1. Identify the Problem The first thing a good designer does is identify the need, problem, or opportunity. This is the first stage in the design loop. This appears to be a simple task but it requires careful observation and a critical eye. Taking the time to find the root problem is extremely important so that the ultimate solution works.
2. Define or “refine” the Problem The second stage involves defining the problem to be solved. This involves an investigation to find out more information about the problem. A team effort may be required. Clarification begins with a design brief which then guides further development by describing the limitations and requirements for the project’s solution
3. Gather Information The third activity involves research and investigation on the problem and the potential solutions. (Internet or other research – don’t reinvent the wheel)
4. Develop Alternate Solutions This is the divergent thinking step – brainstorming and other techniques may be utilized. No possible solutions should be ignored. The more ideas generated give a greater probability of success. The first idea is rarely the best.
5. Select & Refine the Best Solution The Design Proposal Now it is time to select the best solution for further development. An evaluation process stemming form the design brief may be utilized as with any decision process. Documentation should occur.
6. Express the Design Solution There are many ways to express a concept. Two of the most common are verbal expression or text. Another method which is used when words are inadequate is mathematics or an expression continued
6. Express the Design Solution Often however, a proposed solution has shape and is three dimensional, and someone on the team must understand it well enough to make a model or a prototype on the concept Almost every invention begins “life’ as a sketch on a back of a napkin or envelope
7. Build a Model or Prototype of the Solution This is the modeling or construction part of the process. This part may contain the most technological problems. Experimentation with materials and techniques will need to be done before actual construction of the final model can be done. Technical planning happens at this stage, which could take the form of a prototype, two-or three dimensional model, or other clarification.
8. Evaluate, Revise, and Refine the Solution At this step, analyze the solution in terms of effectiveness in solving the original need or problem. This may be as simple as applying the specifications to the end product to see if it does all that it is suppose to do, but more often it involves performance testing.
9. Communicate the Solution Ideas need to be “sold” at this stage to clients or management. The presentation may include the prototypes, models, or other forms. The designer must know the design and subject matter related to the solution in order to effectively communicate the features. A designer, after completing the design process, can see how well he or she has accomplished the goals and whether more development work in necessary.
Steps of the Engineering Design Process 1. Identify the problem 2. Define or “refine” the problem 3. Gather information 4. Develop alternate solutions 5. Select and refine the best solution 6. Express the design solution 7. Build a model or prototype 8. Evaluate, revise, and refine 9. Communicate the solution