Revolutionary Design : An Indulgence ?

I owe all these learning’s to the long conversations I had with Prof. Balram over endless cups of Chai.

There are two schemes in designing a product. Revolutionary and Evolutionary. Revolutionary design deals with redesigning a product for its intended purpose from scratch. Evolutionary design deals with make minimum changes to already existing products and improve it .

I picked up a product ( A standard A4 full-scale) and decided to redesign it for the disabled. To start with I took the revolutionary scheme. I started questioning the fundamental purpose of the product and got to a particular solution. However, as much as this method is tempting and allows one the explore a new territory and truly call one an innovator, it beats the purpose of redesigning for all. I realized this scheme of designing as an Indulgence.

Once I realized this, I quickly picked up the other scheme, the one which I believed was boring and would not allow me to exhaust my creativity to its potential, to my surprise, I found myself in great sorrow unable to redesign the product I had picked up. Designing  on to  an already existing product at first  seemed easy and thus uninteresting but it turned out to be difficult. Working with constraints was not as easy as I thought it would be. Designing on an evolutionary scheme is more challenging and satisfying. It satisfies ones creative needs way more than  what one could get on a revolutionary scheme.

Revolutionary designs are necessary for the progress of thought. With progress of thoughtour lives improve. Else we would all have been still wearing the greek robes  or the long gowns we see in the  Shakespeare plays. The only concern that I wish to address here is the critical importance of a revolutionary product.

Today’s market is flooded with products. There is  a bottle opener and a bottle opener stand. Is the need for these two related products to be separated .Maybe a better example would help ! I agree on the point that marketing one product at one time, getting the audience to use it to a certain time and finally introducing an additional product that, the user cannot help but purchase is a time tested ( a good design)of making money but when did designs concerns towards society and social responsibility shift to market and money ? Money I agree is important but to bridge the gap between social need and technological advancement needs to be bridged. And this  bridge can be designed by design.

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2 Responses to Revolutionary Design : An Indulgence ?

  1. gunjan says:

    Well.. i think revolutionary design is important.Evolutionary design gives us a range of similar looking printers with upgraded features but Revolutionary design can give you a printer which can scan copy and fax..
    Sometimes its good to have evolutionart design so that we have arange of choices around us, but revolutionary design is the one which brings around the change in design thinking .Its the turning point. i dunno if it makes sense but it’s like celebrating smaller festivals and then celebrating the big events in your life. You do need to indulge sometime! somewhere!

  2. hemang says:

    My opinion is summed up in this article by Don Norman. Take a look, I think you’ll like it: http://jnd.org/dn.mss/technology_first_needs_last.html

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