Technical discussions – smarter, faster, better

Design reviews are a complicated animal.

For the core design team, they are a means by which the subject at hand can be communicated to a broader section of colleagues and stakeholders. Important stuff, if we wish for a successful project.

Following completion, we want best outcomes in terms of fit, form and function. We also need to understand the safety implications and associated risks of building and operating the hardware. To achieve this, good understanding of the issues is essential.

Unfortunately, we often leave some participants slightly short of full comprehension, limiting their input and the opportunity to gain best value and outcome from the discussion overall.
If you’re experienced in such meetings, you’ll know that the best pieces of insight often come those in non-technical roles, but even for the technical, grasping the detail of a 6 month project in time to immediately provide best input can be something of a challenge.

We wouldn’t consider asking colleagues to participate if the language was foreign to them, yet we ignore the fact that not everyone can efficiently extract technical info from drawings, renders or visualisations. In effect, it’s an unusual language to them.

Physical representations remove many and sometimes all of these barriers to comprehension. They provide best opportunity to bring stakeholders, consulting parties and ancillary functions straight into the thick of the subject matter, promoting efficient discussion and maximum input from all parties.

Consultations, marketing efforts and concept discussions can benefit in similar ways, particularly where understanding of a design is important.

Your local ‘make studio’ can transform your design into a physical model, which (size permitting) can be held, rotated and examined precisely as the user requires, and afterwards provide great ‘go-to’ model for discussions during the wider project efforts.
By adding cut-away sections, operation or even automated functionality, the purpose of the tool can also be communicated precisely and effectively. Should your local studio possess experience in your industry, all the better; they will provide technical proficiency which further streamlines the process.

Additive manufacturing has made huge improvements to the value and accessibility of these models, but this technology is best deployed as part of a wider workshop regime. Technical teams who choose to deploy such techniques often find it indispensable during future efforts, as the improvements to efficiency and outcome become apparent.

So, next time you’re 20 minutes into a design review and someone hurriedly turns their drawing the correct way up, consider picking up the phone.

Thanks for reading

Richard Drennan