Is there a secret behind most innovative design firms like IDEO, Frog or Cooper? Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific formula but a blend of methodologies, techniques, and culture.
The core process used by design firms has six basic steps:
- understand market, clients, technologies, processes, and problems;
- observe real life situations and get insights;
- ideate new solution
- visualise a new solution by physical models or prototypes;
- evaluate and refine prototypes;
- implement the new concept.
Create a great Team
It’s important to create a team with different capabilities and personalities. Team members need tangible goals, something that they can be proud of. A little pressure can help to achieve goals.
Unlike traditional marketing, research innovation starts by observing people in real life situations. It’s not about asking people what they want, it’s not people job to be visionaries. It’s about observing people and get insights. Don’t focus on average people but to the crazy ones who want to break the rules.
There are some rules to create a good brainstorming session:
- from 40 to 60 minutes is a good timing;
- start with a warm-up exercise;
- don’t lose time by critique or debate other ideas;
- never make fun of strange ideas;
- give a number to each idea;
- avoid bosses or manager to talk first.
A prototype is something that allows you to move ahead and reach part of the goal. Prototyping is a state of mind, it’s acting before knowing the answer, an interactive approach we can describe as: “build to learn”.
If a picture is better than a thousand words, a prototype is better than a thousand pictures
. T. Kelly
There is no finish line, you can always improve your prototypes, for this reason God invented clients who have budgets and deadlines.
It’s important to not be ashamed of a prototype, it’s not the final product but a step to understand how to move forward. Prototypes are the perfect tool to brake the rules and fail forward.
The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from Ideo, America’s Leading Design Firm. Tom Kelley.
Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. Tim Brown