In our design team, we are usually given a few criteria that our product needs to have, or measurements that it needs to be, other than that we are normally left to our own devices for a while to see what we can come up with.
It is not helpful to be too restricted by rules and dimensions and such like. If we are given the freedom to do what we want we can come up with new amazing ideas – some of them might not work – but some of them will be amazing new designs that no-one has ever thought of before!
As an engineer you are usually given an idea for a certain products that you are supposed to design. I think this is interesting and challenging because you have to work within the guidelines for the product result you are asked for. I like my research in science communications because the projects are even more free. You come up with the ideas yourself and you are only limited by your imagination! !!!