When it comes to creating the right design for a problem you want to solve, you may be a seasoned expert or you may be trying your hand at it for the first time. Whatever the case, if you want your design to be a success, you need to go through some critical steps to make that happen. Read on to learn how you can lead your company to a design triumph.
Ask the Right Questions
Every design starts out with the same goal: To solve a problem. This may seem oversimplified, but it’s important to start with the basics for every design project. So when you notice a need that has no solution, ask yourself what the problem is, and boil it down to the most basic issue.
For instance, let’s say you are really interested in and own a lot of custom footwear, and you have noticed there is a gap in the market for shoes that accommodate orthopedic devices, like a brace or a wrap. You understand that there is likely a high need for these types of shoes, and you decide to try your hand at a design that would meet this need.
Ask yourself what the goal is for these shoes. Your initial plan is to design a shoe that will have enough space for an orthopedic device, but you have to define what that means. Should the shoe be wider? Should the laces be changed? Will the level of arch support be a factor in the design? Use these questions to determine the most basic part of your goal, and begin your design with that goal in mind. It may seem like your goal is far too broad at first, but you will add details throughout the design process.
Since you have already realized how important it is to ask the right questions, don’t stop once you have the basics covered. You need to determine exactly what type of solution would work best for this need, which means finding out more about the problem. For instance, in the specialized footwear example, you may begin by asking a local therapy about which types of orthopedic devices are most commonly worn, and what age group has the largest need for these shoes. You might also do some research to familiarize yourself with different orthopedic devices so you can understand their purpose and how they help the wearer. Take some time to look up what solutions have already been tried to solve the problem, and find out why they didn’t work. All of this research will give you a tremendous advantage when you are designing your solution to this problem.
Do a Test Run
Once you have answered all of your questions and taken time to consider further details, you can start designing your solution. Keep in mind that the first run may not look very polished – and it isn’t supposed to. But it will be hard for you – and others – to understand your plan if you don’t have an example or some concrete ideas to show them.
The first step can be something as simple as a drawing of what you envision for your design. Include measurements, proposed materials, and any other relevant details on your drawing to give your team a better sense of what your design will look like. This may be something you produce yourself, or it may be something you prefer to outsource to a trusted partner. Either way, be sure your design looks professional and complete to give an accurate depiction of the final product.
After you have committed your design to paper, construct an actual product to see how well your solution will work for the problem. You may have to invest in materials to accomplish this task, but it will be worth the effort to give your team the best representation of your product. Engineering a working model of your design will also be beneficial to you as the designer, as it will allow you to understand which obstacles will be the most difficult to overcome and show you how to more practically meet the needs of your client.
Once the model of your product is complete, you should meet with your team to get feedback on your design. Your team members will be able to give you ideas for making your product both more efficient and more practical. Give their thoughts plenty of deliberation; the product is your design, but having a fresh pair of eyes (or several) take a look at your ideas may reveal questions or complications you had not previously considered.
With your design on paper, a working model, and the feedback from your team, you are ready to present your product to potential investors and clients. Now is your chance to show them why you think your idea is the best solution and to answer any of their questions. Once everyone is on board, you can begin making your design a reality for your client.
We’re always here to help – if you are not sure where to go next in your design process, give us a call at 317-550-4006 to see how our team can guide you through your great idea.