If you could design anything....

If you could design anything, as long as it does not exist right now, where would you start? What would you do?

Me, Im going about it by choosing a market to target first, then looking within that to find problems which need solutions. But it isnt as easy as it sounds. I keep throwing out alot of ideas because i am not satisfied, so any help would be nice!

Ok so lets hear your ideas?

where were you? what target did you choose? maybe can start with that…

I think one thing that might be bringing up road blocks is that you mentioned “as long as it does not exist right now”… why does it not have to exist? many times the great products are taking products that do exist and finding better solutions for them. Maybe there is not a need to re-invent the wheel.



After spending 3 days in the post partum ward of the local hospital, I would give my right arm to redesign the whole post-partum experience. BC Women’s Hospital is one of the best Hospitals in Canada if not the world and it is drastically needing another look.

Everything from the colors of the environment to the comfort of the patients and visitors. Talking to the nurses (you do a lot of that at 2 AM walking around trying to soothe your newborn), there are significant flaws in the system on their side of the counter as well.

I took some photos and am planning to blog about the experience and hopefully get into a few of my suggestion. If I remember, I will let you know

If I had a choice of designing anything I would want to design something that changes the direction of humanity. Sounds pretty ambitious huh?

Let me explain. Most of my professional career has been spent designing “stuff” that people use and then discard - “landfill fodder” as I’ve heard it called. Some of it has been functional and some has been decorative. In either case it didn’t alter the user’s life very much.

Now if I could have a eureka moment and develop a low cost water filtration system that could be used in third world countries - that would be much more fulfilling than my other designs. Maybe even a low cost / rapid deployment housing system for natural disaster victims. Or a heating system for refugee camps. These are all things that could really impact lives.

I think I could go to my grave having felt like I accomplished something if given the opportunity to design a “significant” product.

These are the types of semi-non-profit products that are perfect for an “open-design” project within the design community.


To paraphrase, you’re asking for sources and methods of innovation.

The Inventors method:

You need some structure and goals. You’ve already got one: products or services that don’t exist. That’s a bit too broad, so your next step should involve some sort of segmentation. Try mind-mapping all of the different categories of products and services as well as the high level goals that each addresses. (It sounds like you’ve done this.)

From here, there are a lot of different brainstorming techniques, but my favorite is the “stimulus response method” in Doug Hall’s excellent book “Jump Start Your Brain.” The second half of the book is nothing but a bunch of stimulus exercises.

One of my favorites is called “666” and involves using three dice and three 6-item lists. You simply roll the dice and force associations (some Innovators call this “crashing.”) I modify Doug’s method slightly by using the SET factors documented in “Creating Breakthrough Products.” SET stands for Societal, Economic and Technological trends. If you “crash” 2 or more SET factors together, you’ll be surprised by the number of concepts you can generate.

The goal is to create a LOT of concepts, so the next step is to categorize and rate or filter. It’s important that this is considered a separate step–NEVER filter your ideas while you’re creating them! This might also be a good time to Affinity map your concepts.

The Designers Method:

Find something that exists and make it more Useful, Usable and/or Desireable.

Find some people that have unmet needs, and meet them.

Apply Inventors methods.


“Now if I could have a eureka moment and develop a low cost water filtration system that could be used in third world countries”

Hows this for an idea? A rotational molded solar water desalination system, made from non-prime resin, only moving parts is a float valve, fresh water outlet valve. Units are able to be chained together so systems could consist of 1 to say 50 units with the same two valves.

My problem has never been a lack of idea’s

a time machine? not a clock,the possibility to travell to the future.

or a perfect Jena Jameson… :unamused: i´m gonna be sick

A cyborg version of myself that would sit at work all day and look busy and answer my calls and co-workers complaints, and allow me to be out in the woods mountain biking or spending time in my own studio getting my real work done.

A device that interacts with a human brain and stimulates/teaches empathy for others. We’re all so cutoff from each other in our cars, cubicles, and behind computer screens. I think anything that makes people understand others without having to suffer and die to get there is worth my time.

universal translator

Universal translator … there is one. It was on the “Today” show Friday morning. I wasn’t paying enough attention at the beginning of the segment to catch the name of the device.

Pretty cool though … you indicate what language you want it to translate into, speak into it, and it “speaks” the language. Hand it to whomever you are speaking to, and they can then “speak” to you. Has a keyboard input too.

a device not a collar that electracutes, not shocks, people for telling lies…

keep the world a little more honest

it wouldn’t kill them or anything it would just make them want to lie less

it would be a good thing, lying is bad.

Yeah…I was at my university’s emergency. room…I think I took like a bunch of samples…or disposables in my baggy when I was discharged…the whole experience and actual stuff can be redesigned…

Sorry, but thats in some other post. Its called the LifeStraw. Works a little different than you describbed but has pretty much the same function.

Look for something else! =)