Design Process

How do I design
Design is ultimately a decision making process, one well suited to making decisions in contexts where there are an infinite number of possibilities and no "right" answer. In addition to frameworks that support this decision making, there is also an important component of intuition, trained over time by experience.
My Approach
I believe the first step to every design project is designing the process. I look to be flexible and exploratory in my approach, always looking to deploy a process and methods best suited for the problem context.

This means no two projects are identical, and frameworks, processes, and techniques all evolve to get the best outcomes in any given circumstance. I love playing with new techniques and tools, and love working with other teams to discover the design approach that will work best for their needs and context.
I tend to think of the overall design process in the map above. There are three main phases: research, design, and implementation. The processes starts with questions or problems, with research leading to insights, then design to proposed solutions, and then finishes with implemented solutions. The height of the three phases represent the divergent thinking at the start of each phase, and the convergent thinking towards the end, with the amount of divergence diminishing as we move from research to implementation. I also render multiple paths within each phase to try and show the various directions explored and complicated nature of each phase.
Three Phases
Neeley 2008
Inspiration UK Design Council "Double Diamond"
Another idea that I find useful to layer on the design process is the consideration of the spectrums of current state to future state (x-axis), and concrete to abstract (y-axis), the above inspired by the Analysis-Synthesis Bridge Model (Dubberly, Evenson, & Robinson). We generally start with concrete information about the current state (lower left quadrant), and with this data about how the world is we synthesize an abstracted model of the current state (upper left quadrant). We then design an abstrated vision of the future state (upper right quadrant) and then work make real that vision of the future (lower right quadrant).
Current / Future _ Abstract / Concrete
Neeley 2011
Inspiration Dubberly, Evenson, & Robinson