MediaLAB Amsterdam

Morphological chart

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A Morphological chart is a method that splits a product/solution into smaller chunks that can then be analyzed and ideated for independently. Afterwards those ideas can be mixed and matched to develop different solutions.

To be used after having a clear overview of the design problem and at the beginning of the ideation phase.



This method allows for a structured way to develop ideas systematically.



1. Define the design problem, this has to be de ned as clearly as possible.

2. Identify all the possible tasks and subtasks that are needed to tackle the design problem.

3. Write down all the tasks and subtasks within a matrix.

4. Go through all the different tasks/subtasks draw diagrams/sketches of ways that they could be solved. Draw as many ways to accomplish each of them as you can think of.

5. Generate design concepts by combining solutions from each row. Don’t only go for “safe” options, make weird combinations too!

6. Filter the ideas into the most promising ones (at least three).

7. Sketch/draw the top three solutions.


Try to have as many subtasks as needed, for example you might want to subdivide a notification into “surprise”, “inform”, “gain user’s attention”.


Concepts developed by using a systematic method.


Select the most interesting ideas to develop further.


Source: MediaLAB Amsterdam


HUANG, George Q.; MAK, Kai-Ling. Web-based morphological charts for concept design in collaborative product development. Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, 1999, 10.3-4: 267-278./

SMITH, Gregory, et al. Concept exploration through morphological charts: an experimental study. Journal of mechanical design, 2012, 134.5: 051004./

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