2) Confirmation bias: the tendency to pay more attention to ideas consistent with your beliefs and less attention to ideas inconsistent with your beliefs

3) System justification: the tendency to irrationally defend the existing system

4) Design fixation: “blind adherence to a set of ideas or concepts limiting the output of conceptual design”

Theoretically speaking, the requirements illusion causes developers to unnecessarily constrain their conception of the design space, thereby undermining their own innovative capacity. Luckily, the requirements illusion has a simple cure. Analysis should focus on operationalizing the problem or goal and building a nuanced understanding of the domain. Based on this, developers should simply propose system features and structures that seem likely to achieve the goal. Intermediate requirements analysis is more likely to undermine innovation than reveal solutions.

Dr. Paul Ralph is a lecturer in Design Science at the Lancaster University Management School, and director of the Lancaster University Design Practices Lab. His work focuses on the empirical study of designers, including their practices, processes, cognition, tools, management and environments. He holds a Ph.D. in information systems from the University of British Columbia.