As my present blog theme is about design technologies and how they can make a difference to our innovation hit-rate I thought it useful to reiterate 'stuff' that might underpin our thinking on this theme.
I read a piece by Prof. Andrew Hargadon that I immediately felt comfortable with
We can think of the three factors driving interactions between people, who without implicit guidance are likely to look at the innovation projects from their own point of view and being concerned about their own disciplinary knowledge clusters.
The disciplines are lifted off a chart in the general presentation by Tekes, but serve to illustrate things that matter within each factor and their overlaps... and the yellow area at the centre? That is innovation.
If we think of the triangular interactions that need to go in order for innovative products to emerge then we get this
As each group tends to look at an idea from their own point of view, and there is a tendency to drag the project conversations in to their own domain:
The Business point of view will be to ask "Is it viable? will we gain market share? Make money?"
The Technology pov is "Is it feasible? Dowe have the technology capabilities to get it to work?"
The Cultural pov is "Is it a valid idea? Does someone find it desirable?"
If we use design technologies and techniques to make ideas tangible then we can change the behaviour of the individuals and reframe the conversation
We can imagine the technologist and the person responsible for defining the product ( could be a marketer that talks with an external design house or an internal designer) having a conversation about the "interaction" of the product and its user; whilst the marketer might talk with the board in terms of fit with the "brand" which then leads on to another conversation about the "look and feel"of the experience. Meanwhile logistics might be concerned about how it impacts the existing products and overall profitability and the effects on the "system" of any different technologies. This leads to conversations about the "role" of the product in the overall portfolio of activities and its impact on existing arrangements in sales channels i.e. its "implementation".
Small wonder then that, in a separate, linear conversation view of the world, we end up with products whose impact is diluted compared with the idea originally put forward and it is often late.
If we look at the best way to operate in the yellow zone then we need to step into a Design Space where we leave behind our narrow functional point of view and ask "What we are we creating- does it enable a change in the life of our customer" and "How are we going to make sure we deliver on the promise of this idea?"