For a long time, I thought that success was only achievable if the steps toward it were done linearly...
...but by learning and working with others in an interdisciplinary way, I began to see my creative process evolving from a linear one to a more interconnected, iterative network of steps--ones that were less sequential and more dependent on one another.
By combining methods from my research experience, with knowledge in project and design management styles, I was able to create a unique recipe for the perfect design process.
Start by scoping out a problem area. Project planning tools like charts, timelines, budgeting skills, and sourcing skills come into play here. An important thing to keep in mind here, is that no project plan will stick together. Be flexible, and willing to adapt your plan to unforeseeable events that will definitely throw you for a loop.
So many designers seem to dislike research, but I think it is because we are doing the wrong kind of research. My favorite type of research is method acting; basically acting the part of the user you are designing for.-What better way to understand someone than to get as close as you can to the real thing?
It is important to start building models, prototypes, and studies that are influenced by your research. Repeat as necessary. You might look back at your original project statement and need to re-evaluate some steps.
After taking multiple iterative steps to your final goal, you should begin to see your final product flourish. The last step to my process is to share your work with others; professionals, students, friends, and family. Not only will you inspire people around you, but you will learn so much from people with different areas of expertise. Everyone has something to teach us.
I hope that, by sharing my strategies and continuing to learn from others, I can help create space to empower people to solve real-world, current, and important design challenges, for the sole purpose of making the world a better place.