The Design of Design

I have been thinking a lot lately about the process of design.

This encouraged me to pick up and read “The Design of Design”. It is a series of essays written by the author of the “Mythical Man Month.” Although not likely to have the impact of that book (unfortunately) “The Design of Design” has been inspiring.

Interesting fact, the “Waterfall” methodology was originally documented as a straw man to show what ~would not~ work as a design process. He documented it to show the holes in such a deterministic process. So the “father” of the waterfall methods first act was to disown it. Software development would be a more enjoyable industry if more people understood that.

The Design of Design takes a very wide view, trying to encompass all of design and the processes around it.

My thinking has actually been much more specific and limited. I have been focused on how to enable “non-designers” a way to create personally significant and well designed output. I think this just inherently fascinating but also going to grow in importance in the coming years.

As the methods of production get more and more flexible consumers will want to personalize products of all kinds. They will expect and demand it. Today’s “monograming” will not be enough. The software to bring the consumer into the process will be a huge competitive advantage.

Apples secret has nothing to do with hardware and everything to do with seeing “interface” in total. Their software and specifically their UIs are the key to the eco-system. The UI makes the ecosystem and the ecosystem leads to their profitable hardware sales and high margins.

The companies that provide easy to use customization software to consumers which is flexible, but still ensures good unique output, will own huge portions of the consumer economy of the future.

I plan to conceptually explore this over the next few blog entries as I can’t find any writing on the subject. Let’s see where this takes us.

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