Darwinian Product Design?
In the past week, two people at our offices have become new parents and this has got us thinking about how remarkable life is and is it designed to be that way? Promoters of Evolution and Natural Selection make it clear that natural selection is an evolutionary process and there is no design or need for a designer; the evolution comes about when a mutation changes a physical attribute which benefits an animals survival (or not!); which is then passed on to the next generation. As this borders on areas of religion and faith we’d rather not pass comment, however it did get us thinking about the parallels between the world of product design and natural selection.
When a design goes into manufacture it is replicated many times (like reproduction in nature) and parts that are not manufactured the same as others are discarded. But unlike nature, a production line only ever produces ‘mutations’ which are inferior to the desired output. But we all know products evolve (cars, aircraft and consumer devices being the very obvious ones); so where do the positive mutations come from? Well we guess it has to be the product designers?
If you think about it, every time we do concept design for our clients, we are creating a mutation of an existing design; the client chooses the designs which meet the desired output (which is normally to compete against another product in the competitive world of commerce where the rules of survival of the fittest certainly applies!) and the others are discarded; not dissimilar to what happens in nature.
There certainly seems to be parallels between nature and the world of Product Design. If that is the case; is Product Design another name for mutant design? Are our designers all mutants (we hope they don’t read this blog…might have a mutanty (sorry can’t help the pun!) on our hands)!