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The problems facing the economy and its productivity level and rate of change have many sources. One is related to engineering problem solving and design. Traditional and modern ways of handling engineering design problems are compared, and key issues that systems methodology and design (SMD) should address are developed. A review of several traditional sciences and disciplines (e.g., psychology, mathematics, philosophy) shows that SMD can be enhanced and extended to help improve the results obtained. A merger of different disciplines and pragmatic action-oriented perspectives of real-world concerns leads to the benefits of SMD: increase the probability of working on the right problem, provide a holistic view, identify the iterative process of design, treat each problem and recommendation as unique, improve significantly the likelihood of implementation, and define a solution as a flexible continually changing set of system specifications. Recommendations for increasing engineering success with SMD include changing design education for undergraduates to an SMD basis, relating management and engineering concepts, supporting increased funding for research, and getting the engineering societies to promote SMD while maintain an active scholarly and research perspective so that SMD itself continually improves.