In the present paper unique data about initial shortcomings in the design and application of different industrial and consumer products are presented. The research area covers all of the products’ development stages beginning with factory automation and equipment control systems, and continuing with the design and realization of light fittings up to follow-up on the product development of office machines. The statistical results of this research are presented. Further the essence of the synergy-based approach to the design process, focussing on the most common human faults/mistakes, is clarified. Evidence is presented to show that the reason for human shortcomings is either the lack of synergy in teamworking or problems in inner personal communication. A detailed definition of the concepts of positive and negative synergy, with examples from both categories is given. Guidelines are given to reduce human risks at the conception of interdisciplinary systems design to avoid bad engineering. A framework for the synergy-based design of interdisciplinary systems is presented capable of adapting to the competences of the design team.

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