Monday, April 07, 2008

Toward a Model of Innovation

Innovation in the design industry ...

"For the past few years, innovation has been a big topic in conversation about business management. A small industry fuels that conversation with articles, books, and conferences.

Designers, too, are involved. Prominent product-design firms offer workshops and other services promising innovation. Leading design schools promote “design thinking” as a path to innovation.

But despite all the conversation, there is little consensus on what innovation is and how to achieve it.

The current conversation about innovation is similar to an earlier conversation about quality. As recently as the late 1980s, quality was something businesses actively sought but had trouble defining. Today, statistical process control, TQM, Kaizen, and Six-Sigma management are common tools in businesses around the world.

As businesses have become good at managing quality, quality has become a sort of commodity—“table stakes,” necessary but not sufficient to ensure success. When everyone offers quality, quality no longer stands out. Businesses must look elsewhere for differentiation. The next arena for competition has become innovation.

The question is: Can innovation be “tamed,” as quality was?

A key step in taming quality was proposed by Walter Shewhart and Edward Deming’s process model [1]. Their quality cycle is now widely taught and has become an important part of the quality canon. But innovation has no corresponding model. Can we reach consensus on such a model for innovation? One step may be to propose models for discussion. Last year Lance Carlson, president of the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD), initiated a project (through ACAD’s Institute for the Creative Process) to create a “concept map” of innovation. The Institute worked with ACAD faculty, Dubberly Design Office, Paul Pangaro, and Nathan Felde to develop a series of models and published one as a poster. This article describes the published model and illustrates its development.

A Model of Innovation, March 2007. Dubberly Design Office prepared this 27-by-38-inch concept map as a project of the Institute for Creative Process at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD). Written and designed by Hugh Dubberly, Nathan Felde, and Paul Pangaro, additional design by Sean Durham and Ryan Reposar. Research by Satoko Kakihara and ACAD faculty Chris Frey, Wayne Giles, and Darlene Lee.

The model is a direct product of interactions among the team, but it is also the indirect product of interactions with several others who shared their insights with the authors, including Robin Bahr, Chris Conley, Peter Esmonde, Shelley Evenson, Michael Geoghegan, Fred Murrell, and Rick Robinson.

Please click the image below to download the full-size, printable .pdf file of the model."    (Continued via uiGarden)    [Usability Resources]

Innovation Model - Usability, User Interface Design

Innovation Model


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