The many design requirements and inputs must be filtered and
funneled to create a meaningful and usable set of requirements which provide adequate guidance to the designers. There is no single correct process for setting the requirements, and different approaches may be appropriate, depending on the circumstances. One type of proposed model of filtering is the “R&D Push,” and a second form is the “Big Bet.” Another proposed model is “innovative and focused,” which attempts to combine the first two. The process of setting requirements may well be the most crucial and difficult components of a design project, requiring the coordination of many different group or departments.
Importance of Prior Designs
Prior designs are relevant to the design process for several reasons. First, they provide information and highlight lessons learned. In addition, they provide useful shortcuts for designers, saving developing companies time and money. In short, previous designs supply a case history that indicates what has and hasn’t worked in the past. With current project metrics in mind, design engineers can then assess the relative value of previous design concepts. Senior personnel are integral to enumerating pluses and minuses of previous designs, so it’s important to ask them for input when possible (even if they’re not on your current team).
After assessing the value of previous designs, and projects, it’s time to make refinements. These alterations, small or large, can yield incremental improvements in product performance. As consumers, most of us personally witness these types of design improvements. The automobile industry is an example of incremental improvements bundled into model-year changes, when major redesigns occur.
Sometimes, the industry climate and competitive landscape mandates a bolder step. In those cases, the current design team should pursue an innovative approach. Blog 2 in our series will discuss the design innovation process—and the role of performance modeling in creating a high-quality, competitive product.
Glew Engineering has experince with many different product develompent processes, and can work along side your organization to help execute your design. The design may be CAD/CAM mechanical engineering, fiber optic components, or integrated circuits. Nonetheless, a development process should be followed.
 The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, Alan Cooper, Sams Publishing, 1999.
 Managing New Product and Process Development, Kim Clark and Steven Wheelwright, Harvard Business School, The Free Press, 1993, pp. 298-309.
 Ibid Clark pp. 731-732.