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12.1.2. TAO Spiral: Prospecting


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 12. The TAO Design Process > 12.1. The Big Picture > 12.1.2. TAO Spiral: Prospecting

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Fig. 12.1 Spiralling TAO process

Prospecting is where the serious search starts. A good indicator that you are finding the right area is a need that seems to be unfulfilled. For example, hotel rooms are not always completely silent and the sounds of the people in the next room can disturb the occupant’s sleep. Note that the need here is ‘a good night’s sleep’, not necessarily ‘sound-proof walls’ (which is only one way of achieving the need).

There are surprisingly simple ways of finding needs, such as really listening to people, seeking the little (and large) things that irritate them, or discovering their deep wishes. Another good approach is to watch people. If you can set up a video camera of them working in the area of interest, then this gives an even better record that can be studied in detail.

For example, if you want to improve the telephone, watch people closely at every step: how do they pick up, dial and speak? Find how and when they want to use the phone. You can also chunk out to consider communications in general or go deeper into telephone technology.

The stages of the TAO Process are:

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