In January OPX is focusing on one of our core values: Constant Improvement.
For me the quest for constant improvement is a good indicator of a life-learner personality type. The natural curiosity of a life-learner can form the basis of a very powerful design tool if fed by the honest feedback of clients and end-users.
Design methodology for most industrial designers utilizes a process of rapid prototyping that helps to test and perfect a solution. Although most of our engagements as designers do not allow for this approach, we leave valuable information on the table when time and schedule does not allow for us to follow-up after our clients move in.
When I have had the opportunity to work with a client on multiple projects, the benefit of revisiting and evaluating the success of the first project has led to some of the most satisfying and successful work of my career. By re-tooling the tested designs and revising the details for future locations we progressively worked toward solutions that were embraced by management and workers alike. For one particular client we went back and re-worked the earlier buildouts to reflect what we had learned through the subsequent work. It is also not a mystery that these engagements have also established some of my strongest and lasting client relationships.
As a young designer it is often difficult not to take criticism personally. A designer should remember that he/she and the client are on the same team. Feedback is about the work and how to make it better! When we start to think of the follow-up as part of the design process and not a task that keeps us from focusing on the next thing, we begin a cyclical process that produces better work and better informed designers along the way.