Sunday, March 1, 2009

The design process

The design process is my favorite tool for problem solving. Lines 1 to 5 in the following exhibit describe different approaches to map this process:
The design process - Click on the image to enlarge

  1. The Universal Traveler. Koberg, D. and Bagnall, J. Thomson Crisp Learning, 2003
  2. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory as explained in the New Product Development course - Haas MBA 290N-2
  3. IDEO Product Development. Harvard Business School case study, April 2007
  4. SY Partners approach to innovation
  5. Design Thinking. Tim Brown. Harvard Business Review, June 2008
The first phase, in red in the previous exhibit, consists in looking around you, and inside you too, to understand the problem. The second phase, in orange, is about coming up with alternatives and selecting the one that would be applied in the third phase, implementation, in green.
What I like about the Universal Traveler's approach is that it explicitly adds the problem definition at the end of the observation stage and singles out evaluation at the end of the process.

Two considerations. The process is iterative in each phase and as a whole:
  • In each phase because problems are complex and dynamic and there always room for us to do more research, come up with new ideas, etc.
  • As a whole because after evaluation -feedback- the process should start all over again.
Other related approaches are John Boyd's OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) or the Agile software development methodology. I find interesting similarities in Steve Blank's Customer Development philosophy, or should I say religion after reading his book The Four Steps to the Ephipany? Yes, I am a believer.

1 comment:

Santiago said...

A follow up on other rendition of the design process: the Sloan Center for Internet Retailing has a model called LEAD (listen, experiment, apply, develop)