This was a great read
and I do agree that defining a goal before the actual implementation is a much more clean and focused way to go about it. (although, rambling a few brain cells every now and then is the only sane way xD)
And though I am still a student, this part:
Many people will blindly do what the customer says they want, when in reality the customer seldom has a firm grasp on what they really truly need. So if you can point out the pros and cons of what they say they want and a few alternatives, it often results in a much better product specification and a much happier customer in the end.
is the true definition of what differentiates a mere engineer from a creator, for me!
I do have a few personal questions, more guidance as a student per se, so if you're comfortable, I'd love to get in touch with you.