A technological outcome is a fully realised product and/or system created by people for a particular purpose.
Once it has been placed in situ, no further design input is required for it to function.
Fully realised means the outcome has moved beyond concept, plan, or model and now exists and functions as designed in the made world. It is fit for purpose in every respect including aesthetic (looks).
This definition enables technological outcomes to be distinguished from natural objects such as trees and rocks and from other outcomes of human activity such as art works, language, knowledge, social structures, and organisational systems.
All technological outcomes have a dual nature: physical and functional. An outcome’s physical nature is what it is made of and looks like; its functional nature is what it can do. Understanding the relationship between the two is a good starting point for understanding a technological outcome as a whole, and it is crucial when developing a product or system for a specific purpose.
Technological outcomes can be categorised as products and systems but distinguishing between the two is not always straightforward. It depends on how you look at the outcome concerned.
For example, you could describe a cell phone as a technological system, comprising interconnected components that work together to achieve a purpose. But you could also describe the same phone as a technological product, focusing on the materials used in its manufacture and not on the many interconnected components inside it.
This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.