Now that you understand the Challenge and have generated ideas, it’s time to start designing and constructing the items needed for your Challenge solution. Focus the ideas you generated during your meetings to aid you in deciding what to produce.
Before you begin construction, there should be a reason for you to build the specific item. If you identify this reason, it will guide the rest of the process. Once you know why you need something, examine what you need the item to do in order to accomplish your goal. Try to keep this examination focused, but not limited. If you need a structure to bear weight, make sure you don’t trap yourself by saying, “we need something short and strong.” These may be qualities of weight-bearing structures, but if you jump to conclusions, you may miss solutions. Could something tall still hold weight? Don’t limit your team’s solutions prematurely.
After you know what your item should do, you can start designing. Design for functionality, but remember, just because something needs to hold weight doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be attractive or help tell a story. Just as before, don’t artificially limit your solutions by jumping to conclusions. It’s crucial to identify all of the functions an item needs to perform.
Another thing to consider during the design process should be the materials you choose to design your item. Ask yourself: which materials have the qualities we need? Try thinking of lots of different materials, and then list their qualities. This will help you pinpoint what you need, and it may also give you the freedom to explore some unorthodox solutions. Duct tape, while amazing, isn’t the only think you can use to stick two items together.
In addition, don’t be afraid to take on projects that seem difficult. Often, the reason a building endeavor seems difficult is because a team only approaches it from one angle. If you believe wood is the only material you can use for your backdrop, you’ll limit the size of your backdrop due to the weight and cost of wood. If your team decides to make something giant, rather than saying, “We cannot because it would be too heavy,” try saying, “What can we use to make this lighter?”
The steps in the building process are developing a clear notion of what you want, deciding how to accomplish that notion, finding materials that meet your goals, and then assembling. In every stage, remember not to pigeonhole yourself by locking into only one type of solution. Consider alternatives and remember that there are many ways to accomplish what your team has set out to do.