Michael Bierut at Design Observer describes his approach to design, which, he points out, often doesn't correspond to the client proposal he initially pitched. For the designers in the audience, see if this doesn't sound familiar:
WhenI do a design project, I begin by listening carefully to you as you talk about your problem and read whatever background material I can find that relates to the issues you face. If you’re lucky, I have also accidentally acquired some firsthand experience with your situation. Somewhere along the way an idea for the design pops into my head from out of the blue. I can’t really explain that part; it’s like magic. Sometimes it even happens before you have a chance to tell me that much about your problem! Now, if it’s a good idea, I try to figure out some strategic justification for the solution so I can explain it to you without relying on good taste you may or may not have. Along the way, I may add some other ideas, either because you made me agree to do so at the outset, or because I’m not sure of the first idea. At any rate, in the earlier phases hopefully I will have gained your trust so that by this point you’re inclined to take my advice. I don’t have any clue how you’d go about proving that my advice is any good except that other people — at least the ones I’ve told you about — have taken my advice in the past and prospered. In other words, could you just sort of, you know...trust me?
Bierut spends some time in the post talking about the collaboration between two business and fine arts professors that culminated in a Harvard program called Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders, which seeks to find a better working relationship between business and creative worlds. Theater is the example cited as a creative enterprise on a deadline.
Looks as if Neurobiology isn't the only field using the theater metaphor to good effect.
The post reminded me a bit of Luke Wroblewski's description of strategic design.