- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 05 Mar 2021
C-K theory (concept knowledge theory) is a design approach that examines the concept of design as a continuous process that builds on theory and reason. It was developed within the Engineering Design curriculum at Mines ParisTech, Centre for Management Science in the 1990s as an impetus to push designers and engineers to innovate by seeking breakthroughs rather than by improving what is already known.
C-K theory is associated with research, development and academia in the UK, US, France and other parts of the world. It can also be applied to management techniques as a method for inspiring collaborative innovation.
The C-K theory is based on the distinction between two spaces:
- Concepts (C-space) - creative propositions with no pre-existing status in the K-space.
- Knowledge (K-space) - propositions based on logic, knowledge or experience that already exist.
 Engineering applications
C-K theory encourages professionals to explore new modelling directions while considering logic and mathematics. This is a departure from standard scientific approaches to design and when successful, results in innovation.
Consider this example from CK-Theory.org:
When designers imagine something new, they create new concepts – expanding the C-space while simultaneously activating new knowledge and expanding the K-space. These expansions are complementary: a new knowledge provokes the identification of new concepts and elaboration of new concepts results in the search process to acquire new knowledge.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Artificial intelligence and civil engineering.
- Concept design.
- Design methodology.
- Design theory.
- General design theory GDT.
- Innovation – the key differentiator.
- Shaping the Future of Construction: Inspiring innovators redefine the industry.
- Unprecedented Innovation and New Technologies on the Horizon.
 External references
- Pascal Le Masson, The C-K theory: a model for creativity, Paris Innovation Review, 28 April 2017.
Featured articles and news
Gaining green support from the carbon giants.
Medieval passageways with spiritual, transport and economic purposes.
Organisation receives accreditation from Investors in People.
Click the button to subscribe.
Communicating the right information at the right time.
Materials can take on different properties to control heat and glare.
Challenges in the construction sector and beyond.
Exploring brick and timber construction techniques.
On wheels or on platforms, micro dwellings are popping up everywhere.
Landlords must now comply with new repair regulations.
You can add articles and help improve knowledge in the construction industry.
Ayo Sokale explains the struggles of being neurodiverse.
Communities, heritage and architecture. Book review.
The voluntary sector continues to shape the debate.