The complexity of design problems requires a structured approach to the concept generation process.
- Isolate those details that matter most, have the most potential for innovation, and meeting customer needs.
- Deconstruct functions to resolve at a finer level of detail
- Generate concept elements/components for each function (in columns)
A systematic approach to combine element level components, and generate integrated concepts and design solutions (for each function)
- Prepare a Concept Combination Table (morphology box or chart), organized by a set of functions with associated elements/components.
- Consider which elements might work together; draft combinations, each combination may lead to a different design path and create a new potential solution.
- Work out an integrated design concept for each feasible combination (sketch, prototype, descriptive narrative, etc.)
Resulting in a more complete/robust/integrated than originally envisioned by simply brainstorming about functionality and process.
- The process seems to naturally foster thinking just-around-the-corner, ideas and thoughts that might not have come up in a simple linear brainstorming or checklist exercise.
- Combine requirements and discover an integrated solution meeting both needs
- As the exercise of crafting prototypes to each solution-pair, other scenarios emerge with rich detail, with different thinking develop.
- Visualize customer/client/user interaction and environment in more vivid detail
- Allows thinking about how individual components of system might actually work or the behavior required
- Tends to lead the designer/group to think about additional needs or techniques because a new mental model is described that can be evaluated by multiple people
- Suggest linkages to entities we might not have been apparent at the first level of simulation; a systems thinking approach.
- New unique use cases emerge, because the obvious did not get attention at the beginning, yet could be very significant especially when dealing with human behavior
- The ability to uncover unexpected pairings of features; can lead to the creation of new concepts that may not have otherwise been considered by the designer or team.
- This type of pairing created in a combination table, when explored in a descriptive exercise leads to greater granularity in thinking about how solution concepts may provide greater value when viewed in a holistic context.