The value of design often butts heads with the rigor of quantitative proof. But as the design advances into more complex territory, proof becomes even more challenging.

While at the Institute for the Future HealthCare 2020 open space meeting on Science and Technology in Health, Chris McCarthy, Director, Innovation Learning Network at Kaiser Permanente, talked about how his team addresses the issue with a mixture of design intuition and analysis. Their objective, he said, was not to absolutely prove that a solution would work, but that it was “directionally correct.”

I assume this is a bit of business jargon (Googling says yes), but I had not heard it before in a design context. I thought it was an interesting way to acknowledge there isn’t a way to prove the direction of a design solution, while also recognizing that a solution seems rights given the fuzzy evidence (user research, competitive analysis, technology development, business value, etc.).