Mårten Fornander is Product Design Director ID Malmö.
When you start up a new project, how do you generate new ideas? I always look at the user and the usage of the product, for me that is where it all starts. By understanding the user and the user needs the ideas starts popping, it is the hot bed for ideas. All the limitations like context, regulations and requirements are the catalyst or even the driving force sometime; I love to try to find the impossible solution. Innovating without framework is just fantasy; you need the limitations of the user-, business- and technical needs for real innovation to happen.
What is the relationship between innovation and improvement? If you look at the two types of innovation, disruptive and incremental, they work differently and are often driven by different forces.
From a product development perspective, if we make a 2ND generation of a product, we look at the new needs and requirements and then we improve the product from there. This is often called incremental innovations and are discovered step-by-step as you investigate, learn and understand more about the user needs and product usage and context.
However, when you anticipate and learn about the product you sometimes find a behavioral change or a technical- or business need that need a brand new solution, a disruptive innovation.
So, innovation and improvement can be the same, but at the same time not. A disruptive innovation is not an improvement; it is something groundbreaking and a totally new thing! A disruptive innovation can seem to be less valuable or not have as good a functionality as the original product or idea due to technical or other limitations. If you have anticipated and captured the user needs together with the strategic choices from business intelligence and technical possibilities, you will have a foundation for smart and profitable products with an excellent user experience. All you need is the guts to take the leap!
Looking for weak points early on saves time and effort later.
Is it possible to innovate under pressure? For a true innovation to come through it generally demands peace of mind, you need time to reflect. Many innovations come in from the side as the ideas mature. It is always important to include time in the project for ideations, alone and in the team, so that ideas have time to develop.
What do you think about mistakes in innovation? The longer you wait to make mistakes the more expensive it gets. It is important to prototype, explore the mistakes and look for weak points to put pressure on in order to refine the ideas and the final product. Looking for week points early on saves time and effort later.