My appologies for the the lame title–I just couldn’t come up with anything less bad. Regardless…
I was immediately struck by the fact that this is a model of product design as a professional and multi-disciplinary practice. Indeed many designers claim that design is a problem solving endeavour (top-right). I contend that solving is only part of the equation; modeling and understanding the problem (bottom-left) is the other half.
Furthermore most design practice seems to be trapped in derivative stylization (bottom-right). Need proof? Pick up any design magazine. Chances are regardless of which one or which time or year, it will feature the winners of some kind of mind-numbingly sterile design competition. In it you will find that what passes for award winning design is really little more than a predictable and conservative fashion show of usual suspects.
And finally design at its best, mixes with other disciplines like engineering marketing to give birth to real innovation (top-left). This means that design is not itself innovaton (and one shouldn’t conflate the two) but strongly related to innovation.
So these four quadrants seem to cover the reality of product design and development quite nicely. However, I was still unsatisfied. Something was missing. And toward the end of the post there it was: constraints. The 2-D model does not include one’s ability to navigate constraints.
By constraint navigation I’m refering to execution intelligence: the ability to successfully act on what has been percieved. Sure you can see differences and similarities, but can you take that vision to market (financial market, product market, idea market, what ever)? No market, no innovation.
So I included a third dimension and tweaked some of the terms (in my cumudgeonly way) to come up the following cube: Innovation^3.