Adopting the Simulation Mindset in Design

One of the key activities in Design Thinking is doing design. Hence the irony that Design Thinking actually involves design doing. Not exactly in what designers do, but brainstorming solutions, prototyping them, learning and validating, iterating and improving. Rinse and repeat.

I like to use the analogy of simulating and experimenting during Chemistry lab to describe the Design activity in our workshops. For example the experiment of splitting “H” and “O” from H2O. I could never get my test tube with the Hydrogen to pop in my first go. I would need to try the process a few times before I get it right.

I found it therefore interesting when Ken Rosen explains (perhaps oversimplifying) how the differences of the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 could have been better determined through a simulation mindset.

Start a simulation mindset for major strategic decisions. Determine the minimum viable model you can use to represent your situation. Use that model to create a game, discussion, or workshop. Play.

That is Design Thinking at its best. Applied holistically to simulate scenarios of the hardest problems through the eyes of your stakeholders. Use a sketch, lego blocks, a game, full-size spatial mockups, anything that will give you a “quick and dirty” way to get real quick. With a little effort, you can learn so much about the wicked problems you are trying to solve.

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3D Printed Toy Car

Wouter Scheublin, in cooperation with the Dutch research institute TNO, designed this wonderfully minimal pull back car made through 3D printing.

Wouter leveraged on some of the strengths and advantages of the 3D printing process, in this case laser sintering, to design the car and the pull back mechanism all in one go,

Every part, including the gears, axles, wheels and pull back spring all come out from the printer as a complete assembly. The only assembly required is the 4 rubber bands tires and perhaps packaging.

I applaud Wouter’s amazing experimentation and sublime Industrial Design. This product really got me excited. However I was quite surprised to note that this car is on sale on his website at Euros €180, and obviously made to order.

I wonder if a designer is experimenting in such advanced manufacturing processes should he not also experiment with an advanced business model as well? Why not sell the 3D file at perhaps €10-20 and possibly make a whole lot more money, and at the same time save on shipping costs and effort?

With 3D Printing cafes exploding all around us, I think selling the 3D file of your design is the way of the future.

Via: Website

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