Dream Briefs


As designers part of what we do is to find points of inspiration within a brief. Sometimes this takes a fair bit of digging;  the challenge is is in there but it’s not what the brief initially proposes or maybe the brief is poorly written, other times it’s simply  something that doesn’t naturally light you up.

So when you read a brief that immediately sparks your fascination it’s exciting and clarifies the type of work you are passionate about. This is the case with the new challenges, snippets below, from MITs Solve programme. To have the time to research and work through all of these would be incredible; I’m evaluating which one to explore, I encourage you to read through and participate. 



How can coastal communities mitigate and adapt to climate change while developing and prospering? Full brief



How can communities invest in frontline health workers and services to improve their access to effective and affordable care? Full brief


How can those left behind by the technology-driven transformations of work create meaningful and prosperous livelihoods for themselves? Full brief 



How can teachers and educators provide accessible, personalized, and creative learning experiences for all? Full brief


Good enough to be great

By focusing on only a few core features in the first version, you are forced to find the true essence and value of the product.


Systems are dynamic, so existing models may not be relevant given different context.

Answering the right question

Can you redesign youth centres? We were once asked. No we replied, we first need to understand the problem to know what needs to be designed. Reframing the opportunity is vital to make sure people real needs are met. Instead we asked ‘what supports young people to have a flourishing adolescence?’ The design process starts by framing the problem or opportunity.
— Hilary Cottam

Knowing your customers

Understanding the thing to build. Some useful reminders from Hiten:

When you only have a vague idea of the problem you’re trying to solve, don’t skip a step by thinking about the technology you could build. Identify the existing solutions that people in your space are using—then dig deeper into how they’re being used.
The biggest opportunities for your product rarely have to do with how much better, faster, or more innovative your product is. By researching and really understanding all of the different use cases for competing products, you start to figure out which customer needs the competition is failing to serve. 
— Hiten Shah