In order to obtain product designs which enhance the flexibility for change in the working environment of the product, a flexible design optimization method is proposed in which any change is clearly evaluated at the design stage. Here, a criterion of maximization of the flexibility for the product working environment is added to the conventional criteria such as the product performance and the manufacturing cost and a multiobjective optimization problem is formulated. The influence that enhancing flexibility has on the other characteristics is integratedly evaluated by the tradeoff analysis of the Pareto optimum solution set. Then, the preference structure of the decision maker is formulated by the preference function for each evaluative characteristic. The preference functions are interactively modified based on the tradeoff analysis between the evaluative characteristics. The solution most sufficiently reflecting the preference structure of the decision maker is finally determined as the design solution.

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