991)
Card, S., Mackinlay, J. & Robertson, G. (1991) A Morphological Analysis of the Design
Space of Input Devices, ACM Transactions on Information Systems, 9(2). Xerox Palo Alto
Research Center.
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In 1991, three researchers at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre published a paper on a way
to systematise input devices for communication between humans and computers by means of
morphological analysis. In particular, they used a morphological matrix to show why a
mouse is a more effective input device than a head-mouse, and where in the design space
there is likely to be a more effective device than the mouse.
3.5 Morphological analysis for product design (2000)
Belaziz, M., Bouras, A. & Brun, J-M (2000) “Morphological analysis for product design”,
Computer-aided Design - CAD , 32(5-6).
This article describes how morphological analysis can be applied in Computer-Aided Design
(CAD). It contributes highly in product optimisation while decreasing design cost and time.
For analysis applications, the adaptation of the product geometry is required and consists of
producing an idealised model from a “solid” product. This tool is based on a morphological
analysis of the solid model followed by a two-phase process: simplification and idealisation.
3.6 Morphological analysis for innovative mechanical design (2005)
Dartnall, J. & Johnston, S. (2005) “Morphological Analysis (MA) leading to Innovative Me-
chanical Design”, International Conference on Engineering Design, Iced 05, Melbourne.
Morphological Analysis is applied to a conceptual design where the designer is attempting to
exhaustively search a defined design space in order to select the most appropriate (innovative)
design solution. The essence of the methodology is that the designer should be looking for
new opportunities and for contradictions, and be prepared to modify a previously defined ex-
haustive morphological procedure as new information surfaces. In the case study presented
here, the initial search was to find all the ways to assemble the basic elements of down-hole
water lifting piston pump.
3.7 Integrated Design and Manufacturing (2005)
Gogu, G. (2005) “Evolutionary Morphology”, in Bramley, A, Brissaud, D., Coutellier, D. &
McMahon , C. (2005) Advances in Integrated Design and Manufacturing in Mechanical En-
gineering, Springer.
From the abstract: The paper presents a new structured approach to inventive engineering design,
called evolutionary morphology (EM), as proposed by the author of this article. In the first part of
the paper we present the main paradigms and the formalization of this new method integrating
morphological and evolutionary approaches. EM and evolutionary algorithms are in fact comple-
mentary methods. The main EM paradigms are inspired by the synthetic theory of evolution devel-
oped by modern biology.
3.8 Application to the design of a robotic laparoscope (2009)
Villegas Medina, G., Pham, M. & , Marquis-Favre, W. (2009) "A Modified Zwicky's Morphologi-
cal Analysis: Application to the design of a robotic laparoscope", Proceedings of the International
Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE), (22).
From the abstract: “This paper deals with a Modified Zwicky’s Morphological Analysis procedure
whose the main goal is to reduce the analysis time by introducing a weight and preference coeffi-
cients with respect to sets of criteria. The proposed method is applied to the design of a laparo-
scopic flexible system. A discussion of the results is presented in order to show the implications of
the procedure but also to highlight the possible improvements.
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3.9 The development of morphological analysis in Systems Engineering (2010)
Jimenez, H. & Mavris, D. (2010) “An Evolution of Morphological Analysis Applications in Sys-
tems Engineering, Proceeding of the 48th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New
Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition, Orlando, Florida.
Morphological analysis is described as a simple yet powerful technique that has been incorporated
in many different forms within systems engineering and design applications. Its relevance in sys-
tems engineering lies in the way that it supports the practical implementation of system decomposi-
tion and synthesis, recognized as fundamental systems engineering concepts. Recent advances in
its implementation are discussed, leveraging on new mathematical formulations and software de-
velopment. This had addressed some of the earlier shortcomings and reveals an evolution of this
technique across multiple systems engineering applications.
3.10 Design of modular systems (2012)
Levin, M. S. (2012) Morphological methods for design of modular systems (a survey),
arXiv:1201.1712v1.
From the abstract: This article is a technical survey of morphological approaches to the de-
sign of modular systems using a number of different mathematical/combinational methods and
techniques. Several MA-based system design approaches are described, where is deemed use-
ful to extend MA based approaches in engineering, computer science, and management, e.g.
the use of morphological methods in allocation (layout, positioning) problems and using mor-
phological methods in combinatorial evolution and forecasting of modular systems.
3.11 Design of production systems (2012)
Ostertagová, E., Kovác, J., Ostertag, O. & Malega, P. (2012) Application of Morphological
Analysis in the Design of Production Systems”, Procedia Engineering, 48.
This paper describes morphological analysis applied to production process design. In this
analysis, the basic functions of a production system are defined, and lists of all possible varia-
tions are created (building elements or subsystems). Then all the possible combinations of the
building elements are generated. The next step is the identification of applicable variants in
practice (acceptable solutions). This is described as an iterative process which ultimately
leads to a final reduction whereby the final variants are selected according to decision analysis
as well as on the basis of certain limiting factors.
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4. Applications in (General) Design Theory and Architecture
In contrast to Engineering and Product design, (general or conceptual) Design Theory and Method-
ology today encompasses an essentially unbounded domain. Already in the early 1990s, Richard
Buchanan could write:
Despite efforts to discover the foundations of design thinking in the fine arts, the natural sci-
ences, or most recently, the social sciences, design eludes reduction and remains a surprisingly
flexible activity. No single definition of design, or branches of professionalized practice such as
industrial or graphic design, adequately covers the diversity of ideas and methods gathered to-
gether under the label. Indeed, the variety of research reported in conference papers, journal
articles, and books suggests that design continues to expand in its meanings and connections,
revealing unexpected dimensions in practice as well as understanding.” (Buchanan, R. “Wicked
Problems in Design Thinking”, Design Issues: Vol. 8, Number 2, 1992, p5.)
4.1 Conceptual design using a synergistically compatible morphological matrix (1989)
Weber, R.G. & Condor, S.S. (1989) "Conceptual design using a synergistically compatible mor-
phological matrix", FIE '98 Proceedings of the 28th Annual Frontiers in Education, 1.
From the abstract: The morphological matrix is a key methodology that can improve the effec-
tiveness of the concept generation phase of the design process. However, as discussed in the paper,
there are difficulties identifying independent design functions and determining the synergistic
compatibility of combining solution alternatives. In order to address these difficulties, the authors
extend the morphological matrix methodology by including the theory of coupling. A case study is
presented to illustrate the overall methodology and its impact.
4.2 Generating design solutions (1997)
Evbuomwan, N. (1997) Generation of Design Solutions using Morphological Analysis”, Interna-
tional Conference on Engineering Design, Iced 97, Tampere.
From the abstract: “The generation of conceptual designs is a principal activity within the design
process, which places a high demand on the designer to use engineering science, practical knowl-
edge, production methods, commercial and marketing considerations in making a viable design de-
cision. In general, designers tend to rapidly choose a single design solution, which is then continu-
ously refined until a good solution is found. The adoption of this approach limits the propensity for
developing innovative and creative designs, due to the lack of exploring the design solution space.
The ability to create a variety of products satisfying a wide range of customers is imperative, if
manufacturing companies are to remain competitive. Hence the need for a systematic approach to
the generation of innovative design concepts. This paper aims to demonstrate the application of the
Morphological Analysis technique for the generation of conceptual design solutions within the De-
sign Function Deployment design system.
4.3 Computer-supported methodology for the conceptual planning process (2000)
Bezerra, C. & Owen C. L. (2000) Evolutionary Structured Planning. A Computer-Supported
Methodology for the Conceptual Planning Process, in J.S. Gero (ed.) (2000). Artificial Intel-
ligence in Design'00, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.
This paper describes a computer-supported method for complex decision-making in design,
with origins in Morphological Analysis and Structured Planning (a computer-supported design
planning process). The authors argue that complex design decisions require not only the use of
information from the artifactual world (objective, quantitative data), but also from the world of
culture (subjective, qualitative data). This paper describes Evolutionary Structured Planning, a
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computer-supported extension to a method that supports synthesis of objective and subjective
information in the design planning process. The method introduces Genetic Algorithms as
means for dealing with compound solution concepts in large combinatorial solution spaces.
The method is described as being extremely flexible and capable of being applied to virtually
any design problem at the conceptual level.
4.4 Methodology for architectural design (2001)
Proposka, A. (2001) “Application of Morphological Analysis Methodology in Architectural
Design”, Acta Polytechnica, 41(1).
This article discusses how the theory of system and design methodology can be applied to a
more precise description, analysis and improvement of the methods of the real architectural
design process. Starting from the early work of Lull’s art of combinatorics, it describes how
morphological analysis can be applied as a method for architectural design. From the archi-
tect’s point of view it is worth studying the rules and peculiarities of this method as it has been
applied in engineering design.
4.5 Design concept emergence in design meetings (2009)
Zeiler, W. & Savanovic, P. (2009) Morphological analysis of design concepts emergence in
design meetings, Proceedings of Iced 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering
Design, Vol. 6.
This paper explores the possibility of applying morphological analysis to design sessions. The
basis for this approach is the methodology of Integral Design. A distinguishing feature of this
model is the use of morphological charts for design activities in each stage of the process. The
morphological charts created by each designer can be combined into a morphological over-
view that can be used to reconstruct the emergence of design concepts in an architectural and
an engineering meeting. Besides being capable of presenting the development of design con-
cepts, morphological charts proved to be effective in reducing the time needed to analyse a
rich set of data. This complexity reduction offers the possibility of doing research on more
(complex) design meetings more effectively, which is beneficial for generalization of findings.
4.6 An Ontological Basis for Design Methods (2009)
Kannengiesser, U. (2009) An Ontological Basis for Design Methods, in Undisciplined! De-
sign Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, July 2008.
This paper describes a function-behaviour-structure (FBS) ontology to represent design meth-
ods as process artefacts. This view encompasses five fundamental approaches to methods:
black-box, procedural, artefact-centric, formal and managerial approaches, all of which de-
scribe method structure but emphasize different aspects of it. Capturing these differences is
meant to address common terminological confusions relating to methods. The paper also pro-
vides an overview of the use of the fundamental method approaches for different purposes in
designing, in which GMA is presented as an artefact-centric approach.
4.7 Morphological analysis applied to Western apparel (2010)
Chen, J. and Lai, Ch. (2010) The theory of morphological analysis applied to western appar-
ela case study of Renaissance era, International Journal of Computer Science and Network
Security, 10(4)
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From the abstract: This paper is aimed at using morphological analysis to augment seeking
clothing design solutions. A case of western apparel in Renaissance era is applied to illustrate
how to use this powerful fast-developing design computer tool. In using morphological analy-
sis, we first divide western apparel into several independent design attributes, such as head-
dress, neckline, sleeves, farthingale, cobsters for female and ruff, doublet, zimarre, sleeves,
cannions, duckbill shoes for male. Secondly, we find all possible design solutions for each de-
sign attribute. Finally, we can establish morphological matrix charts, which can be trans-
formed as inputs for computer searches or computer-supported design decision-making and
enlarge clothing design idea areas. In conclusion, morphological analysis is a potential com-
puter tool used to aid apparel designers to obtain innovative ideas.
4.8 Application to curriculum design in training and instruction (2010)
Ritchey, T. (2010) "Specifying Training and Instruction Requirements using Morphological
Analysis", Proceedings of ICELW 2010 (International conference on e-learning in the workplace),
Columbia University, New York.
From the abstract: Training and instruction (T&I) is increasingly based on advanced learning
tools such as e-learning, simulators and virtual environments. In order to utilise these tools in
an effective way, a first set of global requirements for T&I programs should be specified in
order to identify appropriate needs and effective instructional methods. General Morphologi-
cal Analysis (GMA) is a non-quantified modelling method for structuring and analyzing the
total set of relationships in complex social, organizational and educational problem fields.
GMA has been employed to develop a generic inference model for specifying T&I needs at an
early stage, and identifying the relationships between needs and means. This article presents
and application to the development of T&I programs, and an example of a generic model for
identifying alternative T&I requirements for a specific case.
4.9 Application to a sustainable school design (2011)
Zeiler,W. (2011) “Morphological Analysis of a Sustainable School Design”, International Confer-
ence on Engineering Design, ICED 11, 2011, Technical University of Denmark.
School principals experiment with different ways to stimulate sustainable innovation. They
now ask for Integral Design teams, in which designers from different disciplines start design-
ing together almost from the same moment in the design process. The design competition ses-
sion for the conceptual design of a sustainable school was put on video and analyzed by apply-
ing morphological analysis. This analysis is based on a functional transcript of the process and
the transforming of that in to a morphological overview. This analysis is done in two ways:
one focusing on the process interactions and one more focusing on the functional aspects of
the design process. Some results of the analysis are presented especially focusing on the dif-
ference between architects and engineers in the design process.
4.10 Triz, Morphological Analysis and Brainstorming (2013)
Kannengiesser, U., Williams, C. & Gero, J.S. (2013) "What Do the Concept Generation Tech-
niques of Triz, Morphological Analysis and Brainstorming have in Common?", International
Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 13, Seoul.
From the abstract: One of the goals of design research is to identify regularities across differ-
ent design processes. This paper presents experimental evidence that there exist commonalities
between three separate concept generation techniques: TRIZ, Morphological Analysis, and
Brainstorming. This evidence is based on protocol studies involving mechanical engineering
students that use the three techniques for performing different design tasks.
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5. Applications in Futures Studies and Scenario Development
Using GMA for scenario development and futures projections was one of the early spinoffs from
Zwicky’s work. This is because of the many non-quantified social, political and ideological variables
that need to be taken into account, and the inherent uncertainties involved. The very first uses of
computer-aided GMA at the Swedish Defence Research Agency in the early 1990’s were in the area
of futures projections and scenario development, and eventually for the development of versatile
scenario modelling frameworks which can be periodically updated. However, scenario development
utilising GMA started already in the 1960s.
5.1 Scenarios for non-national nuclear threats (1967)
Taylor T. (1967) Preliminary survey on non-national nuclear threats”, Stanford Research In-
stitute Technical Note SSC-TN-5205-83.
This is a classic early utilisation of GMA for futures projections which was ahead of its time,
both methodologically and from the point of view of security analysis. It is included here (in-
stead of under Security and Defence Analysis) because of its innovative nature concerning
foresight studies. Theodore Taylor (1925-2004) was a theoretical physicist and prominent nu-
clear weapons designer who later in life became a nuclear disarmament advocate. He knew
first hand of Zwicky’s work and began employing the morphological approach while working
at the Stanford Research Institute. This paper was not noticed at the time of its release in 1968,
but Taylor later went on record with his warnings in a series of interviews publicised in The
New Yorker. This was later described in the book by John McPhee: The Curve of Binding En-
ergy: A Journey into the Awesome and Alarming World of Theodore B. Taylor, Ballantine,
1973.
5.2 Whole-Pattern futures projection (1981)
Rhyne, R. (1981) “Whole-Pattern Futures Projection, Using Field Anomaly Relaxation,
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 19(4).
This is one of the earliest detailed descriptions of how to use GMA for futures studies. Work-
ing in association with the Stanford Research Institute in the late 1960’s, Russell Rhyne
picked up on Taylor’s earlier work and began to apply a somewhat restricted form of morpho-
logical analysis as a general scenario development technique. Rhyne re-packaged it under the
somewhat esoteric name of ‘field anomaly relaxation’ FAR, a term borrowed from mechani-
cal engineering. His unilateral renaming of an already established method, and his sometimes
claims in later life that he had invented morphological analysis independently of Zwicky
(which is contradicted in his earlier works as well as in conversations with other researchers in
the 1990s), was not appreciated by all.
However, Rhyne’s great contribution to GMA was that he almost singlehandedly and with
little institutional support continued to develop and disseminate general morphology in the
1980s and early 1990s. He established the present day format for the morphological field and
the Cross-Consistency matrix, as well as the process of assessing the total CC-matrix for in-
ternal consistency. He wrote several articles for Futures and Technological Forecasting and
Social Change outlining morphological methods, as well as writing a thoughtful and candid
book on the trials and tribulations of doing GMA by hand (which often lead to mistakes in
generating the solution space). (See Rhyne, 1995, below.)
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5.3 Comparing relevance trees and morphological analysis (1994)
The Futures Group International (1994) Relevance tree and morphological analysis, Futures
Research Methods, V. 2.0, AC/UNU Millennium Project, 1994.
The paper describes the possibility of the application to futures studies of the combination of
morphological analysis and relevance trees an analytic technique that subdivides a broad
topic into increasingly smaller subtopics. The output is a pictorial representation with a hierar-
chical structure that shows how a given topic can be subdivided into increasingly finer levels
of detail. It describes the method proposed, its strengths and weaknesses which the authors
argue can be solved by used of computer software , and a number of projects in which the
combined method was applied. Coincidentally, the first dedicated computer-software for gen-
eral morphological analysis was developed one year later (1995) at the Swedish Defence Re-
search Agency.
5.4 Scenarios for alternative Indonesian sea-sovereignty systems (1995).
Rhyne, R. (1995) Evaluating Alternative Indonesian Sea-Sovereignty Systems, Informs: Insti-
tute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
This book reports a study carried out in 1979. From the abstract: This sea-control project was
the first major study of any kind by the operational analysis establishment and at the time, no
other team of analysts, outside the US, had undertaken a study of such tremendous scope. It
dealt explicitly with the subjective aspects of a politico-military mission that required several
innovations. The study made use of little-known methods of futures projection [e.g. GMA] to
compose patterned contexts as backdrops for intra-analytical judgments; it used psychometric
scaling to get value weightings on the importance of partial accomplishments of component
missions; it developed an apparently sound method for designating the plausible threat. Above
all, it wove these component techniques together within a coherent plan of work.
5.5 Scenarios for south-east Asia and the south-west Pacific (1995)
Coyle, R. & McGlone, G. (1995), Projecting scenarios for South-east Asia and the South-
west Pacific”, Futures, 27(1).
The late R.G. (Geoff) Coyle essentially took over FAR after Russell Rhyne, although he read-
ily acknowledged that FAR was Zwicky’s morphological analysis with a new name. Coyle has
also written several articles for Futures promoting FAR/GMA, as well as the book “Practical
Strategy” (Prentice Hall, 2004) in which morphological methods and Zwicky are afforded a
chapter. From the abstract: “The article describes further work to validate and assess a method
of futures projection. The full methodology is shown in the context of a projection of plausible
future trends for South-east Asia and the South-west Pacific. A number of scenarios are devel-
oped and it is shown that the future for that region may be fraught with considerable problems.
Finally, the methodology is assessed and suggestions for future work are made.”
5.6 Scenario planning as a Strategic Management Tool (2001)
Godet, M. (2001) Creating Futures: Scenario Planning as a Strategic Management Tool, Paris:
Economica.
Michel Godet is the scenario and futures studies guru of France. In this handbook for profes-
sionals, managers, planners, and entrepreneurs he puts forward a set of futures-thinking tech-
niques from workshops to scenario-building software that enhance the collective process.
Although GMA is only one of the many techniques he promotes in this book, no survey of
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work with general morphology would be complete without him. He has kept morphological
methods alive in France, when many other countries (e.g. the U.K. and Germany) more or less
forgot them.
5.7 Scenario Development Using Computerized Morphological Analysis (2002)
Eriksson, T. & Ritchey, T. (2002) Scenario Development Using Computerized Morphological
Analysis, Proceeding of the Winchester International OR Conference, Oxford, 2002.
From the abstract: Morphological analysis (MA) is a non-quantified modelling method for struc-
turing and analysing technical, organisational and social problem complexes. It is well suited for
developing scenarios, and the method is highly appropriate for complex cases where expertise from
several areas is required. It is also useful for developing and relating operational and tactical sce-
narios to force requirements. Using MA for problem solving or scenario generation typically in-
volves workshop sessions supported by a computer tool. An example of how MA is used for the
development of a set of scenarios is given. These scenarios were developed for the Swedish Armed
Forces’ long-term planning and describe a number of long-term strategic situations, including
peace support operations.
5.8 Methods in future research and scenario analysis (2008)
Kosow, H. & Gaßner, R. (2008) Methods of Future and Scenario Analysis. Overview,
Assessment, and Selection Criteria. Studies / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik.
This book provides an overview and evaluation of methods of futures research and scenario
analysis methods, focusing on the way in which these methods might be applied to research
and policy advising in the development policy arena. It describes the application of GMA to
futures and scenario analysis, based on the selection and evaluation of the consistency of com-
binations of key factors within a workshop involving various stakeholders. The authors argue
that GMA is particularly useful for futures and scenario analysis in that different dimensions
of a scenario field (demography, the economic sector, techniques etc.) can be first distin-
guished from one another and then studied as a whole. It is a creative technique for compre-
hensive study of a scenario field and its possible future developments and systematic identifi-
cation of relationships and structures. Simultaneously, definitions, evaluations and decisions
can be well documented and visualized, which results in increased transparency.
5.9 The Millennium Project: Futures Research Methodology (2009)
Glenn, J. & Gordon, T. (eds.) (2009). The Millennium Project: Futures Research Methodol-
ogy, Version 3.0, Chapter 17: "Morphological Analysis", The Millennium Project (at:
http://www.millennium-project.org/millennium/FRM-V3.html).
The Millennium Project’s Futures Research Methodology Version 3.0 is the largest, most
comprehensive internationally peer-reviewed collection of articles on methods and tools to
explore future possibilities ever assembled in one resource. The series begins with an introduc-
tory chapter to futures research and concludes with a synthesis of methods and a discussion
about the future of futures research methods. Each of the following 37 chapters covers one
specific method. Morphological analysis, as a method for generating and examining alterna-
tive futures is presented in chapter 17.
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5.10 Morphological prospection: three lineages of morphological methods (2009)
Voros J. (2009) Morphological prospection: Profiling the shapes of things to come”, Fore-
sight, 11(6).
From the abstract: “The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, to describe in detail a particu-
lar sub-class of powerful prospective methods based on the method of morphological analy-
sis. And second, to extend their use to create a basis for strengthening strategic analysis and
policy development. [It] Examines the history and use of morphological methods in foresight
work, briefly describes three main ‘lineages currently in use, and proposes some extensions to
models of practice. Recent research in cognitive psychology suggests that requiring a de-
tailed and systematic examination of future possibilities before a decision is made leads to
more effective assessments of futures. Morphological methods, by design and construction,
are perfectly suited to this, and so can form an exceptionally strong basis for thinking system-
atically about the future.
5.11 Modelling alternative futures with GMA (2011)
Ritchey, T. (2011) Modelling Alternative Futures with General Morphological Analysis, World
Future Review, Spring 2011.
This article outlines the fundamentals of the morphological approach and describes its use in a
number of case studies in scenario development and futures projections done for Swedish govern-
ment authorities and NGOs. The four future projection models presented are 1) Scenarios and
strategies for an extended producer responsibility system, 2) Future human actions affecting long-
term nuclear waste storage, 3) Nuclear sabotage threat scenarios and 4) Climate change conflict
scenarios.
5.12 Scenarios for the introduction of electric vehicles in urban traffic
Correia da Silva, L. (2011) “Morphological Analysis of the Introduction of Electric Vehicles in
São Paulo’s Urban Traffic”, Future Studies Research Journal, São Paulo, 3(1).
From the abstract: This study aims to contribute with the construction of future scenarios in
2020 concerning the introduction of electric vehicles in São Paulo´s urban traffic, an integral
part of the CNPq/FINEP research project which is being undertaken at the University of São
Paulo (USP/FEA). The Morphological Analysis method was adopted given the fact that it fa-
cilitates the structuring of the managerial and technological complexities of the proposed prob-
lem, with views to identifying the variables and their critical relations for the prospection of
scenarios.
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6. Applications in Technological Forecasting / Technology Foresight
A number of often cited, early works from the late 1960’s describe how GMA began to be applied as
a method for technology foresight. It seems to have started out with Erich Jantsch’s book in 1967,
and took off two years later. Today, modern GMA is firmly established as one of the basic methods
employed in technology foresight studies.
6.1 Technological forecasting in perspective (1967)
Jantsch, E. (1967) Technological forecasting in perspective, OECD, Paris.
Written by one of the early proponents of complexity theory and a leader in the social systems
design movement in Europe, Jantsch’s book contains one of the first descriptions of the mor-
phological approach as a technology foresight technique. Jantsch started out in astrophysics
and thus had early knowledge of Zwicky’s work.
6.2 Morphological Analysis for Technological Forecasting (1969)
Ayres, R. (1969) "Morphological Analysis" (Chapter 5) in Technological Forecasting and
Long Range Planning, New York: McGraw-Hill.
6.3 Morphological Methods - Principles and Practice (1969)
Bridgewater, A. (1969) "Morphological Methods - Principles and Practice", in Arnfield, R.
(ed.) (1969) Technological Forecasting, University of Strathclyde. Edinburgh University
Press.
6.4 Morphological Methods: Antecedents and Associates (1969)
Gregory, S. (1969) "Morphological Methods: Antecedents and Associates", Technological Fore-
casting, Some Techniques, Proceedings of a Symposium at Aston University, Birmingham.
6.5 Some Theoretical Principles in Morphological Analysis (1969)
Watts, R. (1969) “Some Theoretical Principles in Morphological Analysis”, Technological Fore-
casting, Some Techniques, Proceedings of a Symposium at Aston University, Birmingham.
These articles (6.2 6.5), especially Ayres and Bridgewater, are often cited as early examples
of this application. GMA was a new technique that many wanted to try. But 1969 was still
early days: Zwicky’s major book on the subject was first published in English that year. The
modern morphological field format had not yet been established, nor the idea of assessing the
total cross-consistency field. Many of the so-called morphological fields presented were in
fact typologies, a concept-structuring format that had been in use by social scientists for a cen-
tury.
6.6 New approaches to technological forecasting (1970)
O'Neal, C. (1970) New approaches to technological forecasting Morphological analysis:
An integrative approach”, Business Horizons, 13(6).
The author states that most of the techniques for technological forecasting in the late 1960’s could
be classified as either normative or exploratory, but that the two types must be meshed for a com-
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plete forecast. Morphological analysis facilitates this two-way meshing. The author describes the
three steps involved in such an analysis, which is an integrative approach that forces examination
of all possibilities. In a simplified example, the technique is demonstrated by developing a func-
tion-technology matrix for color television set circuitry. The results include a forecast and a sce-
nario for the 1980’s.
6.7 Applications to a company TF investigation (1976)
Wissema, J. (1976) Morphological analysis: Its Application to a Company TF Investigation,
Futures, 8(2).
From the abstract: Of all the techniques used in technological forecasting, morphological
analysis is probably the one least used by TF practitioners and least known to the public. Del-
phi investigations, trend analysis, scenarios, and most recently dynamic models are widely
employed, but the use of morphological analysis is rarely reported, though it is mentioned in
every textbook on technological forecasting. The reason may be that morphological analysis is
a technique to structure a problem rather than solve it.
6.8 Technology Futures Analysis (TFA) methods (2004)
Technology Futures Analysis Methods Working Group (2004) “Technology futures analysis:
Toward integration of the field and new methods”, Technological Forecasting and Social
Change, 71(3).
This collectively authored paper seeks to lay a framework from which to advance the proc-
esses to conduct and the methods used in technology futures analysis (TFA). The paper pro-
vides a compilation and overview of TFA methods including GMA, which is described as a
“soft” (qualitative) method belonging to the “Descriptive and matrices” family, which is both
normative and exploratory.
6.9 Identifying new technology opportunities (2005)
Yoon, B. & Park, Y. (2005) A systematic approach for identifying technology opportunities:
Keyword-based morphology analysis, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 72(2).
From the abstract: Morphology analysis (MA), a representative qualitative technique in technol-
ogy forecasting (TF), has been utilized to identify technology opportunities. However, conven-
tional MA is subject to limitations in that there is no scientific or systematic way in establishing the
morphology of technology, and it is difficult to prioritize the alternatives. As a remedy, we propose
a keyword-based MA that is supported by a systematic procedure and quantitative data for con-
cluding the morphology of technology. To this end, a technology dictionary is developed by factor
analysis for keywords that are extracted from patent documents through text mining. Then, the
morphology of patents is identified based on the technology dictionary. By listing the occupied
configurations of collected patents, the unoccupied territory of configurations are suggested as
technology opportunities. Moreover, the priority of alternatives is concluded, and similar and sub-
stitutive technologies can be analyzed for the purpose of extending morphology structure.
6.10 Patent text mining and patent technology (2012)
Feng, X & Fuhai, L. (2012) “Patent text mining and informetric-based patent technology mor-
phological analysis: an empirical study”, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management,
24(5).
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Patent technology morphological analysis utilises the advantages of both patent information
analysis and morphological analysis to provide more detailed information on current and fu-
ture patent technology. The authors argue that current patent technology morphological analy-
sis methods are largely reliant on manual expertise in the construction of morphological boxes
with few approaches to the evaluation of future morphological configurations. This paper de-
scribes a patent text mining and informetric-based patent technology morphological analysis
technique.
6.11 Analysis of technologies using multidimensional scaling (2012)
Zheng,W., Kankaanranta, J. & Suominen, A. (2012) Morphological analysis of technologies
using multidimensional scaling”, Journal of Business Chemistry, 9(3).
Morphological Analysis is used as a framework for applying expert opinion, bibliometrics,
text mining and multidimensional scaling to problem structuring. The authors describe the
method used and its application to a case of portable fuel cell technology. They argue that the
results demonstrate the practicality of using Morphological Analysis in structuring complex
problems and offer an example of its application in assessing the status of a technology.
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7. Applications in Management science, Policy analysis and Organisational
design
Although GMA started off as problem structuring method in engineering design and as a technique
for creating scenario modelling frameworks, it eventually became clear that it was excellent method
for structuring policy spaces and strategy alternatives, and for organisational planning. All of these
are natural complements to developing scenario spaces and have been used extensively for govern-
ment authorities and NGOs. Applications in business management and the commercial sector have
not developed as quickly as within the public sector for reasons concerning institutional goals and
time horizons. We believe, however, that GMA has significant applications within the corporate sec-
tor.
7.1 Analysis for health care systems planning (1975)
Turley, R., Richardson, W. and Hansen, J. (1975) Morphological analysis for health care sys-
tems planning”, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 9(2).
From the abstract: “Health care planners are continually challenged by the difficulty of order-
ing and understanding of the complexities of health care delivery systems. Methods are needed
which can aid in extending thought processes into multi-dimensional solution space and ra-
tionalizing the thinking of various health care interests. This paper describes a useful approach
to designing and evaluating health care systems utilizing a case study of a large metropolitan
community. The major dimensions of the system which were of concern were 1) Patient, 2)
Type of care needed, 3) Organisation base for services, 4) Ownership and 5) Provider reim-
bursement.”
7.2 Creativity in the management field (1991)
Proctor, R. (1991) “The Importance of Creativity in the Management Field”. British Journal of
Management, 2(4).
From the abstract: “Creative problem-solving is an important dimension to managerial activ-
ity. Rapidly changing business environments produce problems which managers have not pre-
viously encountered. Tried and trusted methods of approaching new problems can meet with
failure. The need for creative problem-solving methods which overcome such difficulties is of
paramount importance. There are a number of established creative problem-solving aids, such
as brainstorming, lateral thinking, etc. and a new set of aids which are computer-assisted. This
paper outlines newer developments.”
7.3 GMA as a policy analysis tool (1998)
Ritchey, T. (1998) "Fritz Zwicky, Morphologie and Policy Analysis, Proceedings of the
16th EURO Conference on Operational Analysis, Brussels.
This was one of the first articles describing computer-aided GMA using the MA/Casper (later
the MA/Carma) software system. It presented the Swedish bomb shelter program as an exam-
ple of a policy issue to be treated. The article was adapted in 2002 as “General Morphological
Analysis: A general method for non-quantified modeling (available for download at:
http://www.swemorph.com/pdf/gma.pdf). Thus was born the present-day acronym GMA, to
distinguish Zwicky’s general morphology from the many other specific “morphological anal-
yses” used in different scientific disciplines.
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7.4 Strategies for an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system (2004)
Stenström, M. & Ritchey, T. (2004) Scenario and Strategy Laboratories for an Extended Pro-
ducer Responsibility System, Report to the Swedish Ministry of the Environment, Swedish
Morphological Society, (available at: www.swemorph.com/pdf/epr9.pdf).
This paper presents a study done for the Swedish Ministry of the Environment to evaluate an
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system in Sweden. The purpose of the study was to
formulate a range of contextual environmental scenarios and, by identifying the most impor-
tant parameters of an EPR system, develop alternative EPR strategies, which can be tested
within the context of these scenarios. The study employed computer-aided GMA in order to
develop scenario and strategy laboratories which can be used as interactive (“if-then”) infer-
ence models.
7.5 Morphological approach in management decision-making (2006)
Sharif, A. & Irani, Z. (2006) Applying a fuzzy-morphological approach to complexity within
management decision-making, Management Decision, 44(7).
From the abstract: Noting the scarcity of complexity techniques applied to modelling social
systems, this paper attempts to formulate a conceptual model of decision-making behaviour
within the information systems evaluation (ISE) task, against the backdrop of complexity the-
ory. Complexity theory places an emphasis on addressing how dynamic non-linear systems
can be represented and modelled utilising computational tools and techniques to draw out in-
herent system dynamics. In doing so, the use of fuzzy cognitive mapping (FCM) and morpho-
logical analysis (MA) (hence a fuzzy-morphological approach), is applied to empirical case
study data, to elucidate the inherent behavioural and systems issues involved in ISE decision
making within a British manufacturing organisation.
7.6 Modeling financial decision making (2007)
Petrusel, R. & Mocean, L. (2007) Modeling decisional situations using morphological analy-
sis. Informatica Economica, 4 (44).
From the abstract: “This paper presents models for financial decision-making in small and
medium enterprises, applying morphological analysis. This technique is used for model scale
reduction, not by reducing the number of variables involved but rather by reducing the number
of possible combinations between variables. As an example, it provides a morphological table
for the problem “a decision regarding the cashing method is required when a new invoice is is-
sued in Romania”.
7.7 Knowledge transfer in organizations (2009)
Kumar, J.A. & Ganesh, L.S. (2009) "Research on knowledge transfer in organizations: a mor-
phology, Journal of Knowledge Management, 13(4).
From the abstract: “The purpose of this paper is to present and describe a morphology of the
research literature on knowledge transfer in organizations. A comprehensive framework char-
acterizing the knowledge transfer literature in terms of dimensions and options was developed
by an extensive scanning of the pertinent literature. Eight dimensions were found suitable to
characterize the knowledge transfer research literature. Corresponding to each dimension, two
to six options were found. The morphology demonstrates the extensiveness and variety of
knowledge transfer research. To academics, the morphology can serve as a map of the knowl-
edge transfer territory. To the best of the authors' knowledge, a morphological approach has
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not been attempted so far to characterize KM research literature. The approach used can be
applied to other areas of management as well, for similar purposes.
7.8 ICT applications in government service delivery (2010)
Plauché, M., de Waal, A., Grover, A S. & Gumede, T. (2010) Morphological Analysis: A
Method for Selecting ICT Applications in South African Government Service Delivery, In-
formation Technologies & International Development, 6(1).
From the abstract: “Successful ICT projects depend on complex, interrelated sociological and
technical factors for which there are no standard theoretical framework for prediction or analy-
sis. Morphological analysis is a problem-solving method for defining, linking, and evaluating
problem spaces that are inherently non-quantitative. In this article, we show how our research
team created a telephony impact model using morphological analysis to strategically select a
national ICT telephony project for South Africa from several possibilities, based on non-
quantitative, socio-technical criteria. The telephony impact model provides a rigorous frame-
work to the diagnostic and planning phases of our action research that is a vast improvement
over “best practices” guidelines. We believe that this approach takes a first step toward predic-
tive models and theories for ICT deployment.”
7.9 Knowledge Management Maturity Models (2010)
Kuriakose, K.K, Raj, B., Satya Murty, S.A.V., Swaminathan, P. (2010) Knowledge Man-
agement Maturity Models A Morphological Analysis”, Journal of Knowledge Management
Practice, 11(3).
From the abstract: A Knowledge Management Maturity Model is a structured approach for
implementing Knowledge Management. Many practitioners and researchers have developed
Knowledge Management Maturity Models, which have different forms, structure and charac-
teristics. Despite the availability of many models, a comprehensive framework that can repre-
sent different perspectives and provide a holistic picture of Knowledge Management Maturity
Model is not found in literature. This paper attempts to fill this gap by developing a morpho-
logical framework of Knowledge Management Maturity Model through literature survey and
analysis.
7.10 Business model creation using case-based reasoning (2011)
Lee, J. & Hong, Y. (2011) A Morphological Approach to Business Model Creation using
Case-Based Reasoning, Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design,
ICED 11, Technical University of Denmark.
From the abstract: “This study aims to provide a structured methodology for a business model
creation. Based on a morphological analysis of business model, we propose the methodologi-
cal chart named as business model creation template with which one can generate a variety of
business model alternatives. The template consists of a set of predefined building blocks
which describes the strategic patterns and/or constituent elements of a business model. Those
building blocks have been collected and verified through comprehensive analysis of real-
world business model cases and relevant literature. Furthermore, we develop case-based rea-
soning system for supporting a new business model creation. The system aims to provide the
business model planner of intuitive cases in creating a new business model.
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7.11 Market innovation in business markets (2012).
Storbacka, K. & Nenonen, S. (2012) Competitive Arena Mapping: Market Innovation using
Morphological Analysis in Business Markets, Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing,
19(3).
From the abstract: The authors illustrate the use of morphological analysis for competitive
arena mapping in a market definition and innovation context... The article builds a bridge be-
tween the market definition literature in strategic management and the industrial market seg-
mentation literature, by introducing a novel method for increasing the granularity of market
definition, using morphological analysis. Furthermore, the paper responds to the lack of re-
search addressing strategic segmentation processes by developing a six-step market definition
process.”
7.12 Developing new business models (2013)
Im, K & Cho, H (2013) A systematic approach for developing a new business model using
morphological analysis and integrated fuzzy approach”, Expert Systems with Applications,
40(11).
From the abstract: “This study proposes a systematic approach to new business model devel-
opment (NBMD) that helps business practitioners to develop, evaluate and select the best
business model to meet the business objectives. The proposed approach comprises two stages:
identification of business model alternatives and business model evaluation and selection.
During the first stage, a set of business model alternatives are derived by exploring all the pos-
sible combinations of a morphological matrix, and in the second stage, we conduct an evalua-
tion and selection of a suitable business model. Morphological analysis (MA) has been em-
ployed for the derivation and aggregation of business model alternatives, and decision-making
approach that integrates fuzzy extent analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) and fuzzy technique
for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS) methods is used as an evalua-
tion and selection tool.
7.13 Business model prototyping (2014)
Seidenstricker, S., Scheuerle, S. & Linder, C. (2014). Business Model Prototyping Using
the Morphological Analysis to Develop New Business Models”, (Proceedings of the 2nd In-
ternational Conference on Strategic Innovative Marketing), Procedia - Social and Behavioral
Sciences, Volume 148.
From the abstract: “Practice has shown that new businesses have managed to change the
structure of market sectors and to open positions of power by business model innovation. Of-
ten, the origin was new technological possibilities, innovative products, changes in the supply
chain management, optimized cost structures or unique resources. Regarding strategic market-
ing and innovation management, it now is interesting how such potentials can be unlocked and
implemented in business model innovations. Thus, the subject of this paper shall be the de-
velopment of such a method systematically generating business model ideas based on morpho-
logical thinking. This includes guaranteeing consistency of the ideas developed as well as
structured selection. As a result, business model prototypes, which assist with understanding,
comparing and communicating business models, will be created.”
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8. Applications in Security, Safety and Defence studies
This category cuts across many of the categories presented above. However, for various reasons,
defence and security analysis is one of the areas that adopted GMA at a relatively early stage. This
was especially the case in Sweden, where modern computer-aided techniques were originally devel-
oped at the National Defence Research Agency. By the very nature of such studies, however, many of
them are not publically available. Here are some examples of those that are available.
8.1 Evaluating preparedness for HAZMAT accidents (2002)
Ritchey, T., Stenström, M. & Eriksson, H. (2002) Using Morphological Analysis to Evaluate
Preparedness for Accidents Involving Hazardous Materials, Proceeding of the 4th Interna-
tional Conference for Local Authorities, Shanghai, 2002.
From the introduction: Accidents involving hazardous materials, e.g. dangerous chemical
substances, are relatively rare in Scandinavia. However, the fact that such accidents are rare
makes it difficult for rescue services to gain sufficient experience and routine, as is the case
with fire fighting or traffic accidents. One way to increase preparedness is through theoretical
evaluations and with the help of scenarios, in order to identify potential deficiencies and to see
where improvements can best be made. For this purpose, the Swedish National Rescue Ser-
vices Agency commissioned a study to develop a computer-based instrument for evaluating
Swedish Rescue Services' preparedness for accidents involving hazardous materials, and also
for terrorist actions involving the intentional release of chemical agents. An expert group con-
sisting of nine experienced fire marshals and fire engineers from different parts of Sweden, to-
gether with the authors, developed the prototype model during 1999 and 2000.
8.2 Nuclear Facilities and Sabotage (2003)
Ritchey, T. (2003) "Nuclear Facilities and Sabotage: Using Morphological Analysis as a Sce-
nario and Strategy Development Laboratory", Proceedings of the 44th Annual Meeting of the
Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Phoenix, Arizona.
This article outlines the fundamentals of the morphological approach and describes recent ap-
plications in modelling threat scenarios and revised preparedness planning for nuclear facili-
ties in Sweden.
8.3 Modelling Society's Capacity to Manage Extraordinary Events (2004)
Lövkvist-Andersen, A., Ritchey, T., Olsson, R, & Stenström, M. (2004) “Modelling Society’s
Capacity to Manage Extraordinary Events: A Generic Design Basis (GDB) Model, Presenta-
tion at the SRA (Society for Risk Analysis) Conference, Paris, 2004. (Available at:
http://www.swemorph.com/pdf/sra.pdf)
This paper reports the development of a Generic Design Basis (GDB) model as a strategic de-
cision support framework for treating the uncertainties involved in the emergence of extreme
societal events. The starting point is the identification, structuring and analysis of undesirable
consequences for society (i.e. effects), rather than any fix set of causes. These consequences
are defined inter alia on the basis of political values and norms, which take the form of a na-
tional security strategy. The aim is to identify and set priorities between different measures
which will increase Sweden’s capacity to manage extreme events which represent serious
threats to society.
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8.4 Multi-hazard disaster reduction strategies (2006)
Ritchey, T. (2006) "Modeling Multi-Hazard Disaster Reduction Strategies with Computer-
Aided Morphological Analysis", Proceedings of the 3rd International ISCRAM Conference,
Newark, USA.
From the abstract: Disaster Risk Management (DRM) is a multi-dimensional problem com-
plex requiring knowledge and experience from a wide range of disciplines. It also requires a
methodology which can collate and organize this knowledge in an effective, transparent man-
ner. Towards this end, seven specialists from the social, natural and engineering sciences col-
laborated in a facilitated workshop in order to develop a prototype multi-hazard disaster reduc-
tion model. The model, developed with computer-aided morphological analysis (MA), makes
it possible to identify and compare risk reduction strategies, and preparedness and mitigation
measures, for different types of hazards. Due to time constraints, the model is neither complete
nor accurate but only represents a proof-of-principle. The workshop was sponsored by the
Earthquake Disaster Mitigation Research Center (EDM) in Kobe, in January, 2005.”
8.5 A framework for Proactive Risk Management (2009)
Jimenez, H., Stults, I. & Mavris, D. (2009) ”A Morphological Approach for Proactive Risk
Management in Civil Aviation Security”. Proceeding of the 47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences
Meeting, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Orlando.
From the Abstract: In this study, morphological analysis is used to develop a framework for
proactively assessing the risk of a terrorist attack on the air transportation system. Morpho-
logical analysis, a first order method pioneered by Fritz Zwicky, is employed to exhaustively
create possible attack scenarios. Morphological analysis is then used to assess the likelihood of
each scenario. Given a consequence estimation method, the risk for each of these scenarios
can be determined. A method for developing profiles of various terror organizations is out-
lined and, given this information, a more specific assessment of high-risk scenarios can be
made. Using the method developed herein, defensive organizations would have the capability
to quickly assess how risky various terrorist attack scenarios are, and therefore more effec-
tively protect our air transportation systems from those who would attack it for their own po-
litical or ideological gain.”
8.6 A model for peace support operations (2009)
Leenen, L. Modise, M., le Roux, H. (2009) A model for peace support operations: an over-
view of the ICT and interoperability requirements, Proceedings of the 4th International Con-
ference on Information Warfare and Security, Cape Town, South Africa.
From the abstract: This paper is part of a long term research project conducted by the Coun-
cil for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa. The objective of the project
is to construct a model for the planning and execution of Peace Support Operations (PSOs). In
this paper, the authors describe the development methodology for a PSO planning model and
they investigate the required interoperability information and communication technologies
(ICT) requirements for PSOs. Morphological analysis is used to develop the first phase of the
model.
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9. Applications in Creativity, Innovation and Knowledge Management
Morphological analysis is featured, or at least mentioned, in most books and articles concerned with
methods and techniques for innovation and creative problem solving. In this sense, there are literally
thousands of articles to choose from. Here, however, we list only articles that specifically focus in on
GMA in this context.
9.1 Morphological Creativity (1952)
Allen, M.S. (1952) Morphological Creativity. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
Allen’s book from 1952 is the earliest general promotion of GMA by someone other than
Zwicky. Unfortunately, both it and the later 1962 edition (which includes the silly sub-title
The Miracle of Your Hidden Brainpower”), are more in the popular science hype-tradition
than scientific texts. It is doubtful that they did the “morphological approach” any good. They
are only mentioned for the record.
9.2 Morphological Analysis: A Method for Creativity (1973)
Gerardin, L: (1973) Morphological Analysis: A Method for Creativity”, in Bright, J. &
Shoeman, E. (eds.) (1973) A Guide to Practical Technological Forecasting, New Jersey: Pren-
tice-Hall.
Lucien Gérardin was Research Director for Look-Out Studies at Thomson-CSF in Paris. We
could find no documentation available on this article, but cite it for the record.
9.3 Creativity in technological forecasting (1976)
Jones, H. (1976) "Morphology and creativity in technological forecasting, R&D Manage-
ment, 6(3).
This article could also just as well have been placed under technological forecasting, but Jones
puts special emphasis on creativity. From the abstract: Although the morphological ap-
proach to the exploration of technological possibilities was first described by Zwicky in 1962
in relation to jet engine systems ... it has received less attention as a tool for creativity than it
deserves. Jantsch in his classical review of technological forecasting attempted to establish in-
terest in the methodology, referring to it as ‘a systematic investigation of all the possible solu-
tions to a given problem, without any prejudice, using matrix representations in as many di-
mensions as there are basic parameters'”.
9.4 Designing for Creativity (1980)
Rickards, T. (1980) Designing for Creativity: A State of the Art Review”, Design Studies,
11(5).
From the abstract: This review concerns itself with the so-called structured aids to creative
behaviour. The published literature is outlined and shown to be extensive but fragmentary, dif-
fuse and inconclusive. Four major families of techniques are discussed: brainstorming,
synectics, morphological analysis and lateral thinking. Some less well known techniques are
also considered briefly, and the problem of classification considered.
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9.5 Morphological Gap-Analysis (2013)
Ritchey, T. (2013) "Morphological Gap-Analysis: Using GMA to find the Δ", Acta Mor-
phologica Generalis, 2(2).
From the abstract: Gap-analysis is the process of structuring and comparing two different
situations or states in order to determine the difference or “gap” that exists between them.
Once the “gap” is understood and possibly also the “distance” between the states measured
or otherwise assessed it may then be possible to identify the steps or processes required to
bridge the gap. General Morphological Analysis (GMA) is a non-quantified modelling method
that employs a process and a spatial format that makes gap-analyses intrinsic. This article will
summarise GMA and give examples of how it can be used as a computer based gap-analysis
support method. ... The examples include a knowledge management tool for identifying the
gaps between knowledge bases and knowledge requirements.
9.6 Creativity approach to Business Model Innovation (BMI) (2014)
Seidenstricker, S. & Linder C. (2014) A morphological analysis-based creativity approach to
identify and develop ideas for BMI, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innova-
tion Management, 18(5-6).
From the abstract: Practice has shown that new businesses have succeeded in changing the
structure of market sectors and opening positions of power through business model innova-
tion. Regarding entrepreneurship and innovation management, it has become of interest to
learn how such potentials can be unlocked and implemented using business model innova-
tions. Here, the development of ideas plays an important role as it usually the first stage of
each innovation and utilisation process. While this phase of development is assigned great sig-
nificance, methodological support regarding existing procedures and process models have not,
however, been given. Thus, the subject of this paper is the development of a method of sys-
tematically generating business model ideas based on morphological thinking. This includes
guaranteeing consistency of the ideas developed as well as structured selection. The method
was applied within a high-tech company.
9.7 Managing co-creation design (2015)
Frow,P., Nenonen, S., Payne, A. & Storbacka, K (2015) ”Managing Co-creation Design: A
Strategic Approach to Innovation”, British Journal of Management, DOI: 10.1111/1467-
8551.12087
From the abstract: Co-creation offers firms and their network of actors significant opportuni-
ties for innovation, as each actor offers access to new resources through a process of resource
integration. However, despite the significant advantages that co-creation can offer, there is
surprisingly little research providing a strategic approach for identifying the most advanta-
geous co-creation opportunities, especially when many possible options are available. Recent-
ly, scholars have called for research that develops tools and processes related to co-creation.
This study addresses these priorities, making two contributions. ... A co-creation design
framework is developed, which incorporates multiple design dimensions and categories that
can reveal new co-creation opportunities. Second, the research extends the application of a de-
sign approach, specifically within the context of co-creative activities. ... A morphological ap-
proach is used to explore how a lead firm can identify attractive co-creation opportunities. An
innovation solution in one organization provides an illustration of how the co-creation design
framework can be applied.
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10. Applications in modelling theory, OR methods and GMA itself
Besides Zwicky’s early promotion of the “morphological approach”, the technical side of GMA has
been addressed in the areas of operational research and modelling theory in general. Most of the
authors in this context have backgrounds in some form of “decision science”, e.g. operational analy-
sis, management science, risk analysis, etc.
10.1 Morphological techniques in Operational analysis (1975)
Müller-Merbach, H. (1976) The Use of Morphological Techniques for OR-Approaches to
Problems, Operations Research 75. North-Holland Publishing Company.
This is one of the earliest appeals for the use of GMA in Operational Research programs.
Müller-Merbach, professor of Business Administration and Operational Research at the Tech-
nical University in Darmstadt, pointed out that general morphology is especially suitable for
operational research, not the least because of the growing need for operational analysts to be
part of the problem structuring and formulation process, and not simply a ‘receiver’ of prede-
fined problems.
10.2 The mathematics of morphological analysis (1987)
Arciszewski, T. (1987) “Mathematical modelling of morphological analysis”, Mathematical
Modelling, 8.
Tomasz Arciszewski at the Department of Civil Engineering at Wayne State University in
Michigan has been a long-time promoter of GMA in the engineering field. From the abstract:
“A mathematical model of morphological analysis is given. A search of a morphological table
is simulated by a non-homogeneous Markov chain. This model was used in the developed
computer program, which has been successfully applied in structural engineering for the gen-
eration of a number of innovative, patentable solutions.”
10.3 Problem structuring with GMA (2006)
Ritchey, T. (2006) “Problem structuring using computer-aided morphological analysis”, Jour-
nal of the Operational Research Society, 57.
From the abstract: This article gives a historical and theoretical background to GMA as a
problem structuring method, compares it with a number of other ‘soft-OR’ methods, and pre-
sents a recent application in structuring a complex policy issue. (A pre-copyedit version of
the article is available at: http://www.swemorph.com/pdf/psm-gma.pdf)
10.4 Combining morphological analysis and Bayesian networks (2007)
de Waal, A. & Ritchey, T. (2007) Combining morphological analysis and Bayesian networks
for strategic decision support, ORiON, 23(2).
From the abstract: Morphological analysis (MA) and Bayesian networks (BN) are two
closely related modelling methods, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages for
strategic decision support modelling. MA is a method for defining, linking and evaluating
problem spaces. BNs are graphical models which consist of a qualitative and quantitative part.
The qualitative part is a cause-and-effect, or causal graph. The quantitative part depicts the
strength of the causal relationships between variables. Combining MA and BN, as two phases
in a modelling process, allows us to gain the benefits of both of these methods. Short summa-
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ries of MA and BN are provided, followed by discussions how these two computer aided
methods may be combined to better facilitate modelling procedures. A simple example is pre-
sented, concerning a recent application in the field of environmental decision support.
10.5 A morphology of modelling methods (2012)
Ritchey, T. (2012) "Outline for a Morphology of Modelling Methods: Contribution to a Gen-
eral Theory of Modelling", Acta Morphologica Generalis, 1(1).
From the abstract: The purpose of this article is to classify and compare in essence to
model a number of different types of modelling methods employed within Operations Re-
search and the Management Sciences (OR/MS). The classification of these methods is based
on a selected number of generally recognised modelling properties. On the basis of this meta-
model, requirements for the successful application of different modelling methods for the
study of given systems or objects of scientific enquiry can be examined. The method em-
ployed for this meta-modelling task is General Morphological Analysis (GMA). The problem
of a General Theory of Modelling (GTM) is also discussed. (Available at:
http://www.amg.swemorph.com/pdf/amg-1-1-2012.pdf)
10.6 Dynamic Morphological Exploration (2013)
Williams, P. & Bowden, F. (2013) “Dynamic Morphological Exploration”, Proceeding of the
22nd National Conference of the Australian Society for Operations Research, Adelaide, Aus-
tralia.
In this paper, a “Dynamic Morphological Exploration is proposed as an extension of General
Morphological Analysis. The driving principle behind this method is to create an exhaustive
tree mapping of optimal search paths, based on all possible outcomes of previous state space
tests. The analyst is then able to refer to the Dynamic Morphological Exploration Tree during
an experiment or analytical campaign to objectively decide the next set of parameters to be
tested. With sufficient forethought, the Tree will guide the analyst away from repetition and
dead-ends.
10.7 Morphological models about decision support modelling (2104)
Ritchey, T. (2014) "Four Models about Decision Support Modelling", Acta Morphologica
Generalis, 3(1).
From the abstract: Models and modelling methods play an essential role in Operational Re-
search and Management Science (OR/MS). This article presents four models which concern
how OR/MS employs different modelling methods for different modelling tasks, under differ-
ent constraints, and for different forms of uncertainty. Two of these “meta-models” concern
how OR/MS modelling has been employed in decision support for the Swedish Defence Re-
search Agency: one of them from a more academic or theoretical perspective, the other more
from the perspective of the practitioner. The third model concentrates on how different model-
ling techniques are constrained by varying stakeholder positions. The final model is introspec-
tive and classifies a variety of modelling methods on the basis of a number of formal model-
ling properties. All of these meta-models were developed using the non-quantified modelling
method General Morphological Analysis (GMA).
(Available at: http://www.amg.swemorph.com/pdf/amg-3-1-2014.pdf)
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11. Overview of General Morphological Analysis
Essentially, GMA is a method for identifying and investigating the total set of possible relationships
contained in a given problem complex. This is accomplished by going through a number of iterative
phases which represent cycles of analysis and synthesis the basic method for developing (scien-
tific) models.
The method begins by identifying and defining the most important parameters of the problem com-
plex to be investigated, and assigning each parameter a range of relevant values or conditions. This is
done mainly in natural language, although abstract labels and scales can be utilized to specify the set
of elements defining the discrete value range of a parameter. (Note that we are using the term pa-
rameter not in its formal mathematical sense, but in its more general, systems science meaning: i.e.
one of a number of factors that define a system and determine its behaviour, and which can be varied
in an experiment, including a Gedankenexperiment).
A morphological field is constructed by setting the parameters against each other in order to create
an n-dimensional configuration space (Figure 1). A particular configuration (the black cells in the
matrix) within this space contains one ”value” from each of the parameters, and thus marks out a
particular state of, or possible formal solution to, the problem complex.
The point is, to examine all of the configurations in the field, in order to establish which of them are
possible, viable, practical, interesting, etc., and which are not. In doing this, we mark out in the field
a relevant solution space. The solution space of a Zwickian morphological field consists of the sub-
set of all the possible configurations which satisfy some criteria. The primary criterion is that of in-
ternal consistency.
Figure 1: A 6-parameter morphological field. The darkened cells define one of 4,800 possible (formal) con-
figurations.
Obviously, in fields containing more than a handful of variables, it would be time-consuming if not
practically impossible to examine all of the configurations involved. For instance, a 7-parameter
field with 6 conditions under each parameter contains almost 280,000 possible configurations.
Thus the next step in the analysis-synthesis process is to examine the internal relationships between
the field parameters and "reduce" the field by weeding out configurations which contain mutually
contradictory conditions. In this way, we create a preliminary outcome or solution space within the
morphological field without having first to consider all of the configurations as such.
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This “reduction” is achieved by a process of cross-consistency assessment (CCA). All of the parame-
ter values in the morphological field are compared with one another in the manner of a cross-impact
matrix (Figure 2). As each pair of conditions is examined, a judgment is made as to whether or to
what extent the pair can coexist, i.e. represent a consistent relationship. Note that there is no refer-
ence to direction or causality, but only to mutual consistency. Using this technique, a typical mor-
phological field can be reduced by to 90% or even 99%, depending on the problem structure.
Figure 2: The cross-consistency matrix for the morphological field in Figure 1. The dark cells
represent the 15 pair-wise relationships in the configuration given in Figure 1.
There are three principal types of inconsistencies involved in the cross-consistency assessment:
purely logical contradictions (i.e. “contradictions in terms”); empirical constraints (i.e. relationships
judged to be highly improbable or implausible on practical, empirical grounds), and normative con-
straints (although these must be used with great care, and clearly designated as such).
This technique of using pair-wise consistency assessments, in order to weed out internally inconsis-
tent configurations, is made possible by the combinatorial relationships inherent in morphological
models, or in any discrete configuration space. While the number of configurations in such a space
grows factorially with each new parameter, the number of pair-wise relationships between pa-
rameter conditions grows only in proportion to the triangular number series a quadratic polyno-
mial. Naturally, there are also practical limits reached with quadratic growth. The point is, that a
morphological field involving as many as 100,000 formal configurations can require no more than
few hundred pair-wise assessments in order to create a solution space.
When this solution (or outcome) space is synthesized, the resultant morphological field function as
an inference model, in which any parameter (or multiple parameters) can be selected as "input", and
any others as "output". Thus, with dedicated computer support, the field can be turned into a labora-
tory with which one can designate different initial conditions and examine alternative solutions.
GMA seeks to be integrative and to help discover new relationships or configurations. Importantly, it
encourages the identification and investigation of boundary conditions, i.e. the limits and extremes of
different parameters within the problem space. The method also has definite advantages for scientific
communication and notably for group work. As a process, the method demands that parameters,
conditions and the issues underlying these be clearly defined. Poorly defined concepts become im-
mediately evident when they are cross-referenced and assessed for internal consistency. Like most
methods dealing with complex social and organizational systems, GMA requires strong, experienced
facilitation, an engaged group of subject specialists and a good deal of patience.
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12. References in alphabetical order
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13. References in chronological order
1947
Zwicky, F. (1947). "Morphology and Nomenclature of Jet Engines", Aeronautical En-
gineering Review, 6(6).
1948
Zwicky, F. (1948). "Morphological Astronomy", The Observatory, 68(845).
Zwicky, F. (1948). "The Morphological Method of Analysis and Construction", Cou-
rant. Anniversary Volume, Intersciences Publishers.
1952
Allen, M.S. (1952) Morphological Creativity. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
1960
Zwicky, Fritz (1960) A Morphologist Ponders the Smog Problem”, Engineering and
Science, 24 (2).
1963
Norris, K. W. (1963) “The morphological approach to engineering design”, in J. C.
Jones and D. G. Thornley (eds), Conference on Design Methods, New York: Mac-
millan.
1967
Jantsch, E. (1967) Technological forecasting in perspective, OECD, Paris.
Taylor T. (1967) “Preliminary survey on non-national nuclear threats”, Stanford Re-
search Institute Technical Note SSC-TN-5205-83.
Zwicky, F. & Wilson A. (eds.) (1967) New Methods of Thought and Procedure: Con-
tributions to the Symposium on Methodologies, Berlin: Springer.
1968
Bridgewater, A. (1968) "Long Range Process Design and Morphological Analysis", The
Chemical Engineer, April 1968.
1969
Ayres, R. (1969) "Morphological Analysis" (Chapter 5) in Technological Forecasting
and Long Range Planning, New York: McGraw-Hill.
Bridgewater, A. (1969) "Morphological Methods - Principles and Practice", in Arn-
field, R. (ed.) (1969) Technological Forecasting, University of Strathclyde. Edin-
burgh University Press.
Gregory, S. (1969) "Morphological Methods: Antecedents and Associates", Technological
Forecasting, Some Techniques, Proceedings of a Symposium at Aston University,
Birmingham.
Hall, Arthur D. (1969) "Three-Dimensional Morphology of Systems Engineering", IEEE
Transactions on Systems Science and Cybernetics, 5(2).
Watts, R. (1969) “Some Theoretical Principles in Morphological Analysis”, Technological
Forecasting, Some Techniques, Proceedings of a Symposium at Aston University,
Birmingham.
Zwicky, F. (1969) Discovery, Invention, Research - Through the Morphological Ap-
proach, Toronto: The Macmillian Company.
Zwicky, F.(1969) "Morphology of Justice in the Space Age and the Boundaries of
Outer Space", Astronautica Acta, 14.
1970
O'Neal, C. (1970) “New approaches to technological forecasting— Morphological
analysis: An integrative approach”, Business Horizons, 13(6).
1973
Gerardin, L: (1973) “Morphological Analysis: A Method for Creativity”, in Bright, J.
& Shoeman, E. (eds.) (1973) Guide to Practical Technological Forecasting, New
Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
1975
Turley, R., Richardson, W. and Hansen, J. (1975) “Morphological analysis for health
care systems planning”, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 9(2).
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1976
Jones, H. (1976) "Morphology and creativity in technological forecasting”, R&D Man-
agement, 6(3).
Müller-Merbach, H. (1976) “The Use of Morphological Techniques for OR-
Approaches to Problems”, Operations Research 75. North-Holland.
Wissema, J. (1976) “Morphological analysis: Its Application to a Company TF Investi-
gation”, Futures, 8(2).
1980
Rickards, T. (1980) “Designing for Creativity: A State of the Art Review”, Design
Studies, 11(5).
1981
Rhyne, R. (1981) “Whole-Pattern Futures Projection, Using Field Anomaly Relaxa-
tion”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 19(4).
1987
Arciszewski, T. (1987) “Mathematical modelling of morphological analysis”, Mathe-
matical Modelling, 8.
1989
Weber, R.G. & Condor, S.S. (1989) "Conceptual design using a synergistically compatible
morphological matrix", FIE '98 Proceedings of 28th Annual Frontiers in Education, 1.
1991
Card, S.K., Mackinlay, J.D. & Robertson, G.G. (1991) “A Morphological Analysis of
the Design Space of Input Devices”, ACM Transactions on Information Systems,
9(2). Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.
Proctor, R. (1991) “The Importance of Creativity in the Management Field”. British
Journal of Management, 2(4).
1994
The Futures Group International (1994) “Relevance tree and morphological analysis”,
Futures Research Methods, V. 2.0, AC/UNU Millennium Project, 1994.
1995
Coyle, R. & McGlone, G. (1995), “Projecting scenarios for South-east Asia and the
South-west Pacific”, Futures, 27(1).
Rhyne, R. (1995) Evaluating Alternative Indonesian Sea-Sovereignty Systems, Informs:
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
1997
Evbuomwan, N. (1997) “Generation of Design Solutions using Morphological Analysis”,
International Conference on Engineering Design, Iced 97, Tampere.
1998
Ritchey, T. (1998) "Fritz Zwicky, Morphologie and Policy Analysis, Proceedings of
the 16th EURO Conference on Operational Analysis, Brussels.
2000
Belaziz, M., Bouras, A. & Brun, J-M (2000) “Morphological analysis for product
design”, Computer-aided Design - CAD , 32(5-6).
Bezerra, C. & Owen C. L. (2000) “Evolutionary Structured Planning. A Computer-
Supported Methodology for the Conceptual Planning Process”, in Gero, J. (ed.)
(2000) Artificial Intelligence in Design'00, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
2001
Godet, M. (2001) Creating Futures: Scenario Planning as a Strategic Management Tool,
Paris: Economica.
Proposka, A. (2001) “Application of Morphological Analysis Methodology in Archi-
tectural Design”, Acta Polytechnica, 41(1).
2002
Eriksson, T. & Ritchey, T. (2002) “Scenario Development Using Computerized Morpho-
logical Analysis”, Proceedings of the Winchester International OR Conference, Oxford.
Ritchey, T., Stenström, M. & Eriksson, H. (2002) Using Morphological Analysis to
Evaluate Preparedness for Accidents Involving Hazardous Materials”, Proceeding
of the 4th International Conference for Local Authorities, Shanghai, 2002.
2003
Ritchey, T. (2003) "Nuclear Facilities and Sabotage: Using Morphological Analysis as
a Scenario and Strategy Development Laboratory", Proceedings of the 44th Annual
Meeting of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Phoenix, Arizona.
Álvarez & Ritchey / Applications of GMA / Acta Morphologica Generalis Vol. 4. No. 1 (2015)
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38
2004
Lövkvist-Andersen, A., Ritchey, T., Olsson, R, & Stenström, M. (2004) “Modelling
Society’s Capacity to Manage Extraordinary Events”, Presentation at the SRA (So-
ciety for Risk Analysis) Conference, Paris 2004, Swedish Morphological Society.
Stenström, M. & Ritchey, T. (2004) “Scenario and Strategy Laboratories for an Ex-
tended Producer Responsibility System”, adaption of a report to the Swedish Minis-
try of the Environment, Swedish Morphological Society.
Technology Futures Analysis Methods Working Group (2004) “Technology futures
analysis: Toward integration of the field and new methods”, Technological Fore-
casting and Social Change, 71(3).
2005
Dartnall, J. & Johnston, S. (2005) “Morphological Analysis (MA) leading to Innovative
Mechanical Design”, International Conference on Engineering Design, Iced 05,
Melbourne.
Gogu, G. (2005) “Evolutionary Morphology”, in Bramley, A, Brissaud, D., Coutellier,
D. & McMahon , C. (2005) Advances in Integrated Design and Manufacturing in
Mechanical Engineering, Springer.
Yoon, B. & Park, Y. (2005) “A systematic approach for identifying technology oppor-
tunities: Keyword-based morphology analysis”, Technological Forecasting and So-
cial Change, 72(2).
2006
Ritchey, T. (2006) "Modeling Multi-Hazard Disaster Reduction Strategies with Com-
puter-Aided Morphological Analysis", Proceedings of the 3rd International IS-
CRAM Conference, Newark, USA.
Ritchey, T. (2006) “Problem structuring using computer-aided morphological analy-
sis”, Journal of the Operational Research Society, 57.
Sharif, A. & Irani, Z. (2006) “Applying a fuzzy-morphological approach to complexity
within management decision-making”, Management Decision, 44(7).
2007
de Waal, A. & Ritchey, T. (2007) “Combining morphological analysis and Bayesian
networks for strategic decision support”, ORiON, 23(2).
Petrusel, R. & Mocean, L. (2007) “Modeling decisional situations using morphological
analysis”. Informatica Economica, 4 (44).
2008
Kosow, H. & Gaßner, R. (2008) “Methods of Future and Scenario Analysis. Overview,
Assessment, and Selection Criteria”. Studies / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungs-
politik.
2009
Glenn, J. & Gordon, T. (eds.) (2009). The Millennium Project: Futures Research
Methodology, Version 3.0, Chapter 17: "Morphological Analysis", The Millennium
Project.
Jimenez, H., Stults, I. & Mavris, D. (2009) ”A Morphological Approach for Proactive
Risk Management in Civil Aviation Security”. Proceeding of the 47th AIAA Aero-
space Sciences Meeting, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Or-
lando.
Kannengiesser, U. (2009) “An Ontological Basis for Design Methods”, in Undisci-
plined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University,
Sheffield.
Kumar, J.A. & Ganesh, L.S. (2009) "Research on knowledge transfer in organizations:
a morphology”, Journal of Knowledge Management, 13(4).
2009
Leenen, L. Modise, M., le Roux, H. (2009) “A model for peace support operations: an
overview of the ICT and interoperability requirements”, Proceedings of the 4th In-
ternational Conference on Information Warfare and Security, Cape Town, South
Africa.
Álvarez & Ritchey / Applications of GMA / Acta Morphologica Generalis Vol. 4. No. 1 (2015)
_________________________________________________________________________________________
39
Villegas Medina, G., Pham, M. & , Marquis-Favre, W. (2009) "A Modified Zwicky's Mor-
phological Analysis: Application to the design of a robotic laparoscope," Proceedings of
the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE), (22).
Voros J. (2009) “Morphological prospection: Profiling the shapes of things to come”,
Foresight, 11(6).
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gence in design meetings”, Proceedings of Iced 09, the 17th International Confer-
ence on Engineering Design, Vol. 6.
2010
Chen, J. and Lai, Ch. (2010) “The theory of morphological analysis applied to western
apparela case study of Renaissance era”, International Journal of Computer Sci-
ence and Network Security, 10(4)
Jimenez, H. & Mavris, D. (2010) “An Evolution of Morphological Analysis Applications in
Systems Engineering”, Proceeding of the 48th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting In-
cluding the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition, Orlando, Florida.
Kuriakose, K.K, Raj, B., Satya Murty, S.A.V., Swaminathan, P. (2010) “Knowledge
Management Maturity Models A Morphological Analysis”, Journal of Knowledge
Management Practice, 11(3).
Plauché, M., de Waal, A., Grover, A S. & Gumede, T. (2010) “Morphological Analy-
sis: A Method for Selecting ICT Applications in South African Government Service
Delivery”, Information Technologies & International Development, 6(1).
Ritchey, T. (2010) "Specifying Training and Instruction Requirements using Morphological
Analysis", Proceeding of ICELW 2010 (International conference on e-learning in the
workplace), Columbia University, New York.
2011
Correia da Silva, L. (2011) “Morphological Analysis of the Introduction of Electric Vehi-
cles in São Paulo’s Urban Traffic”, Future Studies Research Journal, São Paulo, 3(1).
Lee, J. & Hong, Y. (2011) “A Morphological Approach to Business Model Creation
using Case-Based Reasoning”, Proceedings of the International Conference on En-
gineering Design, ICED 11, Technical University of Denmark.
Ritchey, T. (2011) “Modelling Alternative Futures with General Morphological Analysis”,
World Future Review, Spring 2011.
Zeiler,W. (2011) “Morphological Analysis of a Sustainable School Design”, International
Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 11, 2011, Technical University of Denmark.
2012
Feng, X & Fuhai, L. (2012) “Patent text mining and informetric-based patent technol-
ogy morphological analysis”, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 24(5).
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vey)”, arXiv:1201.1712v1.
Ostertagová, E., Kovác, J., Ostertag, O. & Malega, P. (2012) "Application of Morpho-
logical Analysis in the Design of Production Systems", Procedia Engineering, 48.
Ritchey, T. (2012) "Outline for a Morphology of Modelling Methods: Contribution to a
General Theory of Modelling", Acta Morphologica Generalis, 1(1).
Storbacka, K. & Nenonen, S. (2012) “Competitive Arena Mapping: Market Innovation
using Morphological Analysis in Business Markets”, Journal of Business-to-
Business Marketing, 19(3).
2012
Zheng,W., Kankaanranta, J. & Suominen, A. (2012) “Morphological analysis of tech-
nologies using multidimensional scaling”, Journal of Business Chemistry, 9(3).
2013
Im, K & Cho, H (2013) “A systematic approach for developing a new business model
using morphological analysis”, Expert Systems with Applications, 40(11).
Álvarez & Ritchey / Applications of GMA / Acta Morphologica Generalis Vol. 4. No. 1 (2015)
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40
Kannengiesser, U., Williams, C. & Gero, J.S. (2013) "What Do the Concept Generation
Techniques of Triz, Morphological Analysis and Brainstorming have in Common?",
International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 13, Seoul.
Ritchey, T. (2013) "Morphological Gap-Analysis: Using GMA to find the Δ", Acta
Morphologica Generalis, 2(2).
Williams, P. & Bowden, F. (2013) “Dynamic Morphological Exploration”, Proceeding
of the 22nd National Conference of the Australian Society for Operations Research,
Adelaide, Australia.
2014
Álvarez A. (2014). “The Norris Brothers Ltd. morphological approach to engineering
design an early example of applied morphological analysis”. AMG, Vol. 3 No. 2.
Ritchey, T. (2014) "Four Models about Decision Support Modelling", Acta Mor-
phologica Generalis, 3(1).
Seidenstricker, S. & Linder C. (2014) “A morphological analysis-based creativity ap-
proach to identify and develop ideas for BMI”, International Journal of Entrepre-
neurship and Innovation Management, 18(5-6).
Seidenstricker, S., Scheuerle, S. & Linder, C. (2014). “Business Model Prototyping
Using the Morphological Analysis to Develop New Business Models”, Procedia -
Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 148.
2015
Frow, P., Nenonen, S., Payne, A. & Storbacka, K (2015) ”Managing Co-creation De-
sign: A Strategic Approach to Innovation”, British Journal of Management, DOI:
10.1111/1467-8551.12087
* * *
The authors:
1. Asunción Álvarez holds a B.A. degree in Linguistics from the Universidad Complutense de
Madrid and a Ph.D. degree in Philosophy from King’s College London. She is a founding
partner at Inplanta (www.inplanta.com) in Madrid.
2. Tom Ritchey is a former Research Director for the Institution for Technology Foresight and
Assessment at the Swedish National Defence Research Agency in Stockholm. He has a
background in mathematical physics and computer science, and a PhD in social anthropol-
ogy. He works primarily with non-quantified decision support modelling He is the founder
of the Swedish Morphological Society (www.swemorph.com) and Director of Ritchey Con-
sulting LLC, Stockholm.
Acta Morphologica Generalis (AMG) is the online journal of the Swedish Morphologica Society.
Works published by AMG are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-
NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. View a copy of this license at:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
... The realization of these adjustments is not further discussed in this paper as they are considered an external service activity (see purple activity in Figure 2). [78,81]. Thus, a scenario space aggregates impact factors of threat scenarios in a multidimensional space, thus using a set of superior key factors for a qualitative and quantitative scenario description [82]. ...
... Finally, it is checked if a valid database of nominal KIF values (N) representing the nominal state of the system is already provided. If validity is given, the subprocess finishes, and the task [78,81]. Thus, a scenario space aggregates impact factors of threat scenarios in a multidimensional space, thus using a set of superior key factors for a qualitative and quantitative scenario description [82]. ...
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Complex design decisions require not only the use of information from the artifactual world (objective, quantitative data), but also from the world of culture (subjective, qualitative data). This paper describes Evolutionary Structured Planning, a computer-supported extension to a method that supports synthesis of objective and subjective information in the design planning process. With origins in Morphological Analysis and Structured Planning, the method introduces Genetic Algorithms as means for dealing with compound solution concepts in large combinatorial solution spaces. The method is extremely flexible and capable of being applied to virtually any design problem at the conceptual level.
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A few of the aspects of a treaty on outer space are described as they were discussed from 1961 to 1968 at various congresses of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL). About two years ago such a treaty was signed by a number of nations in Washington DC, London and Moscow. In the meantime, however, it was discovered that no good definition of the boundary of outer space could be found and that the treaty is therefore not entirely satisfying in its formulation. The present author, at the Belgrade 1967 congress pointed out that there is no single boundary of outer space to be used for legal purposes. There are in fact rather many such boundaries, each one to be fixed, first relative to the activity which is being considered and second, depending on the tolerance limits which are acceptable, to the nations involved, concerning the physico-chemical and the psychological consequences of these activities. Illustrative examples of relevant activities and tolerances are presented and the proposal is made to have these activities and tolerances analysed by competent members of the IAA in cooperation with the legal experts of the IISL and of the United Nations.
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The built environment has to become more sustainable. Principals experiment with different ways to stimulate sustainable innovation. Instead of just asking an architect they now ask for Integral Design teams, in which designers from different disciplines start designing together almost from the same moment in the design process. The design competition session for the conceptual design of a sustainable school was put on video and analyzed by applying morphological analysis. This analysis is based on a functional transcript of the process and the transforming of that in to a morphological overview. This analysis is done in two ways: one focusing on the process interactions and one more focusing on the functional aspects of the design process. Some results of the analysis are presented especially focusing on the difference between architects and engineers in the design process.
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This study aims to provide a structured methodology for a business model creation. Based on a morphological analysis of business model, we propose the methodological chart named as business model creation template with which one can generate a variety of business model alternatives. The template consists of a set of predefined building blocks which describes the strategic patterns and/or constituent elements of a business model. Those building blocks have been collected and verified through comprehensive analysis of real-world business model cases and relevant literature. Furthermore, we develop case-based reasoning system for supporting a new business model creation. The system aims to provide the business model planner of intuitive cases in creating a new business model. Based on a case base that contains about a hundred of real business models, the system receives an input query from a business model planner, and retrieves similar cases to the query based on case matching mechanism. In the case study, we actually generate the new business model alternatives for apparel company that want to commercialize their newly designed product.
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Practice has shown that new businesses have succeeded in changing the structure of market sectors and opening positions of power through business model innovation. The reasons have been many, but include new technological possibilities, innovative products, changes in the supply chain management, optimised cost structures and unique resources. Regarding entrepreneurship and innovation management, it has become of interest to learn how such potentials can be unlocked and implemented using business model innovations. Here, the development of ideas plays an important role as it usually the first stage of each innovation and utilisation process. However, to date, research in the field of business models has not sufficiently answered the question. While this phase of development is assigned great significance, methodological support regarding existing procedures and process models have not, however, been given. Thus, the subject of this paper is the development of a method of systematically generating business model ideas based on morphological thinking. This includes guaranteeing consistency of the ideas developed as well as structured selection. The method was applied within a high-tech company.
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Morphological analysis (MA) is a non-quantified modelling method for structuring and analysing technical, organisational and social problem complexes. It is well suited for developing scenarios, and the method is highly appropriate for complex cases where expertise from several areas is required. It is also useful for developing and relating operational and tactical scenarios to force requirements. Using MA for problem solving or scenario generation typically involves workshop sessions supported by a computer tool. MA/Casper (Computer Aided Scenario and Problem Evaluation Routine) was developed at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) by Dr. Tom Ritchey in order to support MA work. An example of how MA is used for the development of a set of scenarios is given. These scenarios were developed for the Swedish Armed Forces' long-term planning and describe a number of long-term strategic situations, including peace support operations. The use of MA to define force requirements will be illustrated briefly by elements of an airborne capability study at the Swedish Army Command.