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  • Writer's pictureTeam Criador Labs

How Product Design Engineers Solve Complex Problems

Product design engineering is a creative and challenging field that involves applying engineering principles and methods to design and develop innovative products that meet the needs and expectations of customers. Product design engineers work in various industries, such as automotive, aerospace, medical, consumer electronics, and more. They are responsible for the entire product lifecycle, from ideation and prototyping to testing and manufacturing.



But how do product design engineers solve complex problems that arise during the product development process? What are the skills and tools they use to overcome the technical, functional, and aesthetic challenges of product design? In this blog post, we will explore some of the common steps and strategies that product design engineers follow to solve design problems and create successful products.


Step 1: Define the Problem

The first step in any problem-solving process is to define the problem clearly and precisely. This involves identifying the customer’s needs, wants, and pain points, as well as the goals and objectives of the product. A well-defined problem statement helps to narrow down the scope of the problem and provides a clear direction for the solution.


Some of the techniques that product design engineers use to define the problem are:

  • Market research: This involves gathering and analyzing data and information about the target market, customer segments, competitors, industry trends, and best practices. Market research helps to understand the customer’s preferences, behaviours, and motivations, as well as the opportunities and gaps in the market.

  • User research: This involves conducting interviews, surveys, observations, and experiments with potential and existing users of the product. User research helps to empathise with the user’s problems, needs, and goals, as well as to validate the assumptions and hypotheses about the product.

  • Problem framing: This involves articulating the problem statement in a concise and specific way, using the information and insights from the market and user research. Problem framing helps to focus on the core problem and the desired outcome of the product.

Step 2: Generate Ideas

The second step in the problem-solving process is to generate as many ideas as possible for the potential solutions to the problem. This involves brainstorming, sketching, and prototyping different concepts and features that could address the problem and satisfy the customer’s needs.


Some of the techniques that product design engineers use to generate ideas are:

  • Brainstorming: This involves generating a large number of ideas in a short time, without judging or filtering them. Brainstorming helps to stimulate creativity and divergent thinking, as well as to explore various possibilities and alternatives for the product.

  • Sketching: This involves drawing quick and rough sketches of the ideas, using simple shapes, symbols, and annotations. Sketching helps to visualize and communicate the ideas, as well as to iterate and refine them.

  • Prototyping: This involves creating low-fidelity or high-fidelity prototypes of the ideas, using physical or digital materials and tools. Prototyping helps to test and evaluate the ideas, as well as to get feedback from the users and stakeholders.

Step 3: Analyze and Select Ideas

The third step in the problem-solving process is to analyze and select the best ideas that meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. This involves comparing, ranking, and filtering the ideas based on their feasibility, viability, and desirability.

Some of the techniques that product design engineers use to analyze and select ideas are:

  • Feasibility analysis: This involves assessing the technical and practical aspects of the ideas, such as the availability of resources, the complexity of implementation, the compatibility with existing systems, and the compliance with standards and regulations. Feasibility analysis helps to determine the feasibility of the ideas and to eliminate the ones that are not feasible.

  • Viability analysis: This involves assessing the economic and business aspects of the ideas, such as the cost of development, the revenue potential, the market size, the competitive advantage, and the return on investment. Viability analysis helps to determine the viability of the ideas and to eliminate the ones that are not viable.

  • Desirability analysis: This involves assessing the human and social aspects of the ideas, such as the user satisfaction, the user experience, the user feedback, the user adoption, and the user loyalty. Desirability analysis helps to determine the desirability of the ideas and to eliminate the ones that are not desirable.

Step 4: Implement and Test Ideas

The fourth and final step in the problem-solving process is to implement and test the selected ideas and to measure their performance and impact. This involves developing, launching, and monitoring the product, as well as collecting and analyzing data and feedback from the users and stakeholders.

Some of the techniques that product design engineers use to implement and test ideas are:

  • Development: This involves transforming the prototypes into the final product, using engineering tools and methods, such as CAD, CAM, CAE, CNC, and 3D printing. Development helps to produce the product with the required quality, functionality, and reliability.

  • Launch: This involves introducing the product to the market, using marketing and distribution channels, such as online platforms, retail stores, and social media. Launch helps to promote the product and to reach the target audience.

  • Monitoring: This involves tracking and measuring the performance and impact of the product, using metrics and indicators, such as sales, revenue, profit, market share, customer satisfaction, customer retention, and customer feedback. Monitoring helps to evaluate the success and failure of the product and to identify the areas of improvement.

Conclusion

Product design engineering is a complex and dynamic process that requires a combination of engineering skills, design skills, and problem-solving skills. Product design engineers use various techniques and tools to define, generate, analyze, select, implement, and test ideas for innovative products that solve customer problems and create value. By following these steps and strategies, product design engineers can solve complex problems and create successful products. 🚀


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