“Three years ago, I was out in my driveway attempting to fix a faulty heater blower in my ‘92 chevy, when I was suddenly struck by the inspiration to go buy a new car!”
Of course, this is a silly anecdote. I do, however, think that when you lack the knowledge of process, or the experience to “see” root causes, working with one’s hands can lack the reward the author discusses elsewhere in the book. Because my actions failed to solve the problem, my activity lacked any discernible outcome, other than that I wasn’t able to turn the heat on.
While I am having difficulty thinking of a specific instance, besides that of the junk car, I know that working with my hands frequently triggers inspiration. It is, in fact, the reason I keep a sketchbook, like many designers and sculptors, the ability to make ideas flow forth is not the problem, but capturing those ideas and executing them, that is the challenge.
The author talks about his friends methodical search for patterns, in this case patterns of wear, and I believe process is the framework we as designers use to know where to search for patterns, how to recognize and make sense of those patterns, and then eventually how to re-combine patterns into a response. Most literally, a search requires one to see, notice, parse, evaluate and choose. The experience of the engine builder allows him to see and notice evidence of root causes, parse the evidence into separate categories and evaluate which evidence is important and choose a course of action to pursue.