An Approach to Design

Background Thoughts:

Design is problem solving, innovation, and solution creation. It is the fitting together of objects (real, imagined, tangible, intangible …) of a designers reality so that a purpose is identified or a utility demonstrated/identifiable. Thus it implies, perceptively, the creation or existence of some purpose, order, objective, or end point.

Purpose might also be a result of design as well as being the motive for design. ‘Order out of chaos’ is a manifestation of implicit design, from a local view, and explicit design, from a global view. That we do not perceive the design in an entity doesn’t mean it wasn’t designed.

A Design Approach (ROC2 or ROCC):

Randomize—bounded to purpose, objective, keyword(s) etc
Order finding/generation
Channelling towards objective, purpose, or end point
Completion to specification/acceptability/certification/realization

An Application:

Coming up with this design approach.
Begin with a word (random in this case) that epitomizes (sums up) how I start some posts. We start with ‘random’ thought or idea and then put some flesh around it. From there it becomes, enough times, an exercise in editing and rewriting. This experience resulted in the evolution of the other key words, Order, Channelling, and Completion, of the design approachapproach.
Thus the Order(ing), and the core of the piece was completed.

It whole seemed incomplete without some background or introduction, so the ‘Background’ part was added. Likewise, to improve appreciation and applicability, the ‘Notes’ and ‘An Example’ sections were added. Examples of ‘Channelling’ activities.

To ‘Complete’ the piece, I reread it and modified/changed words and phrases, added some extra information, and then told myself, “it’s time to stop; great try, well done!” You would have guessed that, I had been ‘Completing’ the piece almost from the start, and that the previous statement was describing a final completion.


The approach codified above attempts to enunciate and enumerate what people actually do when they are designing.

Because design is an act of innovation and creation, it is useful to have steps in a design approach that specify and facilitate explorations that might lead to innovation. This is the main reason for the first phase of the above approach, ‘Randomize’ which essentially is random exploration within reasonably generous bounds.

Randomize may include exploring the problem space, its nature and characteristics, and testing its borders and limits. It involves exploring the purpose space, testing its scope and limits, and identifying, without question, possible elements (perspectives, entities, combinations, directions) that may be involved in fulfilling the purpose.

Ordering involves evolving a solution space (of solutions) and themes  from the output of the Randomize phase. Here, design challenges and themes take shape. One may choose the reasonable and/or perhaps something of the radical to work on in the next phase—if resources permit.

Channelling may include adding other elements of the designers’ reality to the candidate solution(s) from the Order phase in order to facilitate the achievement of the end point. The output is built, with any constituting elements achieving their final (or near final) form and function; the design theme is crystallized. Channelling and testing go together in a cyclical relationship, with an exit point on a ‘final’ test.

Completion may involve packaging and presentation, formal certification, some required handover etc.

A viability test may be applied to all the phases except the Randomize phase. And a realizability test, if considered important, may be applied from the Channelling phase and on. That it is a design solution means it is viable—not necessarily realizable in the now, or ever. Viable refers to feasibility were all components and connections realizable.

Notice that, in the example case, the design problem and hence, solution, evolved over time. ROC2 (or ROCC) has an evolutionary character in the sense of star/galaxy formation.

Each of the four phases seemed to have needed some sort of final completion so that results were achieved in finite time. That said, the situation may permit flowing from one phase to another, and cycling round consecutive phases.

Incomplete thoughts …