The Engineering Design Method
 Formulate the Problem
Define the real problem to be solved.
 Analyze the Problem
Describe the problem in detail. Examine what is known and what is to be achieved.

Search for Solutions
Develop a list of alternative solutions to the problem.
 Decide on the Appropriate Solution
Evaluate all alternatives for best solution.
 Specify the Solution
Document the solution.
A good reference on the design method and various methods of its implementation is Strategies for Creative Problem Solving by H.S. Fogler and S.E. LeBlanc, Prentice Hall, 1995.