A design is basically a mathematical or physical description or the specifications for the construction of some thing or system, or even for the performance of an action or procedure, or the output of that description in the form of some physical model, product or machine. The word ‘design’ actually derives from the Greek word ‘designos’, which means ‘to shape’. So the literal meaning of the term is ‘having a shape’. The more common term is ‘modeling’, where the term is used to describe the accurate rendering of some physical model by a computer program or some other output obtained by scientific experimentation.
Designing and innovation are intimately connected. Designing is used to identify and specify the intended attributes of some object so that they can be utilised in a practical setting for realizing a new product, process or mechanism. Innovation, on the other hand, involves the use of design in one’s personal or professional life to achieve some useful end. Some important distinctions between the two include:
Design thinking methodology involves identifying design deficiencies in current products so as to suggest ways in which these can be corrected so that the object meets the needs and expectations of users in a desired way. These suggestions are then evaluated against the user feedback so that improvements can be made whenever necessary. Designers use a number of different techniques to create models, conduct user testing, accumulate user feedback, propose modifications and finally derive a rational model or representation of the end product in a way that satisfies the requirements of the end users. Designers are also involved in analyzing the design portfolio of competitors so as to identify any deviations from the accepted designs.