I first learned about parallel design several years ago when I read "Shortening the Human-Computer Interface Design Cycle: A Parallel Design Process Based on the Genetic Algorithm," by John McGrew of Decision Process Consulting. By that time, I had been involved with a couple of products that used genetic algorithms for optimization, so I was intrigued by the concept of leveraging a similar approach in user interface design.
Genetic algorithms essentially mimic evolutionary biology to find optimal solutions. Initially, they select a population of solutions based on some evaluation criteria, then use some subset of that population - the fittest members - as breeding stock for the subsequent generation of solutions. This process continues for multiple generations, each getting closer to an optimal solution.
The article describes my experience with parallel design and discusses how to make parallel design more collaborative.
Read the article here.