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7 Conclusions

7.1 The context of design and innovation

In this final section I would like to lead you to consider several different ways of looking at design. This is meant to introduce some of the issues and debates which have engaged designers.

We have examined several examples of design. We have seen that design is a complex activity. It has many stages and at each stage must take into account both opportunities and constraints. Designers try to speculate as much as possible within the constraints of time and cost as well as the requirements of customers and clients. The activity or process of design is always treading a fine line between freedom and constraint. Getting the balance right seems to yield useful and satisfactory designs.

There does not seem to be any recipe for achieving this balance. Design is complex with many factors to take into account. There are models of the design process which can act as useful guides to stages and outputs in this process. But they will not tell you how to design a particular thing.