What is Innovative Design?

What exactly is an innovative design? To answer this question, we have to ask ourselves: what does innovative design convey? The answer may be as simplistic as, “it looks great.” However, the more complex definition is: a creative technique that is not overstated, is inventive, and is built on a foundation.

I think the definition above describes what most of us call innovation. Inventive design is a hallmark of modern design. What is an innovative design, after all, if not beautiful to look at but functional? How could something that was aesthetically pleasing and functionally sounded be anything other than innovative design? It leaps forward in the design process… it pushes the boundaries of conventional thinking and opens up worlds of possibility.

When thinking about the definition of innovative design, we have to keep two things in mind. First, one innovative design needs to be original. Second, two innovative design needs to work in the context of the design process. So let’s take each of these separately:

Originality is so challenging to achieve that good design consultants try to limit it to the slightest degree possible. That way, they’re assured of repeat business. But, thinking about it, is there anything out there that we haven’t done already? It seems like every day; there’s a new or unique use for something we’ve done. So, what is innovative design if it isn’t cutting-edge and certainly doesn’t feel new?

Innovation in itself isn’t necessarily a good design thinking technique. For instance, if you put people on a couch and ask them to think about what they’d want to have for dinner, most likely, you wouldn’t get people coming up with blueprints for building the perfect steakhouse. Instead, you’d get creative ideas like incorporating a wood-burning stove into a kitchen, creating a seat with a wine rack where glasses would go or even using ceramic tile instead of tiles to create a mosaic backsplash. All of these are innovative design thinking techniques that you would not necessarily see happening in a restaurant.

This brings us to the second part of the original question: do I need to develop new ways of conceptualising my design thinking to make it “innovative”? Not really. The key to innovation is to think in new spaces, and this is why it’s essential to focus your attention on three spaces when you’re designing a new room. You can take what you’ve already done and improve it, but it has to be in the context of these three spaces. These three spaces are circulation space, retail space, and subject matter space.

Flow – This is the activity of moving through space in a well-organised and flowing way. Flow is most easily demonstrated by an open mind, as in “thinking in multiple frames.” In design thinking, flow is often shown by allowing your audience to “see the Significant picture” Permitting your viewers to observe the huge photograph will permit them to picture the effect of your own heads, permitting one to include the particulars to your own design believing.

Detail – This is about the minor details. It doesn’t require much more than a small amount of time to create something beautiful or valuable. The more detailed your plan, the better, because detail makes everything fall together to create a finished result. Design thinking that engages fact is what is called “innovative design.”

Subject matter – The subject matter of design thinking is applying your idea or concept in the real world. What can we do to improve our current economy? How can we make automobiles safer for children? What can we do to prevent water contamination? These are just a few examples of what subject matter might involve.

Some good design thinking questions to ask yourself: What do I love to do? What would I be able to do if I was rewarded for it? What would be my biggest motivator? Exactly what exactly do I have to understand before I start out? The answers to these questions are the framework of your innovation plan.

You must always think in the three spaces; subject matter, detail, and subject matter. Innovation takes time, and believing in those three spaces will allow you to explore multiple possibilities quickly. Design thinking is just a tiny part of the overall innovation process. Always think in the three spaces, and you will be able to develop many more innovative ideas.


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