"Progressive Hybrid Design is a holistic strategy that incorporates elements and processes from diverse fields, in a rigorous way, to solve any difficult problem."

Certifications are available

About Our Consortium

Established in 2022 by David Troness

Past Advisors / Collaborators:

  • Nick L. - Chemical Engineer - Medical Devices

  • Don R. - Mechanical Engineer, Philosopher & Artist

  • Harrie V. - Reliability Engineer (Netherlands)

  • Julie D. - Sociology Professor

  • Mark N. - Game Theory

  • Matt T. - Cancer Researcher

  • John B. - Information Technology

  • Benjamin A. - Criminal Defense Lawyer

  • Amir G. - Semiconductor Mfg

  • James P. - Psychiatrist

  • Jeff M. - Forensic Scientist - Criminal Investigations

  • Ben H. - Law Enforcement - Detective

  • Larry B. - Inventor/Author

  • Robert N. - Safety Engineering

  • Karen B. - Human Factors Engineering

Problems or Design Challenges:

  • Poorly-developed problem statements dictate or confine the focus area, and pre-determine the nature of the solution.


  • Focusing on A "Root Cause" already limits thinking... as there are many ways to eliminate a problem or overcome a challenge.

  • "Causal Analysis" should be driven by science(any branch), not brainstorming.

  • It is crucial to bring in people with different experiences, education, and vantage points.

  • Causes should not be limited to the nature of the problem statement, eg. a problem may be defined in technical terms but people in the system may have an overriding influence on why the problem exists.


  • There are always many ways to solve a problem.

  • When we assume that a complete solution will be costly, complex, and likely to include a compromise, that is exactly what we get.

  • Many people have solved your type of problem, elegantly, and you can accelerate the process by understanding their approaches.

A Non-Profit, with a mission to:

  • Define the Progressive Hybrid-Design strategy

  • Establish Standards of Practice

  • Establish Certification Requirements

  • Bring resources together, e.g. expertise, databases, research, training, etc.

  • Be a clearinghouse for enhancements to the strategy

  • Maintain a collection of papers and case studies

  • Introduce Progressive H.D. to High School STEM programs

  • Provide free services to Social, Humanitarian, and Environmental causes

Want to Learn More?

  • Contact us: or (480) 270-4081

  • YouTube videos are coming!

  • Overview & Discussion Session On-Line - 2-3 hrs $200/person or discounted group rate

For information on in-depth training and certification, go to CERTS

Example of a Challenging Problem:

Rear-End Car Collisions: There are a very large number of rear-end collisions on American roads, which actually comprise 30% of all collisions. Different groups of people will drive solution concepts based on their own experience and education:

Car Manufacturers focused on capabilities of the car, utilizing engineering, material science and other physical sciences:

  • Anti-Lock Brakes

  • Monitoring Tire Pressure

  • Monitoring Brakes

  • Tire tread and structure

...but this wasn't enough, so...

Human Factors Engineers began to look at capabilities of the driver:

  • Collision Warning

  • Lane Departure

  • Blind Spot Warning

  • Automatic Responses

These things are valuable, but they treat the driver as being inadequate for understanding their surroundings, quickly and accurately.

...but this wasn't enough... the person is still the problem, so...

Autonomous Car Manufacturers seek to take the person completely out of the equation, but why is that necessary? It could be a cynical view, i.e. the drivers are:

  • lazy

  • focused on their phones

  • are too slow

  • poor decision-makers

  • tired

  • irresponsible

  • etc.

This is a huge jump, but perhaps one of the main goals is actually to just sell more cars.

Continued efforts to utilize technology will have minimal value if the driver doesn't want to slow down and keep a reasonable distance. This realization points us to a missing element that is often ignored... cognitive bias that drives motivation, which drives behavior

  • Why do we drive so fast?

  • Why do we maintain such a small distance between our car and the one in front of us?

  • This other element is the person's thinking process, including cognitive bias and emotion, which can drive behavior.

By consulting with social scientists and psychologists, we could enhance our understanding and uncover more options. Even a short time of searching the internet reveals research findings that do not require years of education to understand and utilize.

In this case, we could start with understanding known types of "cognitive bias" that the driver may have, e.g., "The guy in front of me is not likely to slam on their brakes, and even if they do, I can handle it, so I will be OK." This bias can cause other beliefs or emotions, which drive behaviors, e.g., "What is wrong with this guy! I'm going to ride on this jerk's bumper, and they will realize they should get out of my way". Could anything be done to stop their belief that they are safe in tailgating? We might consider that we need to decrease their confidence.

It is interesting to note that in one traffic control experiment, understanding that type of bias was key to achieving results that were way beyond expectations. In general, it appears that adding more and more controls over drivers and pedestrians, e.g., adding more rules/laws... the less responsibility that is taken for their behavior/decisions. When all control mechanisms were removed, the people's confidence in making it safely through an intersection went way down. In response, everyone in the system took personal responsibility to look carefully at everyone else as they made their way through. The result was that accidents were reduced by more than 80%. Since this is very controversial, work still needs to be done to remove confidence in a way that people will understand and respect - a new challenge!

Quick Examples of Elegant Solutions:

"We continually exceed our labor estimates!"

Senior management is not happy with the engineering department's habit of exceeding the labor budgets that they asked for.

Keep the labor estimate low to get the contract, but then chastise the team for going over budget.

The project manager wants to submit a larger request to insure that their spending will not exceed the budget. The manager also knows that there are always unforeseen issues that will require more money.

Senior management pushes strongly for a lower budget estimate, and therefore a lower quote to the customer in order to win the contract.

The engineers and project manager know that whatever number is submitted, management will drastically cut it. However they commit to the lower budget because they believe that as the project proceeds, management will not deny them additional money.

Everyone "games" the system to get the estimate they want.

The hybrid design process helped to identify these motivations and reasoning that everyone was using.

Now they could utiilized proven strategies for separating the conflicting goals. They went to the well-established technique of developing a 3-point estimate, i.e. instead of a single number, they submit a "worst-case", "best-case", and "most-likely" number. This sets up the program to establish goals and manage costs based on probabilities instead of hopeful guesses.

How to get drivers to slow down - especially in neighborhoods with children playing outside!

What is usually done?

  • Signs

  • Lower speed limit

  • Speed Bumps

  • Radar-speed feedback

Why don't those work well?

  • People don't think they will get caught or injure kids

What do people really care about? -damage to their car.

So, make them THINK they will damage their car if they don't slow down?

If you carry expensive camera equipment, with an expensive looking bag... it will be tempting for a thief to steal it.

Why would someone want to steal it? Borrowing from a legal determination of guilt:

  1. Motive: The value is recognized.

  2. Means: It appears easy to distract the owner and snatch the bag.

  3. Opportunity: with an expectation of success. The thief believes there is a reasonable likelihood that they won't get caught.

Common responses:

  • Put a location tracker inside the bag.

  • Use a bluetooth alarm to go off when the bag is more than a specified distance from the owner.

  • While these steps could be effective, the thief could always take out the camera gear and discard the bag.


The owner wants to protect their camera gear, often with expensive camera bags. Those bags look very professional and stylish, but they become easiily recognized for the possible value stored inside. So, they want a camera bag that will provide good protection, but they also want a cheap, unassuming bag.

One Solution:

Separate the requirements by "disguising" the outside of the bag to look like a common diaper bag. So, you end up with a bag that does a great job of protecting the gear, without inviting attention. This addresses the element of "motivation", i.e. no one wants what is typically inside a diaper bag.