Technological Change: Confronting a Fuzzier Front End

University of New South Wales
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
ConnectED: International Conference on Design Education at Sydney, 2010, pp. 1 - 8
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In this paper we suggest strategies and techniques for attaining sustained innovation via the suspension of developing concrete embodiments in favour of maintaining more abstract conceptualisation in early phases of the design process. Introducing these strategies to our design students as part of their education serves to prepare them for a technologically turbulent future. The early phases of the design process, which relate to conceptualisation, set the direction for the development of the embodiment phases of product design. As product designers we work in turbulent times. Technological change and innovation is increasing at an almost exponential rate of change. As the pace of technical innovations utilised within the new products we design advances, so does our need to develop our understanding of thinking strategies that enable us to develop new design concepts. Many strategies for the creative development of new products exist, however these tend to relate to âreverse engineeringâ and addressing creative embodiment issues. Additionally, they rely on detailing specifications of the problem and focusing on the detailed embodiment issues early in the design process. However, some studies suggest separating ideas from the detailed embodiment of ideas enhances our opportunities for the development of creative ideas. This suggests some creative strategies are more suited to the early phases of the design process, and some creative strategies are more suited to assisting in creative embodiments. The central theme of this paper relates to the notion that learning to forestall creative embodiments, separating Creative ideas from the Creative embodiment of ideas at the Fuzzy Front End of the New Product Design process, enhances opportunities for creating truly innovative products.
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