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thomas dhaenens _ industrial engineer design _ 2010


I put together this Guide to Innovation together with my thesis. Some examples are from my research or design proces. It can be an example for new design processes within a company. The first page shows an index of the methodology that I used. This guide is made for INNOWIZ and BETAFENCE, the companies that I worked with for my thesis. The INNOWIZ 4-step-method makes any creative process transparent and tangible. The general creative process consists of four different stages: problem definition, idea generation, idea selection and idea communication. We present you the INNOWIZ database of creativity techniques: it is freely accessible via the web (open source), it is interactive and evolves continuously. In the database, you will find both analog and advanced interactive Web 2.0 tools. Creativity techniques stimulate creative thinking in individuals and in groups.

PROBLEM DEFINITION Define the playground of your problem, draw the box you want think out of. Become a specialist in this topic you are working on. Redefine things in a challenging way. Take a deep breath before you start...

ITERATION #1 (Acquaintance & Assignment) Internship, initial assignment, product range & market research, innovation climate, opportunities on the market (trends, personal interest), preparing a communication plan.

ITERATION #2 (Define research question) Research on existing concepts in the database of Betafence, first brainstorm about possible innovative products, development of the first specific research question.

ITERATION #3 (Refine research question) Place the new research question in question, brainstorm about space dividers, examination of existing innovative Betafence products, competitive research, choice of application on the basis of previous research and decision criteria, final research question with the application of temporary fencing.

ITERATION #4 (Research) Market research, mood board, Function and Attribute Analysis, user analysis, major sub-problems and criteria, project requirements & demands.

ITERATION #5 (Specific information for temporary fencing) Competitors, production processes, cost and product range of the current solution, patent research.

IDEA GENERATION Maximize your ideas.Aim for quantity. Improvise, move fast, change your point of view, zoom in and out and in again. Check your hair....

ITERATION #4 (Conceptgeneration) Method: morphological matrix, watch out for idea killers. Exploration concepts, combining concepts

ITERATION #5 (Exploration details) Exploration form, exporation technical details

BRAINSTORMSESSION (Managers, Customers, Product Development) A complete iteration of itself.

IDEA SELECTION Combine, enrich and develop ideas. Select the fittest ideas and rank them. Accept and let go...

ITERATION #4 (Selection) Selection concepts with the COCD box, selection of the final concept with selection matrix & plusses, potentials and concerns.

TECHNICAL DETAIL DRAWING AND FEASIBILITY STUDY IDEA COMMUNICATION Build a story, make it real, spread your vision. Excite your colleagues, look for partnerships. Relax for a while... Now move on to the next level...

FINAL DRAFT (Idea communication appears in all previous iterations) - Product Folder - Renders - Functional prototypes


define the playground of your problem draw the box you want think out of


acquaintance & mission statement


// assignment & project sheet After receiving the project assignment, it’s time to collect the necessary information. This is information about the company, sector, etc. Get an overview over the situation. What are the demands and wishes?

// boundary examination Now it is time to use the Boundary Examination tool. Find the key words of the assignment, and define these words. This may change for each individual assignment.

// what is innovation? What is innovation for you, and how do you want to implement it? What does the company want to achieve? How did the company innovate in the past? Use Wordle to put large texts into a word cloud.

// search for opportunities / trends // make a communication plan

define the research question


// previous concepts Are there previous concepts that can lead to new innovative concepts? What has already been explored and what routes are still open for exploration?

// first brainstorm Before doing any research, make mindmap of everything that comes to your mind, regarding the project assignment. Take no “no� for an answer and try to involve as many people as you can.

// first selection Use this mindmap to return to the project leader or manager. The project demands and wishes will help to make a decision on the route that can be followed. Using a SWOT analysis can be useful in this situation.

// redefine the assignment Now that you have examinated the boundaries of the initial assignment and explored the context of it, you can redefine the assignment. Make it so that you and your project leader understand every aspect of it.

refine the research question


// boundary examination Even though you’ve already explored the boundaries of the initial assignment, it is important to do this again. New aspects can lead to new insights.

// take a keyword & brainstorm Explore around the keywords on their own. This is the moment where no context is needed. U can use ‘chunking’ to find the bigger picture around a keyword.

// use problem definition tools During this ‘keyord-exploration’ proces, u can use some handy tools : ( These tools can be found on - Mindmapping : places everything in a clean overview - Chunking : see the bigger picture - Function and Attribute Analysis : defining function and context

- Wikimindmap & Visual Thesaurus : synonyms & links to other words

- Google patents : what has been invented regarding this keyword? - Function database and More inspiration (CREAX)

// define the final assignment Use the brainstorms and decision that followed to create the final assignment. This assignment is now based on opportunities and



// make a moodboard Try making a moodboard regarding your target costumer or the problem that needs to be solved. This will give you a graphical overview of the situation.

// make a 9 windows By making a ‘9 windows’ you can get an view over the context of your subject.

// make a function & attribute analysis Define the functions and attributes of your object / problem / context.

// define your target group // make a user analysis // set demands and wishes Make sure that your demands and wishes are SMART : - Specific - Measurable - Acceptabel - Realistic - Time Bound

specific research


// check competition What is the competition doing? Make sure that you are always a step ahead of the other companies.

// research on patents // research on production

// research on materials

// research on price

// research on durability // make your innovation strategy How are you going to beat the competition? What is your focus?

maximize your ideas, aim for quantity




// choose your method Depending on the assignment, you can choose your method to collect the ideas.

// avoid idea killers!

// use idea generation tools For more inspiration and creativity, you can use some idea generation tools. On, there are more then 30 tools to do this. Depenging on the assignment, context, emotion etc... you can choose a tool.

// work in team It is important to work in a multidisciplinair team when brainstorming. Try to invite costumers and suppliers, so the whole product life cycle and product usage can be implemented in the brainstormsessions.

detail exploration


// explore the technical aspects

// explore the design



Once a concept is chosen, the actual product development can start. The INNOWIZ methodology is important for creativity during concept brainstorms. Product development doesn’t include this methodology. This phase is company-based. What’s important is to keep the feasability of the product in mind at all times.

combine, enrich and develop ideas




// use the COCD box

The COCD box is a method for organising and selecting ideas. Use this method when you have a lot of concepts. The box will let you organise your ideas by reality & originality.

// use a selection matrix

// use + ? ! When the number of concepts is down to a few, you can use Plusses, Opportunities and Concerns. This gives you an overview of the strenghts and weaknesses of your concept.

build a story, make it real, spread your vision




USE COMMUNICATION Communication has to be used at any point of the design proces. Their are a lot of ways to communicate, so pick the one that is most suitable at that moment, or the one that you are best at.

// build a story Make a story around your product, this will make it easier to sell it. Also, if it is user centered, a storyboard can help visualising the interactions.

// use talking

Don’t become a lone inventor. Keep contact with your project leaders and team members, keep them up to date. But also, try to spread the word and don’t keep your ideas for yourself. Brainstorm with experts, but also with friends, family, ...

// use drawing

Drawing can give a quick view of what the product might be. This kind of communication is good to get feedback from your project leader or your costumer.

// use prototyping

Get a grip on your product. Drawings don’t tell everything. Try it out yourself by making quick prototypes, and later more precise ones.

// use the computer Keep the computer work for the last steps of the communication. This can be used for realistic renders or for powerful presentations.

Guide To Innovation  
Guide To Innovation  

A guide to innovation, based on the INNOWIZ methodology, made for BETAFENCE