Let’s face it: Design by its very nature is an iterative and collaborative process. In any design project, you will often try one thing to see if it works. When that fails, you try a different approach and eventually (hopefully) meet success. This happens again and again, day after day, as engineers develop new designs. The effort includes problem solving, trade offs and exploration. Iteration sits at the core of almost any design process.

That, however, doesn’t happen in a vacuum. A change to your design will often affect the components connected to it. That’s where collaboration comes into play. As you explore new options, you have to make sure your design is compatible with everything else around it, which most often involves collaborating with your peers.

That’s the reality of engineering today: It is fundamentally about collaborative design iteration. Now, what is the most widely proliferated technology used to enable collaboration?

Yes. I did hear you groan. And yes, you are correct. The answer is email.

Practically every functional department in a company is utterly reliant on email. It is used to communicate with suppliers, the manufacturing floor, the quality department and many more. It’s everywhere.