In any creative process it is always difficult to know when you have what is needed to move into the next stage of thinking. Moving from research, the gathering of insights, into ideation, transforming those insights into action, is almost always a surprisingly difficult process. If you’re a little over-enthusiastic like myself, you’re likely to want to explore every insight and try to solve every possible challenge.
The real trick is identifying exactly what should move forward, and what can be left behind.
Good insights derail design process
As mentioned previously, the insights from good design research are usually extraordinarily simple in hindsight. But in the thick of things it can be almost impossible to summon up the courage to commit to such a simple observation, especially when you have reams of other data that you don’t want to go to waste.
For example, imagine you are doing an architecture project for community development in a specific habitat and have exhaustively researched all the biological models and that align with your functional design challenges. You are swamped with articles, spreadsheets and diagrams of incredible insights and opportunities. With your nose to the grindstone and a deadline looming, it is easy to be overwhelmed when generating ideas as you rush to pull every little element together into the utopian building that will foster the perfect community.
But do you really know what needs to be designed?
I love the quote below from Yves Behar, as it summarizes my whole conversation about what is required to create real change. When asked about what car companies needed to do in order to break free from their design stagnation he said:
“They need original design briefs and 21st-century business models.”
Note: he did not call for “improved design process”, or a specific tool like “life cycle analysis” or “biomimicry”. He asked for better briefs, and the freedom within business to challenge existing models that create revenue streams. In essence;
Better questions, and new value models.