The design emerges from the development of multiple options to identify an ideal but doable system. Three versions of the design are developed in this phase including an ideal conceptual design, a doable conceptual design, and a detailed design. Using the information and concepts from the first eight steps as a springboard, the design team develops an ideal conceptual design.
Ideal Conceptual Design
During this first step, participants stretch their thinking to develop a vision of how the organization system being designed could work in an ideal world. In this case, an ideal world is defined as one with unlimited resources and technology as well as the desired ideal culture. This might at first seem like a wasted step. You might be thinking, why not just go directly to a doable design?
Experience suggests that if the participants first develop an ideal design with few constraints and then a doable design with constraints, they will end up with a better design than if they go directly to the doable design. When attempting to redesign a system or process, participants are often prisoners of their previous experiences and learning. Participants that attempt to go directly from the current design to the desirable but doable design, often fall well short of what is actually possible. The challenge is to stretch the team’s thinking to develop a vision of how the organization could be in an ideal world.
Doable Conceptual Design
Once the participants have developed the ideal conceptual design, it is time to identify the constraints to achieving that design. Participants review the ideal design and identify the challenges and obstacles to developing and deploying the ideal design. Once the obstacles and challenges are identified, the participants use creativity exercises and techniques to develop solutions to overcome the constraints. Using the creative solutions identified for the constraints, the participants refine the ideal design to create a doable conceptual design. The challenge here is to go beyond choosing from a menu of existing design options and instead develop new and innovative ways to accomplish the purpose and requirements for the particular system. Sometimes constraints are tied directly to the design decisions that were made in the previous step. Consequently, we often have to go back and change the original ideal design and go a different direction. If the team can’t figure out how to overcome or get rid of a constraint, they may have to make some compromises but that is usually a last resort. Once the doable conceptual design is complete, the team move on to develop the details.
There are many ways to develop a detailed design. After identifying the various options from the example systems and processes, the design team then mixes and matches the individual components to create a new combination. Once the components are chosen, they are creatively adapted to the specific situation and system. Then the doable design informs the hard work of developing a detailed design that is then tested, refined, and deployed (implemented).
The last phase of a [re]design project is the full-scale development of the detailed design, the deployment of the new system, and the continuous improvement of the new system.
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