While the research and development model has many

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While the research and development model has many uses, I believe the analyze-define-synthesize model is more useful for designers. Koberg again expands the model, replacing synthesis with idea generation, idea selection and implementation. Koberg's final refine- ment is to add a step at the beginning, accepting the assignment, and a step at the end, evaluating the result. Koberg wisely points out the limitations of viewing this as a linear process. He suggests alternative models that introduce feedback. A loop shows a simple feed- back model. A cascade provides a more complex feedback model. Koberg goes on to suggest that ...no stage ever really stops but unlike the [models], each stage is always ?in process' ...the pro- cess never ends. When I was a freshman at the University of Colorado, Cal Briggs taught me a very formal version of this process. Mr. Briggs's process involved preparing an elaborate written document. At the time, I found the process rigid and boring. I simply wanted to design by drawing, and this old guy kept us talking and talking and never let usdraw anything. After two semesters I foolishly left Mr.
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Briggs's tutelage and moved on to other schools. Although I could run, I couldn't hide. Fifteen years later, I was trying to explain the problem- solving process to a class of my own when a student, Matt Williams, observed that the problem-solving process is similar to the scientific method. In high school Matt had learned an excellent mnemonic device for the scientific method. I believe Matt's actual words were, Hey, all you're trying to do is teach us THEOC. THEOC is an acronym for Theory, Hypothesis, Experiment, Observation and Conclusion. Matt had a keen insight. A designer follows a process very much like that of a scientist. Both require experience, rationality and intuition. In a way, the scientific method is simply rigorous common sense. It's the kind of process any good detective follows. I would like to point out two other, similar processes. First the quality management process made popular by Japanese corporations, Walter Demming and legions of consultants. The consultant who nabbed me called it the PDCA process. The PDCA process is nothing more or less than design problem solving. Consultants make a lot of money selling this innovation to business managers. Perhaps this is a business opportunity for designers. A second similar process is the sales process. I had always assumed sales success was essentially a function of personality until Dennis Capovilla, who manages a strategic marketing group at Apple, recently set me straight. Dennis spent several years as a salesman and then as a sales manager. He now teaches a sales management class in the business school at Santa Clara University. Early in the term Dennis buys a new consumer product, say a stereo, and brings it to his class. He describes the pro- duct's features to his students and then asks each student to try to sell him the product.
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