Sometimes, clients do not know what they want. Many times they have a rough idea of the problems they are trying to solve and they want your project to work, but even rough ideas are not enough. Other times, they may not really know what they want, it's just that they will "know when they see it."
DDS is, your clients hire you to solve one problem or the other. If they do not have clarity about what they want the end result to look like, it could be because they do not have clarity about what they are trying to solve. If that happens, then maybe you should start your process a step back and find the exact problem. Maybe it would be better to find problems your clients are facing clients.
One of the design company, Continuum, has been doing it for decades and it led to innovations such as the Reebok Pump and Swiffer mop. They call it "began Phase Zero."
"Phase Zero is actually backwards from what we were asked to design and understand really what is the context of our product are asked to innovate. Stage Zero concept grew into our strategy work, which is now a fundamental part of our business," said founder Gianfranco Continuum Zaccai. "The idea is that the design and innovation that we are doing is actually a continuum that involves multiple disciplines collaborate together and utilize in-depth knowledge that our clients may have the extensive knowledge that we will bring to the party."
Maybe you should start your process a step back and find the exact problem.
In 1988, Continuum approached by Reebok to design a response to the new technology Nike Air, the material is integrated in the heel of the shoe to capture and re-energize an athlete. Nike innovation (and the name of Michael Jordan) has catapulted them to success and they soon surpassed Reebok as the leading manufacturer of footwear in the United States.
After some initial research, Continuum conclude that it is not possible to make meaningful "energy return" system like what Nike has claimed. Beyond that, it would not be enough for Reebok to design a similar system. In order to influence the market, Reebok will need to create something entirely new. To conduct the study, they observed a high school basketball team in action to identify their needs. They found that children who grow rapidly with shoes that are too tight or too loose, affecting their performance on the field, and frustrated parents who can not keep buying new shoes for the growth of their children every few months. At the same time, the famed Boston Celtics player was sitting most of the season with an ankle injury.
"We thought: what if we could provide a very lightweight way to stabilize the ankle which allows you to play basketball closer to full capacity-and at the same time provide a custom fit for the kids in the corner as the NBA players have when they have shoes they are custom-made for them, "Zaccai recalls.The Continuum team realized that as inflatable air bags around the ankle shoes can help prevent injuries occur without adding significant weight to the shoe. Continuum also aware that inflating the shoe for the right pressure will be an individual choice, and that a convenient way to do that would be to integrate it into their own shoes rather than designing a separate device. Continuum engineers were able to develop this idea into an integrated component that can be inserted into the shoe during manufacturing: Reebok Pump was born.
The Tale of The Swiffer
In the case of Proctor & Gamble Swiffer revolutionary, P & G first approached Continuum to create a new business around cleaning the house, which may include new cleaning tool. After extensive research into the way people clean the floor in real life situations, Continuum realize that many people spend a lot of time cleaning their mops as they clean their floors. From that observation, the team realized they needed to develop a product that will speed up the cleaning process. They call it a "fast clean," although the final product may be named "fast clean" would have better.Continuum has created new problems, how to provide better cleaning tool then mop with a little time spent cleaning. The team used this knowledge to design a new cleaning tool: basically a wet towel on a stick that can be discarded after it was filthy.
The best way to get started with Phase Zero is to interact with your client the client, the end user of your design project. How they interact with products currently on the market? Challenge what they have to offer today?
The best way to get started with Phase Zero is to interact with your client the client, the end user of your design project.
The Reebok Pump was born of watching high school kids, which is a major problem not jump a few inches higher, it is the ease of injuries caused by shoes that do not fit them. Maybe you need to find out what the "make-shift" solutions they have developed to overcome those challenges. The Swiffer mop, "fast clean" approach designer started when one sees a woman using a wet paper towel to clean up small spills.
The second innovation is a game-changer in their markets, but not exactly what the client has asked for. In both cases, the Continuum success comes from their ability to observe the client for the client to sign a real problem that needs solving. You do not need to be an industrial design firm Continuum like to make game-changing new projects. You just need to make sure that you are working on the right problem. If you encounter problems blurred, take a step back to Phase Zero and gather some insight into your client's clients.