Tag Archive | Innovation process

Two different solution spaces

 

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As a part of School of Startups, Toni Perämäki from Valohai wanted to show us a structured way of finding customers via Lean Startup method. The one way of ideating is to build, measure and learn in a cycle. The key question in Lean Startup is: Do I have a problem worth solving? One idea is to make a list of problems (3-5) that your idea would be solving. You need to think many sectors in the beginning of the process. These include reviewing the customer pain, considering the size of the market and is it reachable. Also you need to think technical feasibility: are you able to build your product/service?

Even though Toni was telling about customer discovery through Lean Startup methology, I was able to find a lot of similarity to Design Thinking. First of all, they both are used in innovation processes to create something new. Iteration is a key action in both methods. Design process is always about iteration when building products or services. The Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop in Learn Startup is operating solemnly in the solution space in order to create Minimum Viable Products. That loop is very similar to Design Thinking prototypes and testing. They both collect feedback.

Understanding customers is crucial in both points of views. Who are the customers that the idea would help? In this part Toni urged us used user personas and value proposition canvas to help you understand the motivation and also the gain and pain of customers. These both are methods used in Design Thinking. User personas are based on fictional characters whose profile gathers up the features of an existing social group. In this way the personas assume the attributes of the groups they represent: from their social and demographic characteristics, to their own goals, challenges, behaviour and backgrounds. Value Proposition Canvas is a simple way to understand your customers needs, and design products and services they want. It works in conjunction with the Business Model Canvas and other strategic management and execution tools and processes.

 

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Value Proposition Canvas

 

In order of validating your concept Toni adviced us to think of ways of testing idea before prototyping or having a ready product. Good ways are storytelling and demos. Also used in Design Thinking.

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About customer understanding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toni introduced us to few (many) rules that I find useful when trying to understand customers. When gathering information, don’t use surveys. Surveys are too structured and it’s not a dialog. Also don’t use focus groups. People tend to change their opinion due to external influence. You don’t want people to follow some strongheahed persons ideas under group pressure.

Don’t ask what they want. The idea is to experience and understand the problem. Don’t go in alone. You get more insight of the problem at hand when comparing gathered information. Select neutral location. People need to feel comfortable. Use pen and paper to make notes. It it important to document results but having a lapotop between you and customer is not a good idea.

 

More info and ideas:

https://valohai.com

http://www.servicedesigntools.org

https://strategyzer.com/canvas/value-proposition-canvas

https://www.boardofinnovation.com/blog/2017/07/18/lean-startup-versus-design-thinking/

 

The author Siru Sirén is MBA student in Futures Studies and Customer-Oriented Services in Laurea UAS// Licenced social service professional

What is design thinking and why is it important to your business?

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Building a prototype.

 

Design thinking is a creative problem solving and innovation process that makes change possible. Instead of FOR users, this human centered approach designs services and products WITH users.

The systematic process of using design thinking tools for innovation creates competitive advantage –  a good reason to every business manager to adopt it to their working processes.

How does design thinking differ from other innovation processes

Design thinking turns the traditional innovation process upside down. Whereas before the innovators had a certain goal for their process, in design thinking it is unknown where the process will take you – thus pure innovations can be born.

Genuine search for a solution for your business problem requires learning. Design thinking is applied in an iterative circle that uses co-creation and testing, for example prototyping. Learning and finding a solution by iteration need an atmosphere where it is okay to fail – instead of trying to prove to be right and avoid mistakes.

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The Course for Human-Centered Design: How Might We Enable More Young People to Become Social Entrepreneurs?

The Course for Human-Centered Design (provided by Ideo.org and +Acumen) is a seven-week curriculum, which introduces the concepts of human-centered design and how this approach can be used to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for social change.  This course has been developed to educate those, who are brand new to human-centered design. No prior experience is required. However, I would recommend this course for anyone looking to improve their human-centered design skills.

What is Human-Centered Design? 

Human-Centered Design (HCD) is a creative approach to solve any kind of problem. The process starts with the people for whom the solution is designed; and ends with e.g. new product or service that is tailor-made to suit these people’s needs. HCD is all about building a deep empathy with the people’s needs and motivations, generating a lot of ideas, creating prototypes, sharing the ideas and solutions with the people; and eventually taking the new innovative solution out in the world. Please see the below video describing the concept of HCD.

Our team and design challenge

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Designers: Think BIG! … but also BEYOND and GLOCAL

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Tim Brown, in his book Change by Design (100% recommended), urges a global change by what he calls Design Thinking.

Tim proposes to the world a new way to face the upcoming challenges, the small but also the big ones. A new way of redesigning the world. He offers a tool usable for every person to solve any problem in a creative, innovative and effective way.

He has been designing things every day during his whole professional life and that’s why he analyses the way designers thinks each time they have to face an assignment, a problem to solve, a question to answer.

This metal process, this mindset, this way of thinking is what he calls design thinking (in lowercase) and seems to be simply the way designers think and work in every project.

This mental process always follows the same scheme, the same stages in broad terms. This structured process, consolidated in the design sector as a practical and effective methodology to achieve the established objectives, is what he proposes as a framework to deal with any challenge to improve the world whatever its nature.
So this process abstracted and subsequently converted in a tool that could be used in every situation is what he calls “Design Thinking” (now with uppercase)

Brown sustains that everyone can solve wicked problems using Design Thinking (DT) as a toolbox even if you are not a designer. That’s why DT is an open source tool that can be applied in different disciplines. Even more if those disciplines lack creativity.

Tim Brown urges designers to play a bigger role than just creating cool, fashionable objects. He urges to think big, he calls for a change to local, collaborative, participatory “design thinking” as the 19th-century design thinker Isambard Kingdom Brunel did.

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Transform Your Business Through Design Thinking

The postindustrial digital age and the emergence of the experience economy have fundamentally changed the requirements and the expectations how companies develop and deliver new services. Well-known brands like Airbnb, Mayo Clinic, Bank of America and HBO have all understood this shift and successfully utilized holistic design thinking approach to transform their business. They have created profitable business through sophisticated, emotionally satisfying and meaningful experiences to their customers.

Design Thinking

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking can be described as human-centered (designing “with” the users instead of “for” the users), exploratory and integrative innovation process that emphasizes observation, collaboration in interdisciplinary teams, fast learning, visualization of ideas, rapid prototyping, and concurrent business analysis. Design Thinking essentially is a way of thinking, applying designers’ sensibility and methods, leading to transformation, innovation of new products, services, business strategies and even new organizations.

The best part is that you don’t need to be a professional designer to master in Design Thinking. Nevertheless, the following key abilities are important for a Design Thinker:

  • visual and divergent thinking
  • empathy and cultural sensitivity
  • integrative and holistic thinking
  • the ability to think in analogies and metaphors

Models and Tools for Design Thinking

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Getting steamrolled by the Jam! #GSJTampere#Innovation#Happy

There are some things in life that you need to experience yourself in order to truly understand them – Jamming is definitely one of those! You simply can´t capture the spirit of Jamming with words. Any attemp would result in lines full of superlatives and corny phrases, and in the end, readers would think you have worn the ”funny hat” for too long. Well, that´s totally ok and not far from the truth, but that wouldn´t do justice for the concept.

Here´s an example.

I could tell you that Global Service Jam is a unique 48 hour event for curious, open-minded people interested in (service) design thinking. It gathers Jammers from 6 continents, from more than 100 cities to simultaneously design completely new services in a spirit of experimentation, innovation, co-operation and friendly competition. At the end of the weekend, prototypes of the new services are published to the world. Global Service Jam is known for it´s inspirational spirit that captures and connects the global network of over 2000 Jammers.

Or I could point you to a video. Our Jam got challenged by the New York Service Jam to make a happy dance, and here is our response:

After watching the video, your first thought might be something like ”say what?” But I urge you to hold your thoughts. In fact, if you look closer, what you can see in the video, is a group of people who have been totally taken over by the spirit of the Jam – you can almost taste the collective fun and openness! And these people were strangers to one and other before the Jam started. Just within two days, an unique atmosphere has been established. Atmosphere that frees people to be themselves, think unorthodoxically, experiment, play and build on one and other´s (crazy) ideas.

Imagine what could happen if this atmosphere could be replicated in your company? What could happen if all that hidden know-how and creative potential of your company´s employees would be unleashed? My answer: Anything could happen.

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Innovation in perspective

In our first contact session with Gijs van Wulfen and Katja Tschimmel, we experienced a lightning version of an innovation process with Design Thinking: 2 days, not even 14 hours of work. And I’ve been wondering… What about real-life innovation? Can you expect to find a great brand new solution in just a couple of days? If not, how much time and effort does the process require? I hope to draft an answer to this question by gathering information from The Innovation Expedition

Note: don’t get me wrong! I loved the approach. We could live the whole process and understand what we are supposed to do as service designers in a flash. That’s a great guidance for the rest of our studies and beyond. But I really need some perspective…

So, what did we do in class?

We solved an innovation assignment by applying a short version of the Forth innovation method structure, developed by Gijs. And completed each step with design tools —very visual and intuitive—, provided and clearly explained by Katja.

Forth method and design tools used in class

Forth method and design tools used in class

And the long version…

The structure of the method remains, but a little more time is used… About 20 weeks per project! Let’s see how much bigger this looks.

Comparison between our two-days workshop and the Forth consultancy 20 weeksprojects

Comparison between our two-days workshop and the Forth consultancy 20 weeks projects

What do they do with so much time? (And what did we do with so little?)

Full steam ahead – 5 weeks

Exploring the assignment

Exploring the assignment. Source: Visual Report. Master class. Practical Design Thinking. Laurea University 13-14 September

At the beginning of a real innovation assignment, many sensitive issues have to be decided:

  • Establish the innovation assignment and evaluation criteria.
  • Form the innovation team.
  • Plan the approach.
  • Set the total costs.

Once all of those are decided, you can:

  • Introduce the team members to each other.
  • Make the team familiar with the innovation assignment.

Those are basically the two parts we did. Only the real workshops are longer than ours.

Observe and learn – 6 weeks

Primary and secondary research combined

Primary and secondary research combined. Source: Visual Report. Master class. Practical Design Thinking. Laurea University 13-14 September

Key activities in this phase are somehow similar to ours, but much deeper. Individuals:

  • Explore trends and technology by gathering secondary information and visiting outside sources of inspiration.
  • Discover customer frictions with qualitative research.

Note one key difference: to research on customer frictions, they meet real users and talk to them.

At several stages the whole team meets to share all those findings and chooses the most promising opportunities.

Raise ideas – 2 weeks

Brainwriting

Brainwriting. Source: Visual Report. Master class. Practical Design Thinking. Laurea University 13-14 September

On the basis of the opportunities spotted in the previous phase, the team gathers in small groups to brainstorm new product or service ideas. In total, they:

  • Produce 500-750 ideas.
  • Cluster them into 30-40 idea directions.
  • Form 12 concepts.
  • And improve them with feedback from other groups.

Our process for this was similar, but we only produced about 10 times less ideas, didn’t cluster them and simply chose or formed one concept.

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