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I taught Architectural Engineering Design to undergraduate engineers, leading to a 3-term (10 weeks each) sequence in Senior Year in which they "defined a problem," the came up with conceptual solutions, selected one and refined it.  The first 10 weeks were always a matter of keeping them off solutions and focusing on what the problem actually was at both large scale and in detail: e.g. What uses were to be of the buildinging, down to the Live-load/Square-Foot for each space in the building. If they could, I encouraged them to work with a "real client" because they learned so much about "real needs" as opposed to what 21-year-olds guessed.  I'd argue that this is the case across almost all design professions.  It fit's Richard's model exactly.