Chapter 3. Set the Direction

“An essential part of innovation is to envision the new product or service. You have to use it and experience it before it is designed and built.

—JEFF HAWKINS, FOUNDER OF PALM COMPUTING

ONE OF THE HARDEST design problems I ever worked on was for a company that helps IT groups manage risk. Their product focused on open-source components—inexpensive and widely supported by an enormous community, but often vulnerable to security flaws.

What made this design problem hard was the complexity of the product’s underlying structure, a triangle of interrelated abstract concepts. To work through the problem, we created a series of sketches that helped ...

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