Tuesday, 28 March 2017

How to Beat the #1 Creativity Crusher to Innovation: You

Next week at the world's biggest design event, Salone Del Mobile, Milan you might be overwhelmed by miles & miles of the best designers in the world thinking your firm isn't innovating because of your CFO's R&D spending attitude or your Board's risk averse ways. You might feel you can't compete but here's how top innovators beat that feeling:

1) It's all self doubt, so cut that out and you've beaten it. How?
2) Remember why you create and innovate in the 1st place
3) Take small steps. or you're going to kill yourself in the process
4) Marvel at others' talent - because someone's always "better" than your firm
5) Re-frame your self-doubt & make it a monster to be slain
6) Surround yourself with supportive people and focus on your teams capabilities
7) Celebrate all that you create
8) Talk to someone you trust not just people that you pay to work for you
9) Find what puts you and your firm in the creative zone. If it's beer, drink more, if it's outings to customers, take more. Feed the fire and it grows warmer
10) Just go for it.
11) And here is Margarita Tartakovsky's article to give you a bit more flavor. 

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Breaking the Design Fixation – It’s all in the Innovation Flow

Limitations are the basis for all finalized & developed output: engineering and economics cannot be ignored. But what about when this is exactly what you must avoid?  Here’s how.

As fully and perfectly detailed in Examining Design Fixation In Engineering Idea Generation: The Role Of Example Modality we see the basis of limitations placed on designers and engineers when R&D for new product development efforts are taking place. The limitations for this are therefore initially visual and quickly become functional based on the capability of the mechanisms used to produce said designs with the final limitations being placed by the economic ramifications of the manufacturing process.

What be comes apparent is the mechanisms and mentalities of the views that that the designers hold when the initial investigations of the typologies to be investigated are completed. Simply, what you see is the 1st limitation of the possible domains that you might investigate. By removing limitations from the 1st instances, the expectations become limitless and innovation is able to flow freely. Value is then a byproduct that cannot be ignored when breakthroughs are realized.

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Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Pixar’s 22 rules for any company’s new products

Recently we were asked, as all firms are, “what makes a good product?” and classically it’s nemesis, “what does ‘good’ really mean? The fact remains, this does not apply to products – it applies to anything? Why not ask the same of “perfect” characters and then apply it to “perfect” products. Pixar’s model then sprang to mind and the rules almost “perfectly” applied. 

     #1: You admire a character [product] for trying [designing] more than for their [the products] successes.

      #2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience [user], not what’s fun to do as a writer [designer]. They can be v. different.
   #3: Trying for theme [grand design vision] is important, but you won’t see what the story [users full experiences with the product] is actually about til you’re at the end of it [the product life cycle]. Now rewrite [and redesign for the full product lifecycyle].

     #4: Once upon a time there was ___ [product]. Every day, ___ [that product]. One day ___ [that product]. Because of that, ___ [the product]. Because of that, ___ [product]. Until finally ___ [the product was so loved that it was handed down from generation to generation]

     #5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters [functions where possible but not too much]. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

     #6: What is your character [product] good at, comfortable with? Throw [design for] the polar opposite at them [to happen with the product]. Challenge them. How do they [the product] deal [with strange use-cases]?

     #7: Come up with your ending [of how the product will break] before you figure out your middle [production]. Seriously. Endings [of a product life cycle] are hard, get yours working up front.

     #8: Finish your story [design], let go even if it’s not perfect [when working with engineering and production]. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time - [iterate for v2]

     #9: When you’re stuck [in a products design], make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next [be the best part of the design to loose]. Lots of times the material [manufacturing & production possibilities] to get you unstuck will show up [if you keep talking to your engineering and production] team.

     #10: Pull apart the stories [products] you like. What you like in them is a part of you [how you use the products]; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it [or design it for others].

     #11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea [product or design], you’ll never share it with anyone.

     #12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

     #13: Give your characters [products] opinions [a strong visual statement]. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write [design], but it’s poison to the audience [user as it makes for boring products].

     #14: Why must you tell [make] THIS story [product]? What’s the belief [desire] burning within you that your story [product] feeds off of? That’s the heart of it [and why someone will buy it]

     #15: If you were your character [user], in this situation, how would you feel [when you used & held the product]? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

    #16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character [product]. What happens if they [the product] don’t succeed? Stack the odds against [and design your way out of it failing.]

     #17: No work [design] is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on - it’ll come back around to be useful later [or in another situation].

     #18: You have to know yourself [and users who will use the product]: the difference between doing your best & fussing [over irrelevant details]. Story telling [designing] is testing, not refining.

     #19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating. – oddly there is no analog to this in product development

     #20: Take the building blocks of a movie [product] you dislike. How would you rearrange [the exact components] into [a design of] what you DO like?

    #21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters [products in the context of their use], you can’t just write [design] ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way [want to be ‘cool’ with the product you are designing?

     #22: What’s the essence of your story [product]? Most economical telling [production] of it? If you know that, you can [design, build and engineer] out from there. 

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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

McKinsey doesn't get it, but Google Does: Design Sprints

Design can be a trip to the Caribbean or a battle with Somali Pirates & that's been our last week here at iGNITIATE. How did we focus our clients? Ignoring McKinsey and embracing Google: Google Design Sprints in fact.

Google Ventures has been focusing on design, design thinking surrounding physical products like Google Glass and the Google Phone designed by Mike & Maaike as well as service design and UI design. Google has now started  publishing much of their design thinking models via the Google Design Labs. An overview of their process can be found here, and in typical sillicon valley fashion, design and even a disruptive design model - one we particularly are interested in. Want to know how they do it? Here's the summary:

1) PICK A BIG FIGHT - and when the problem is too simple expand it. Design thinking especially disruptive design thinking means looking at the whole picture?
2) GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE - and that means eyes and ears you don't normally bring around. Sing the same song all the time and you will never create Nirvana
3) SCHEDULE THE USER STUDY BEFORE YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO TEST - however this is where we disagree for in some situations and especially with expressive design, analysis paralysis is guaranteed the more exponential questions you ask
4)  FIND A FACILITATOR - necessary as an advocate in law situations yet sometimes limiting for true artistic or design art "breakthroughs"
5) PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR - keeping track is again against the design ethos of the design artists however for corporate "user centric" and "co-creation" better known as customer centric design this keeps things moving and people accountable
6) GATHER THE INGREDIENTS - paper, pencils, etc., and this is more for those managing as design artists can make it all happen with a crayon and newsprint if that's all there is

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