DO THIS TO INVENT EFFICIENTLY... The Design Process

Inventing is simple... Well, it SHOULD be! 
It may not be as simple as the quote from Robots 'See a need, fill a need', but it can be very easy to invent efficiently!



One big problem with potential inventors that I have found (including in myself), is that they will get an idea to 'fill a need', and will start developing it. After some development, they will start to get frustrated with their progress and frustrated at not knowing what to do next, that they will will leave their design until later. 

This doesn't have to happen.

If you follow The Design Process, you can make sure that you know exactly what to do next, and you will be much more likely to take your design all the way through to completion.

What is The Design Process? 5 Simple Steps.

1. Understand
Understand is the stage where you take time to understand the problem itself. Why is it a problem? What is the problem? Ask as many questions as you can to try to understand the problem itself, so that you know exactly what you will be aiming for in the end. Also, try to be as inquisitive during this stage as possible - be curious, ask questions, be enthusiastic... This will make it much more likely to get better quality information from whoever it is that you are filling a need for!
Understanding the problem is massive. For instance, if you just narrowed the problem down to creating a mode of transport... You could design a bicycle. But if you ask more questions and discover you need a mode of transport to get you to the moon... You would design a rocket. Very different!

2. Translate
To translate what you have understood is to ask why the why? What is actually required to be achieved from this project, and what are the expected outcomes (be general!). Here you can cut out anything that is not really required, to make sure that your design is exactly as required - no more, no less.

3. Synthesize
Here is where you generate ideas! Use whatever ideation method you like, to generate as many ideas as possible that may fill this translated need - brainstorm and think! You will ideally think of a whole bunch of ideas, then start to cut them down and eliminate the impossible, improbable, and infeasible. Try to narrow your ideas down to just a few, so that you can present these ideas to whoever you are creating the design for - less (but better quality) means an easier choice.
If you can get this down to a single idea, that is the optimum solution, since then you only need to continue with one task - rather than completing three ideas in parallel!

4. Prototype
Creating a prototype is a hand made embodiment of the synthesized idea. Here is something that represents and idea, and tests a question to get an answer. It is best practice to design your prototype to answer a yes / no question, and you can follow this up with a 'why?'. For instance, you may create a prototype of a new model of a phone to test whether the button placement is comfortable (yes or no), then you can ask why! The purpose of answering questions is to make sure that the final design you create and test has as few bugs as possible, and works in the most optimum way.
For more info on prototyping, see my article on it, or check out the video below!

5. Test
Your prototypes have successfully given you plenty of data and you have taken this data on to the point where you can now create your final design - now you need to TEST it. Your test should be on a model of the design that is as close to the final product as possible. It is ideal if you can test on an ACTUAL final product that uses the correct manufacturing methods, since your tests will then be able to emulate real world usage! You can test anything here, but common tests include usability, safety, and durability.
For example, at the Dyson test facility in the U.K., they test all their vacuum cleaners extensively for durability (I went for a job there as a Robotics Test Engineer!). They batter the vacuums with whatever they can find, including hitting them with things, and running them into walls over and over again, to find out exactly how much it takes to break one. Be that thorough if you can!

Completion
Once your design has passed all the tests, and it comes out strongly - you can take your design to completion! This can be selling the design, or giving it out, or simply looking at it... Whatever you want. Here is where you would need Intellectual Property protection - check out my article on Intellectual Property for more information on this.

Well done, get out there and invent, innovate, and design. Invent your world!



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