Whenever we read about innovation, be it in the technology sector or FMCG we are told that 70% of our launches are withdrawn within a year as they fail to meet expectations -either as a valid offer for the customers (do they love it?), or as a viable product/service (Have we made money doing it?).
The interaction of global communication, speed of change and competition all ensure that incremental improvements are no loger enough for long-term survival and growth. But the rate of improvement of technologies also means we have the potential to radically improve our innovation and design capabilities, activities and results. I wrote here of what I regard as the five technology clusters that we need to master and exploit in order to have a shot at substantially improving our innovation performance.
The evolution of the list came from considering the process and what participants needs will be.
We wrote of the top level process as 3R's and 6D's so
We will have our 8 Design Space stakeholders working as a dream team to create new knowledge as they move along their Design Journey at each stage of their journey they will need representational tools to make their ideas, concepts, models, prototypes tangible to each other and all other interested parties. In otherwise we need to be able to visualise the design at any stage on the journey with the right fidelity to catalyse the right conversation. Show a potential consumer a beautifully finished realistic physical mockup and they will assume it is a finished work; show them a rendered sketch and they realise it is a rough concept and respond accordingly. We can tabulate 'things' we want to do at each stage.. this is just a quick stab at a list:
We need to embrace an iterative "fail forward-cycle back" approach to maximise learning
which means we have a great deal of sketches, illustrations, feedback data, etc, etc, to create and manage... we might therefore look at the activities from another (Design Space) point of view:
In Design Space it will be great if we can represent our thoughts, insights ideas and concepts using 2D and 3D sketching, drawing and modelling tools... we then need to visualise them in an appropriate form (e.g. rendered 3D model), but we also need to simulate how we will use "it" how we will make it, distribute it, etc.etc. and visualise the appropriate results. We will need to manage this cloud of data, information and digital artefacts we are generating and collecting. It will be great to make things tangible in a physical sense too. We also need to keep everyone up to speed on this project seeking and accepting critical comment from people wherever they are located. This implies we need to build a collaboration infrastructure.
So we now have 5 strategic design technology imperatives:
1. Digital Design Modelling
2. Design Simulation and Visualisation
3. Physical Modelling and Prototyping
4. Master Data Management
5. Collaborative Infrastructure
first mentioned here.
It is worth remembering that the models we build and visualise, digital, virtual, physical are what can drive our innovative behaviour. Michael Schrage put my thoughts into words in his book Serious Play