The idea execution process is all about a series of things done right. Or as we say in the design process - the AHA! moment. A moment of sudden realization, enlightenment or inspiration. Every time something clicks; an idea, a perfect design decision, a manufacturing breakthrough, and many more. Each light bulb moment takes your idea a step ahead towards its end goal. And each moment gives an adrenaline rush of creating something and seeing your idea grow. It's like the journey of a seed (idea) to becoming a plant (end product). These moments come out of the blue — almost like someone flicked a switch — bringing along a brilliant burst of unexpected clarity to the fuzziness that existed just a second ago.
Even though these light bulb moments come all of a sudden, they almost always are the outcome of a long process of idea generation also known as the design thinking process or the design process.
Empathize - The Origin
It often starts with observing a problem. Usually, something that you or someone you know has experienced first-hand. The awareness of the problem is in fact the starting point to work for a ‘solution’. The goal is to understand the problem scenario in its entirety. It is important to consult experts to know more about the areas of concern through observing, engaging and empathizing with people to understand their experiences and motivations. Empathy is crucial to Design Thinking, as it allows designers to set aside their own assumptions about the world in order to gain insight into users and their needs.
Define - Dig Deep
All the insights collected in the previous stage are narrowed down to define a specific problem statement. Observations are analyzed, and problem areas are kept in focus. The goal is to define the problem as a problem statement in a human-centred manner. Asking the right questions helps define a well-rounded problem statement. Questions that address the four W’s: Who, What, Where & Why.
Who is experiencing the problem?
What is the problem?
Where does the problem present itself?
Why does it matter?
Ideate - Get Creative
Once the problem is well defined, it’s time to generate solutions. To get creative and think out of the box. Get crazy with ideas and max out on all potential solutions. No idea is bad during this process, in fact, the crazier the better. It is important to look for alternative ways of viewing the problem. The goal is to get as many ideas or problem solutions as possible at the beginning of the Ideation phase so they can be narrowed down to a select few that are most relevant to solve the problem. The phase must end with a list of possible design solutions that can be further developed into a final product.
Prototype - Make it Tangible
It’s time to get hands-on. Make, break, and start giving your solutions a tangible form. Whether the product is physical or digital, a prototype is the first version of your solution that can be put to test with potential users. A number of inexpensive scaled-down versions of the product are produced. This is an experimental phase, and the aim is to identify the best possible solution for each of the problems identified during the first three stages. This stage results in a real size working model that can be tested in real-time with real users to get feedback.
Test – Time to Evaluate
With a prototype ready, it’s time to find out if your design solution actually solves the problem. Often undertaken concurrently with Prototyping, the testing process provides many learning opportunities to examine and refine the prototype or even the problem statement. This is your chance to get the product out into the world, test it in real life, and in real-time.
Non-linear in nature – Back & forth till you get it right
Even though the design process can seem quite direct and linear with each stage leading on to the next; however in practice; the journey of an idea to the final product is never streamlined in one direction. In fact, it is carried out in quite a flexible and no-linear manner. Often during the prototyping and stages depending on the insights one might need to revisit the problem statement entirely or come up with newer ideas hence going back to the ideation phase. Different groups within the design team may conduct more than one stage concurrently. Designers may collect information and prototype during the entire project enabling them to bring their ideas to life and visualize the problem solutions. Additionally, results from the testing phase may reveal some insights about users, which in turn may lead to another brainstorming session (Ideate) or the development of new prototypes (Prototype).
Make the solution reach the masses
What happens once you have a prototype ready? Well, that is when the magic happens. A design solution isn’t effective until it reaches the masses or the target consumer. The product needs to be manufactured at scale in order for maximum usability. This is when entrepreneurship comes into play. A novel design idea/breakthrough requires a business setup and mindset for it to be adopted by the general audience. Activities such as incorporation, marketing, funding, fabrication, inventory, supply chain, etc. also need to be considered carefully. The true eureka moment is a compilation of all these things done successfully in a particular order. Be it a startup or an existing business launching a new product, the process remains unchanged.
Design in India to Make in India
India can be competitive if we sharpen our design skills. What is needed is to build an ability to visualize the big picture, work with the local market to develop local solutions, and adopt a more disciplined approach to problem-solving, instead of resorting to improvisation or quick fixes (jugaad). It starts with developing a system’s view. Design thinking allows for empathy-driven, prototype-based, iterative methods of getting from problems to solutions and this is the need of the hour. With ‘Make-in-India’ as the call for action, it is crucial that the process-based production line takes over the ever-prevalent ‘Juggad’ mindset to make Indian Designs globally accepted. For an aspiring designer/creator who is familiar with basic production techniques and already knows how to make the first prototype; the Indian manufacturing setup makes it impossible for them to find a one-point resource ecosystem for the production of a design idea through rapid prototyping and testing processes.
Build your ideas at our Co-design Space
CollabTherapy is a Co-design space & resource ecosystem for designers to assist them in the execution of ideas through the design process. Consider our space like your walk-in design studio equipped with facilities; to help you take your designs from sketch to prototype and further. A one-stop idea-to-execution ecosystem, Collab Therapy brings you all resources at single-point access, to Design, Develop, Prototype, Test, Fabricate and Seed your ideas!
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