A Design Option is an individual element that when combined with other Design Options will create a single product offering. It can be physical or it can just be documentation that details the limits of performance and dependencies between other design options. It exists to provide the final integrator with sufficient information to consistently reproduce the final Product Option.
A Design Option is a term that can be used to describe an element all the way from the very initial concept to the blueprint used to mass manufacture. I would argue that it is the main purpose of an R&D department of an organisation is to deliver Design Options.
The work of Front-Line Researchers is to increase our understanding of these Design Options. Basically, a design option is an element of a final solution that can be viewed as a separate entity. It is very similar to the concept of a sub-system from