INNOVATION Spring 2018: Innovation On Innovation

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Innovation On Innovation DESIGNFUL







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INNOVATION ON INNOVATION FEATURES 21 Design in the Context of Innovation 19 IDSA Sketchbook By Brian Roderman, FIDSA Sponsored by 3M

Guest Editor

22 Crossing the Chasm By Brian Roderman, FIDSA, and Luke Jordan, IDSA

26 Innovation on a Wednesday Morning By Raleigh Gresham

30 Meeting the Mobility Demands of the Future By Todd Summe

46 Dinnerware You Can Print: Dine with Design By Herb Velazquez, IDSA

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 Chair’s Report By Megan Neese, IDSA

7 IDSA HQ By Chris Livaudais, IDSA

8 From the Editor

34 Why It’s Insights, Not Ideas, By Mark Dziersk, FIDSA That Truly Drive Innovation: The Innovation Myth 11 Design Defined By Jonathan Dalton, IDSA

37 The Art of Collaboration By Luke Jordan, IDSA, and Kate Whitney, S/IDSA

IDSA AMBASSADORS 3M Design, St. Paul, MN Cesaroni Design Associates Inc., Glenview, IL; Santa Barbara, CA Covestro, LLC North America, Pittsburgh, PA Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, TN Crown Equipment, New Bremen, OH Dell, Round Rock, TX McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd., Chicago, IL Metaphase Design Group Inc., St. Louis, MO Pip Tompkin Design, Los Angeles, CA Samsung Design America, San Francisco, CA TEAGUE, Seattle, WA THRIVE, Atlanta, GA Tupperware, Orlando, FL

By Scott Stropkay

13 Beautility

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By Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA

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15 A Look Back

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By Tsai Lu Liu, IDSA

41 Brainstorming Tools 45 Book Review Begetting Brainstorming By Mark Dziersk, FIDSA Tools By Daily Gist

42 The Experience Revolution By Brian Roderman, FIDSA, and Kate Whitney, S/IDSA

Left: Dine with Design. See p. 46.


Innovation On Innovation DESIGNFUL







Cover: Getty Images / Olaf Herschbach / EyeEm

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INNOVATION is the quarterly journal of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), the professional organization serving the needs of US industrial designers. Reproduction in whole or in part—in any form—without the written permission of the publisher is prohibited. The opinions expressed in the bylined articles are those of the writers and not necessarily those of IDSA. IDSA reserves the right to decline any advertisement that is contrary to the mission, goals and guiding principles of the Society. The appearance of an ad does not constitute an endorsement by IDSA. All design and photo credits are listed as provided by the submitter. INNOVATION is printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks. The use of IDSA and FIDSA after a name is a registered collective membership mark. INNOVATION (ISSN No. 0731-2334 and USPS No. 0016-067) is published quarterly by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)/INNOVATION, 555 Grove St., Suite 200, Herndon, VA 20170. Periodical postage at Sterling, VA 20164 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to IDSA/INNOVATION, 555 Grove St., Suite 200, Herndon, VA 20170, USA. ©2018 Industrial Designers Society of America. Vol. 37, No. 1, 2018; Library of Congress Catalog No. 82-640971; ISSN No. 0731-2334; USPS 0016-067.

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e’re wrapping up our first quarter of the year, and the first under the leadership of Chris Livaudais as our Interim Executive Director. It’s been a quick few months, but lots of progress has already begun. In January, Chris facilitated an allhands strategic planning session with the IDSA HQ team and Board of Directors, the first of such collaborations in over a decade. Starring at walls of Post-it clusters, whiteboard maps and sketches on butcher paper, I realized, like everyone else in the room, that we’re a small team spread pretty thin. One particular map of was full of Post-it Notes, each representing an individual IDSA initiative, some of which, I (embarrassingly) had never even heard of. Did you know that this year we will have Student Merit Awards for graduate students? Or that we have a “Bookshelf” section on our website featuring books written by our members and other design-related publications? What all of this means in practice is that to make everything happen, each of us too often is running alone. Taking the time to work cross-functionally is something we can easily forget to do, but as the first major initiative of both the HQ team and Board this year, we’re committing to doing (fewer) big projects together. This decision is just in time for the incoming Board, which was restructured for exactly this type of agile work. Last year we passed a transformative governance policy restructuring the scale of focus of the Board to promote functional diversity. We added new standing expert advisory positions in branding, advocacy and fundraising. We elected a treasurer with an MBA who works professionally as a vice president of finance. We have two candidates running for Sections with the specific intent of bringing new interdisciplinary thinking to the topic; neither are former Section Chairs. We have an organizational change expert running the Design Foundation. We have an even split between IDSA lifers and leaders from the outside world who are new to

IDSA. Policy change can feel dry to talk about, but right out of the gate this has impacted the makeup of the 2018 Board. Thank you for supporting this move. It was a big risk; the variety of expertise and experience on this team is profoundly different from Boards of the past. Another notable change in the upcoming Board is the engagement we are seeing from a new generation of design leaders, similar to the statistics of women graduating from industrial design programs at the same rate as men. The number of women on the Board is at parity for the first time, too. Six of the nine upcoming directors are women. Also six of the nine upcoming directors are less than 40 years old. We still have a lot to do to match the racial diversity of Gen Z, but this, too, will be something we can stay aware of and do more to support. We are at a point of generational convergence in how we are represented. I believe this will help us to address some of our greatest organizational challenges. How do we compete for the time and attention of industrial designers in the digital world? How do we support industrial designers as they navigate new types of career paths? How do we measure up to some of our competitors who are for-profit tech companies with teams of developers and millions of dollars to spend? Indicators of these changes are here already. This year is the first year of the IDEA rebranding coming to life. The upcoming International Design Conference marks an extraordinary evolution in IDSA’s approach to conferences. For starters, it will be held in a former sugar mill rather than a hotel ballroom and will feature two amazing emcees, John Maeda and Debbie Millman. The planning team has been utilizing service design methodologies to map and reimagine the attendee experience. I know it is only the end of the first quarter, but so far this year has been inspiring. Change has been in the works for some time now, and it is starting to come to life in a way that is very tangible. I hope you can increasingly see it, too! —Megan Neese, IDSA, IDSA Board of Directors Chair






et’s be honest, “innovation” is a word used by many people and businesses with a bit too much freewheeling abandon. Often, it’s thrown out just to fill space or maybe to signal the intent of being forward looking, exploratory or cutting edge. What’s missing is the reflection that the impact of true of innovation is real and that the process of getting there is anything but easy. IDSA has used the word INNOVATION as the title of this publication for 36 years. It’s become part of our DNA and is in no way attached to fads in corporate jargon or empty rhetoric. We, like you, know what it takes to be truly innovative, and we relish the opportunity to celebrate the groundbreaking work of designers across the world with each issue. Internally, IDSA also takes innovation very seriously. We are actively working to embody the creative spirit observed in our membership time and time again. One of my overarching goals as Interim Executive Director is to rebuild the culture and processes of the Society itself. We have a tremendous team of talented and dedicated individuals working behind the scenes who maintain the clockwork necessary to keep the organization moving. By becoming a designful organization and embracing the methodologies of

design in our decision-making and service delivery, we can better serve the unique needs of this great institution. Many forces now push and pull at IDSA (and many other organizations like ours) in ways not seen even five years ago. The battle for attention, time and dollars is very real. Service expectations are heightened, and demand for real return on experience translates directly to the value of membership. We see this struggle and acknowledge that we might not have lived up to our promises in the past. Looking forward, it only makes sense that an organization that exalts design to the level we do truly lives the words we preach. By incorporating a creative spirit of ideation and iteration without fear of failure, we will be better suited to respond quicker and more appropriately to the rapidly changing needs of our members. By keenly focusing our attention on our community, we can best deliver a membership experience that clearly demonstrates the value of participation. And finally, by improving our touchpoints—both physical and digital—you will have unparalleled access to information, community and opportunity like never before. This, I believe, is innovation. It’s a process and a strategy at the same time. It’s an active effort and an unrelenting commitment to improvement. —Chris Livaudais, IDSA, Interim Executive Director I N N O V AT I O N S P R I N G 2 0 1 8





inston Churchill famously once said, “We shape our spaces and thereafter they shape us.” Apple and Disney were both started in a garage. So was HP. But even more than the environment that enabled them, they were shaped by a mindset. Let’s call that intentional creation of an environment of innovation space. Combine this intent with the ambition to see it through and face the adversity that comes along with making mistakes and learning from them. It turns out that innovation requires courage as well. Plus, the ambition to make something not just good but rather extraordinary and unexpected. So if all the above is true, then Space + Courage + Shine = Innovation.



Space The renowned author Clayton Christensen suggests that the key to future success in business is through disruptive innovation. That companies must possess the proper structure in order to innovate repeatedly and retain competitive advantage. In other words, to innovate it is not enough to just create and nurture an environment of innovation; the organization itself must be structured with the same intention. This means reporting structures as well as the lack thereof as appropriate. The creative genius, the mad scientist, the inspired rouge designer—these stereotypes mask the truth that innovation is a team sport. And when teams are properly enabled, they produce better results. They need the right environment, the right kind of innovation space within which they can do their best work. Courage If you are in a leadership position in a company, it’s time to do more than talk about thinking differently; it’s time to act differently. This means new methods of approaching problems for sure, but it also means a new attitude toward accepting risk. Businesses are mostly designed to mitigate risk. Someone once said that each business is perfectly designed to achieve the results it gets. See, the thing is, without risk, smart risk, the environment where risk and, yes, even failure is permitted, businesses do not achieve the reward.

I have developed an axiom that looks like this: C + R = RI. Creativity + Risk = Reward. Students in the grad course I instruct for five weeks each year at Northwestern University will be very familiar with this equation. Their grades are dependent on not just the amount of creativity they bring to assignments, but also the amount of risk they take. So, if a business is not getting the results it wants, it’s time to shake things up. Both change and the opportunity it presents are an imperative to create impact in a world hungry for innovative ideas. Shine The world that businesses are competing in is changing and becoming increasingly more competitive. Products and services are simply better than they were before. Good design is everywhere, and true, noticeable, transformational innovation is being executed at higher levels than ever before. This is not to say that incremental innovation is not important. We clearly need a combination of the two. Apple is a great example: breakthrough products that are then made better and kept relevant through incremental improvements. Incremental, or foundational, innovation also results in platforms—solid launch pads for new ideas that are built on systems thinking.

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Shine is the idea of quality magnified. Is what we are putting out not just good but great? Does it shine? Is it special? Is it great for the user, great for the environment, great for society, distinct, suitable, repeatable? Great ideas go beyond business and, in fact, are even more influential when, whether they are a result of breakthrough or incremental innovation, they help our world and everyone who lives in it. When innovation performs at this level it literally and figuratively shines and it gets noticed; it gets attention. According to the Wikipedia entry for “innovation,” it can be induced by many circumstances: “It can occur as a result of a focused effort by a range of different agents, by chance, or as a result of a major system failure. According to renowned business expert Peter F. Drucker, the general sources of innovations are different changes in industry structure, in market structure, in local and global demographics, in human perception, mood and meaning, in the amount of already available scientific knowledge, etc.”

So basically, innovation covers everything, right? Innovation can be renovation, the answer to consternation, the cure for mental constipation. Innovation also has many adjacent soldiers serving its interest: change, alteration, revolution, upheaval, transformation, metamorphosis, reorganization, restructuring, variation. Innovation is hard and requires enormous energy, but like any habit, once you fall into it, it becomes known, repeatable, routine. The muscle that grows from risk taking—fueled by courage—encourages taking even more risk, and along with smart risk taking and creative ideas usually comes reward. All it takes is the space, the courage and the relentless pursuit of quality. I know what you might be thinking. Finally, it’s about time. Right? This journal has been called INNOVATION since the beginning of time, and we’ve finally gotten around to an issue on well…innovation. For this ambitious mission we needed someone up to the task. We called upon one of IDSA’s most excellent practitioners of the genre, the brilliant and dedicated Brian Roderman. Brian is a long-time IDSA contributor and principal of a company dedicated to the pursuit of innovation in all three of the dimensions I outline above. I know you will enjoy and learn from the articles this talented pool of writers has provided for this issue of INNOVATION on innovation. Thank you, Brian. Enjoy the issue, challenge the thinking and let me hear from you. —Mark Dziersk, FIDSA, INNOVATION Executive Editor




+ Courage + Shine = Innovation




he history of industrial design is fascinating and important, but I’ve never been happy with the term “industrial” because it confuses more people than it helps. I’ve found that it is only helpful to people who know there are different applied arts disciplines and wish to distinguish between communications design, user experience design, exhibit design, interior design, service design, etc. Post-Industrial. There is another reason I don’t like the term “industrial”: Great designers cross boundaries and it’s not accurate or beneficial to describe them in such a narrow

way. For instance, world-renowned designer Ray Eames studied expressionist painting while her husband Charles studied architecture. Each worked across multiple design disciplines, and one could argue that their film work like The Powers of 10 and their exhibit design work like Mathematica and their work as educators at Cranbrook were as important as their industrial (primarily furniture) design work. In fact, most of the industrial designers I know apply their creativity across disciplines, so I prefer to define the work they do as simply design. Design is a holistic process of creating better things whether that be physical or digital products, experi-

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ences, services or systems. And great designers, like the Eames, are creative problem solvers who focus their energy on improving all manner of human experience. Applied Artists. As many of us found our way to design through the fine arts door in elementary or high school, it is important to frame the similarities and differences between fine art and applied art. (I’ll focus on the visual arts, but the argument can be made for the performing arts as well.) Designers are applied artists. Designers apply their creativity in the pursuit of goals that address issues beyond the more focused mission of making a personal statement in their work. They are also typically focused on a user need or usability problem. They must address cost and other constraints. And they typically address other stakeholders’ needs in their work. The applied artist also uses different materials—the materials and processes of mass production—to reach broader audiences very quickly. Unlike a fine artist, an applied artist’s mindset is many, not one, and the definition for success is multifaceted. But despite these differences, the similarities between fine and applied art are far more important. Great fine art is considered great because the artist was pushing boundaries to say something that was important and often controversial at the time. And the works are compelling because they express those messages more clearly or more powerfully than all works before it. Those fine artists made important statements: sometimes about the church, including Leonardo da Vinci when he created fine art; sometimes about the rise of reason and philosophy, like Jacques-Louis David and his Age of Enlightenment contemporaries; sometimes about what it meant to depict light, as Monet and the Impressionists did; and sometimes about life as art, like Andy Warhol and his group of collaborators. The point

Photos courtesy of the Novi, MI Community School District, Frog Force Robotics Team 503, Novi Public Library and the Enable Project.



is that artists use their medium to say something important in order to affect the viewer in a particular way. That goal is shared by designers. Designing Better Outcomes. While both artists and designers share a passion for creating something that is better than its precedents, the criteria for defining better differs significantly for the two groups. Better for the designer typically means creating an improved solution to a user or human problem. In his Beautility column for INNOVATION, Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA, reminds us of the importance of creating beauty while simultaneously addressing wide-ranging utility goals, cost constraints and other project criteria. “Better” expressed in Tucker’s terms highlights the value of joy and meaning that can be delivered by beautiful things and experiences while the designer addresses other needs, like improving safety or increasing efficiency. But that doesn’t capture the idea of better completely. In essence, the things we design are really only tools created in service to a bigger idea: a healthier person, a better relationship, a safer world, a means to achieve self-actualization or perhaps a way to see things in a truer light. The real purpose of design is to affect outcomes; therefore, an outcome orientation has to be part of the definition. To Inspire. And that leads me to what I believe is the quintessential mission of design: to inspire others. To design is to question, wonder, gather, imagine, order, balance and build. Great design, great designers and great design educators inspire others with their work and interactions. To me, design is not only human-centered; it is what being human means. I’ll admit that “post-industrial applied artists designing better outcomes to inspire” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but I can say one thing for sure: I want to work with and be inspired by designers who define design like that! —Scott Stropkay, Partner, Essential Design,




et’s remember how important truth is. George Washington may not have actually told his father “I cannot tell a lie,” but the principle is true. Truth is the foundation of democracy and collaboration. Designers are experts in the truth business sector. When we translate dreams into reality, we have to know the difference! When ideas are transformed into something concrete and I show up at the meeting with a real model, I feel like the mythical Washington. It can’t lie. It’s not a dream. Reality is the kind of communication you can’t argue with, giving us shared truths that are the basis for explanations, understanding, compromise and progress. Verifiable, indisputable, real, actual, factual—these criteria make something generally accepted as true. People may have different views on what is beautiful, but truth is easier to pin down. Seeing reality from different angles is what makes it more true! The scientific method is not just experiments in a lab; it is an iterative design process— repeat the experiments, check and recheck the hypothesis until it is established as true. Scientists are happy when they prove a new hypothesis. Then when they discover new evidence, scientists are the first to challenge the old theory. We know there will always be better answers. Poking holes is a place to find opportunities. Buddha said, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” Research is looking for the truth. Whether you’re working in a library or observing phenomenon or real users, the design process requires research to ground the project. Designers are proud of their ability to pull insights from subjects that normal focus-group facilitators overlook, because our curious minds are looking for the truth behind every curtain. In this era when fiction is king, truth seems to be riding in the backseat (maybe hanging onto the bumper!). We should take this opportunity to study how misinformation and disinformation work and understand how the truth is bent and what the consequences of cutting the safety cord to reality mean. What can we learn from the masters

of bending reality? Look at how magicians use distraction and misdirection to pull off their tricks. Even exploring myths and legends is a way of getting to the essence of the truth. Designers are not innocent; we exaggerate and cover up mistakes. (I suppose that patching up mistakes on models with Bondo is a form of lying.) Lies are more than the opposite of truth; a lie is meant to intentionally mislead, usually to protect yourself or to exaggerate the benefits or minimize the faults of something. We make snappy renderings to seduce clients (knowing that at some point we’ll have to get real). The bottom line is that lies take more effort and they compound. George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth and newspeak are the most sinister form of lying because disinformation causes confusion, doubt and distraction. “The most effective forms of censorship today involve meddling with trust,” wrote Zeynep Tufecki in Wired. “As we drown in more speech than ever. . . Creating a knowledgeable public requires at least some workable signals that distinguish truth from falsehood.” There are facts and reality. Fantasy is useful as long as we don’t pretend to believe it. Hopefully truth triumphs. Sometimes it takes too long, like during the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Hunts and the Holocaust. A product based on misconceptions and delusions is bound for failure. It is easy to seduce people with made-up stories, which don’t have to coincide with real events or align with true life—in fact, fantastic exaggeration makes better propaganda. Truth is always battling myths, preconceptions, stereotypes and magic. A firm dose of reality eventually turns the tide. Reality-based truth has a long shelf life—but so does the Big Lie. This is not fake news. It’s not just a question of ethics; truth, like beauty, has value and is functional. Conventional wisdom gives us the tools to understand and explain things to each other. People do see the same thing in different ways. Although heavy philosophy from Kant and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle are a good debate, regular people literally do have different points of view. That’s why truth needs to go with understanding. Diverse empirical

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evidence—what we sense with our eyes, ears, fingers, nose and tongues—always trumps fiction when everyone sees the same thing! We hold these truths to be self-evident. Whatever anyone says about truth, designers take a sensible approach when form follows function! For designers, it’s a practical issue—we need to find the truth before we reshape it and then we need to see how the new truth actually works and what it means. We need reality checks. Prototypes are so important; by acting out the strategist’s and the business’s ideas, issues become real. Seeing is believing. Then the project can be built on a firm foundation instead of smoke and mirrors. PS: don’t be seduced by renderings that look too real (although it seems like we are headed for a Photoshopped, synthesized, vocorded, augmented utopia). Making things easy and less complicated necessitates hiding the mechanism. Technology is buried in smart products and disappears into the internet of things—it’s impossible to tell where the experience begins and ends. Like Donald Rumsfeld pointed out: “There are known unknowns. … But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” How much of a real touchstone does virtual reality require? When we lose control of what we know, how will we find our real reality? Proof will be buried in the software. Truth needs to be the reality check, or will it fade away like the gold standard for our paper money? Just like the rules of a game, truth grounds discourse. Richard Saul Wurman, the founder of

TED, said, “In the future, the truth will be our most valuable commodity.” Truth needs universal appreciation. Why do you think printers insist on making a proof before the job goes to press? The human mind is not a real environment; people get ideas in their heads, and, like dreams (OK, they are dreams), they exist in their own reality and can have their own logic. So when you wake up and try to draw that thing you were dreaming of, you realize how the legs can’t line up like that or the motor can’t fit in there. Ideas can be crazy—they don’t have to make sense until we want to actually bring them into the real world. It’s why sketching is so critical: Drawing is a quick reality check, a way to pump a little reality into ideas. One of the critical things we learn in school is how to see. George Nelson wrote a whole book about it. Visual literacy is being able to decode nonverbal messages. Literacy is the bedrock on which all modern societies rest. As design students we learned to see the world in ways others might and to read our work—to look beyond our assumptions to see what our designs really look like instead of what we wish they did. “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom,” wrote Thomas Jefferson. It may be complicated, but designers are always on a quest for truth and beauty! Like Einstein’s work with time and space, I bet there is a unified field theory that explains how truth and beauty are the same and the key driver of good design! —Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA






t was 12:30 a.m. on January 1, 2018, and after watching the New Year’s Eve TV programs full of commercials advertising smartphones and IoT/VR/AI devices, I fell asleep reading Design Thinking for the Greater Good. The authors, Jeanne Liedtka, Randy Salzman, and Daisy Azer, tell stories about how collaborative creativity can change healthcare, education, agriculture, transportation, social services, and other fields. I gathered, being a design educator, that I should continue to challenge the students to transcend the conventional boundaries of the profession of industrial design. In the middle of the night, the Skype on my iPad woke me up. I heard a soft but firm voice, “Are you Professor Liu of NC State University’s School of Design?” Still trying to wake up, I replied “This is Liu, but the School of Design was renamed the College of Design in 2000. May I ask who I am speaking with?” What the calm voice said next completely electrified me. “This is Ron Mace.” Holding back my surprise, I asked, “Are you THE Ron Mace, the NC State architecture graduate who used a wheelchair and who founded the Center for Universal Design that started a worldwide movement of inclusive design? But, I thought—” Ron spoke before I started stuttering. “I know, I passed away two years before the School’s name change.” He continued, “I am on a speakerphone, in a space higher above you, with Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy.” My stuttering really kicked in. “Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy? Two of the founding fathers of American industrial design? Raymond was featured on the cover of Time magazine and Henry was the first president of IDSA!” Overwhelmed, I heard Loewy, with his distinctive French accent, say, “You know, my team designed the Studebaker automobiles that were greatly admired for their styling. Are industrial designers creating such beautiful products today?”

I answered, “Mr. Loewy, thanks to you, many executives in corporate America learned that industrial designers can make their products more visually pleasing to attract more customers and to create competitive advantages. However, since you departed the scene, many designers have also realized that visual experience, even though crucial, is just one of the comprehensive, multilayered human experiences that triggers people’s purchasing decisions. Many designers are now collaborating with psychologists, anthropologists and marketing researchers to develop beautiful, delightful and meaningful product and service experiences that advance the quality of life and enhance businesses’ bottom line. More and more designers are now corporate executives leading the innovation and customer experience endeavors of many Fortune 500 companies such as Apple, IBM, Pepsi and the Fifth Third Bank. More and more leading business schools, such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale and Carnegie Mellon, are teaching design thinking to business students, following the successful examples of major engineering schools.” There was a moment of silence after my comments before I heard Loewy say, “I am pleased to know that these days designers are not only shaping products but also embodying customer experience for companies. Henry, I think you might like what you just heard.” I was holding my breath. Even though Loewy and Dreyfuss were both pioneers of industrial design from the 1930s through the 1960s, I had heard stories of their open competitiveness and conflicting views regarding design. Loewy was more focused on visual appeal while Dreyfuss was more user centered in his orientation. It was a relief that they seemed to be on the same page in this higher plane of existence. “It must have been a challenging but rewarding journey for industrial designers to expand their horizon from the visual to the physical, psychological, emotional

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Emma Wegmiller


and cultural landscapes of people,” said Dreyfuss with his deep, well-paced voice. “When we were working on an alarm clock, I pretended to be a clerk behind the counter at a department store to gain first-hand understanding of shoppers’ perspectives.” I remembered this story, written in Henry’s book Designing for People, published more than 60 years ago, but still surprisingly relevant and inspiring today. Henry opened the book with his office’s credo: “We bear in mind that the object being worked on is going to be ridden in, sat upon, looked at, talked into, activated, operated, or in some other way used by people individually or en masse. When the point of contact between the product and the people



become a point of friction, then the industrial designer has failed. On the other hand, if people are made safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient—or just plain happier—by contact with the product, then the designer has succeeded.” It’s interesting that many designers today are using the term “pain points” very similarly to Dreyfuss’ “point of contact” or “point of friction,” to describe the problem areas identified during user empathetic studies. It’s also refreshing to note that Dreyfuss’ statements philosophically embraced a nascent concept of designing for the total experience of users and customers, reaching beyond the visual and manufacturability focus of most industrial designers of his era.

We bear in mind that the object being worked on is going to be ridden in, sat upon, “ looked at, talked into, activated, operated, or in some other way used by people individually or en masse. When the point of contact between the product and the people become a point of friction, then the industrial designer has failed.

I was excited by Dreyfuss’ comments: “Henry, with all the latest technologies, such as high-resolution action cameras, wireless biosensors, voice and facial recognition, eyetracking, brain scanning and drones, collecting empathetic insights from users is much easier than during your career. In addition, the combination of powerful artificial intelligence and data analytics enables deep understanding of both the physical and psychological experience of the individual user, not just users en masse.” I said that while I appreciate and use his revolutionary Joe and Josephine anthropological charts drawn by Alvin Tilley, each individual has unique physiological, psychological, cultural, and social aspects— more complicated than the 1, 50, and 99 percentile diagrams presented in these early charts. After listening to the conversation for a while, Ron Mace gave a long sigh and said, “Speaking of design for people as individuals, many designers before my time designed for the masses without thoughtful consideration of people with special needs or limited abilities.” Mace reminded me of his last public speech in 1998: “We tend to discount people who are less than what we popularly consider to be ‘normal.’ To be ‘normal’ is to be perfect, capable, competent, and independent. Unfortunately, designers in our society also mistakenly assume that everyone fits this definition of ‘normal.’ This just is not the case.” I responded that I think this is still true today. Mace continued after a pause, “I was diagnosed with polio when I was 9 years old. Instead of following the doctor’s instructions to send me to an institution, my parents brought me home and carried me wherever I needed to go, including getting up and down the stairs at school. My wheelchair didn’t fit into my bathroom at home. In college, I couldn’t get to any of my classrooms unassisted. When I started a job as an architect, I had to commute from my parents’ house in a different city more than 30 miles away because I couldn’t find an accessible apartment.” I briefly got lost thinking about all the challenges he had to face as a wheelchair user at a time when it was the norm to overlook anyone with different needs. “I worked in the traditional lines of architecture for several years and this included teaching some drafting classes at a community

college,” he said. “I worked with lots of other architects and was hoping this was where I could sneak my ideas of ‘accessible design’ into the minds of those drafting and onto the offices doing the design. I soon was asked to help write new building codes for North Carolina, including accessible features. These codes were eventually adopted into the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. With the ADA, public facilities became accessible to people not only in wheelchairs like me but also to people pushing baby strollers, walkers, ambulance stretchers, delivery carts, and even hauling their luggage.” Before I had the courage to mention that Congress is currently considering a bill to impose significant limitations to the ADA, a major setback to the progress of our society, Loewy interjected. “The ADA became law after my years in practice, but I remember seeing many of the accessible designs. They might serve the purposes of their audience, but they were not visually pleasing, not to mention being beautiful or attractive. Many of these designs, from architecture to products, seemed to add the accessibility features after the designs had been completed.” I agreed with Loewy. “Many people must enter a public facility using the ramp or freight elevator in the very back of the building, instead of the front entrance like other people. Many products look very institutional simply because of they are designed for people with special needs. I conducted a survey a few years ago and found that 32 percent of people with disabilities and 28 percent of senior citizens hesitated to buy a product that is functional for their age or physical limitations if it makes them feel self-conscious.” Then Mace commented, “The ADA focuses on disability and accommodating people with disabilities in the environment. Universal or inclusive design, on the other hand, broadly defines the user. Its focus is not specifically on people with disabilities, but all people.” This again reminded me of Mace’s last presentation in which he emphasized that the whole concept of universal or inclusive design is not to single out any individual because of disability or age. Different in spirit from the ADA, universal and inclusive design is put into place so the widest range of people can use the same entrance to get into a building,

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use the same products to make dinner and participate in the same program together. Dreyfuss, having listened to this exchange, spoke up. “When I pretended to be a sales clerk, I was intrigued by not just the physical and visual points of contact, but also the behavioral and psychological interactions between the users and the products. I am sincerely happy to know that designers have made tremendous progress in terms of designing for the comprehensive and total experience of users, taking advantage of the latest technologies, collaborating with people from different disciplines. However, I am curious if designers continue to make progress in being more inclusive in their design practice and if they are more sensitive to the needs of the older population or the people with disabilities.” I was somewhat embarrassed when I heard Dreyfuss’ question. I felt the dead air in the conversation. The world population is aging rapidly. The number of people age 60 years and over is expected to more than double by 2050 and to more than triple by 2100. One billion people, or 15 percent of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. I don’t think anyone in corporate America or business schools would or should overlook the increasing importance of these market. I said to this trio, “As designers, we have made significant progress, but we still have a long way to go to, through design, to make our society more welcoming and inclusive to all people. With the latest technology and information systems, designers are more empowered, but I think we haven’t done enough to enhance design inclusiveness. We should explore more deeply the total human experience and expand beyond traditional design boundaries. We should have—” The more I said, the more nervous and guilty I became. Suddenly, I heard my iPhone’s alarm ringing. I opened my eyes and saw the morning sun shining through my bedroom window. I tried to make sense of my Skype conversation with the three design giants whose shoulders we are standing on. It was the first morning of 2018. As designers, we should remain optimistic and ambitious. We have many important challenges ahead! —By Tsai Lu Liu, IDSA Professor of Industrial Design and Head of the Department of Graphic and Industrial Design at North Carolina State University



Is your design team growing? IDSA now offers group membership. Downloadable Sketchbook Printing Instructions What You Need 8.5x11 sheet of paper

Right: This mini-sketchbook was created with support from 3M to help Printer educate a new generation as to “What Is ID?” It is just one tool IDSA is Scissors using to raise awareness about the profession of industrial design. Stapler Step 1 Print PDF on both sides of your paper (print duplex, “short edge”, “center” page position)

Front Side

Back Side

Step 2 Fold paper in half

Step 3 Cut along the dotted line

Fold here

Cut Here

Step 4 Line up interior pages inside the cover page

Step 5 Open, add a staple and share!

Staple Here

Jose Gamboa, IDSA, TRUPER, US Division

Hector Silva, IDSA, University of Notre Dame

Are you excited to learn more? Visit us at

Most of all, have fun!

Sheng-Hung Lee, I/IDSA, Sheng-Hung Lee Design

Cover art by Jeff Smith, IDSA, Autodesk

In this book, we have collected sketches from industrial designers which you can use as inspiration for your own designs. Add some color to create a powerful rendering or use the empty space to sketch your own ideas.

Illustration by You, Future Industrial Designer

We also encourage our members to highlight ID and its career possibilities to middle and high school students; support design scholarships, Student Merit Awards and educator recognition; and shine a global spotlight on innovations by college students and others through the International Design Excellence AwardsÂŽ (IDEA). IDSA also leads National Industrial Design Day on March 5 every year to get the word out about ID!

Industrial designers draw a lot. Renderings are the main tool they use to visualize an idea and communicate their design to other people on the development team.


The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) has thousands of members in dozens of student and professional chapters. We’re a nonprofit membership association that promotes industrial design education; hosts regional conferences at top universities and design schools so students, faculty and ID experts can collaborate, and holds an annual Education Symposium where the latest topics in design learning are shared.

Industrial Design is the professional practice of designing products used by millions of people around the world every day. Industrial designers not only focus on the appearance of a product, but also on how it functions, is manufactured and ultimately the value it provides for users.

Use This Book!

Who are We?

What is Industrial Design?

This issue of INNOVATION is about just that: innovation. Together we will address strategies, identify key players and take on multi-industry perspectives on the state of innovation in business today.



fter 30 years in design and innovation consulting, I have come to believe that innovation deserves a methodology and a process all to itself. Most importantly, there is a time for strategic thinking, a time for operational understanding and a time for tactical doing—and each phase is critical to delivering the right solution to market. The key to success is understanding when and how you work in each mindset. Designers are primed and trained to solve complex problems and think divergently, yet in many boardrooms across America, company executives do not utilize design in the context of their innovation. As designers, it is up to us to challenge this perspective. To this purpose, this issue features contributions from leaders in the fields of design, along with those who have a different focus outside our industry. You’ll get a chance to hear a balanced viewpoint from multiple perspectives, including some, in fact, that contradict our own philosophies. It is my hope that by sharing varied voices in a common forum, we can begin to elevate the dialogue of design in the context of innovation. To get the conversation started, we will do some innovation level setting. We’ll begin with a primer on some foundational elements for defining and deploying innovation in organizational settings. Once we have shared our perspective on the foundations of innovation, you’ll get a balanced point of view on innovation from the business, technology and user perspectives in articles from Raleigh Gresham, a business innovation specialist; Todd Summe, a leader in the technical R&D world; and a strong viewpoint on insights from Jonathan Dalton, IDSA. We will also share some tips and tricks for better collaboration with balanced teams. You’ll then go behind the scenes with Newell Brands, makers of brainstorming tools like Sharpie and EXPO Markers. Finally, this issue wraps with a feature on the future of innovation and the next wave: the experience revolution. I know that I’ve been personally blessed in my career to be firmly rooted in both the industrial design community and the progressive innovation initiatives that circle around it. It is my hope that this issue helps open further dialogue about our role in the innovation sphere and continues to push our boundaries into the unknown so that we can all continue to create what is ahead of us. —Brian Roderman, FIDSA, Guest Editor and President, IN2 Innovation

By Brian Roderman, FIDSA, and Luke Jordan, IDSA n


he days of the lone inventor toiling away in their garage to build the next big thing are gone. Modern innovation happens in multidisciplinary teams that represent all types of people and roles.

aesthetics, work flow and feel. This is practiced in methodologies like qualitative research, design thinking and human-centered design, which are intended to represent the user in the organization. But in innovation, the picture looks different. The user wants are still a priority, but the innovator must balance them


Balanced Innovation First, let’s focus on the traditional role of the designer. In the design process, the primary focus is the user—on the needs and wants of those receiving (or using) our product or service. Typically, designers are trained to build and protect the user of the solution or system. We tend to focus on human concerns like pain points, usability,

Innovation lives at the balance point of business needs, technology targets and user wants.



against the company’s overall strategies and priorities— referred to here as business needs—and an understanding of the technical challenges in creating unique intellectual property, or technology targets. Before an innovative solution can be sold to the consumer, it must be sold to a business, and it must be executed by technology specialists who ensure that it can actually be built. The key word here is balance, with all three circles holding equal weight. Successful innovation lives right at the center. For designers, leading innovation means not only representing the user bubble but also helping the team find the balance point between business needs, technology targets and user wants (BTU). We represent this balance in our BTU map (left). While this is a pretty simple concept, we find that the big struggle in innovation lies in maintaining this balance throughout a project, from inception through launch. Designers can help lead by understanding the core priorities of the business and technology teams. For the business, how does the innovation initiative align with the strategic mission of the company? Granting the appropriate authority and funding to advance an initiative often requires a leap of faith (i.e., a risk) by company leadership. Often, resources are limited, and this new initiative might constrain other activities. And once the solution begins to form, sales and marketing need to align to launch the 360-degree brand campaign to support the goal. This covers everything from the social platforms to the media distribution plans, all of which must be forecasted and designed to. All while managing project timelines and the push from partners and customers to hit official launch dates. Technologists own the critical details to launch the product or service, including manufacturing specifications and back-end requirements. They scrutinize everything from operational qualifications to manufacturing approaches so that the best solution makes it to market as inexpensively and efficiently as possible. The goal is often to create the simplest solution possible by removing the complexity that surrounds the technology they support. In today’s world as the solutions grow in more sophisticated ways, such as the internet of things and cloud-based management, this means even higher expectations early on in the new initiative to see


Brian Roderman, FIDSA, president of IN2 Innovation, has worked as a design and innovation consultant for more than 30 years. A frequent public speaker, he is active with IDSA, having served six terms on the national Board of Directors. He was recently recognized as an IDSA Fellow and one of 50 Notable IDSA Members. n Luke Jordan, IDSA, is an innovation strategist for IN2 Innovation, and heads their Atlanta office. Along with his expertise in strategic innovation and design, he leads IN2’s corporate training initiatives, teaching creativity-, innovation-, and experience-centric content. Jordan is also the Chapter Chair for IDSA in Atlanta.

You can plot three levels of innovation—defend, differentiate and disrupt— based on the market return you expect to make on your investment.

if the company can push the known boundaries and strive to develop new intellectual property for the organization. To be successful as innovators, we must understand, respect and communicate with our business and technology partners and their perspective on innovation. Only then can we design successfully for them and with them. When we find the balance of the BTU and become comfortable with all three spheres, then we transition from being a designer to being a true innovator. Tiered Innovation While many businesses have different perspectives on how to do it, we have found that categorizing the level of innovation we are working to achieve is invaluable. We refer to this as gains mapping: How much impact are you trying to create with your new innovation? And how comfortable is your organization with placing big bets, taking risks and venturing into the unknown? The map above illustrates three levels of innovation: defend, differentiate and disrupt. A defend-level innovation

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usually means making tweaks to a company’s existing known offering to improve it or promote market acceptance. At the defend level, we are generally improving the products or services that are already in the company’s portfolio. We are working in a known space where the focus is to protect (or defend) the territory you currently won to promote incremental growth. As an example, think of adding video games to your brick-and-mortar media rental service. To differentiate, you make a move into the unknown territory by building upon a known, successful platform, adding additional features (e.g., adding a mobile platform where users can renew their DVD rental without facing late fees). The solution may not actually be new to the world, just new to the company and the offering it provides. While competitors may already play in the market space, you have a better mousetrap. Oftentimes when people think of innovation, they are really thinking of disruption. A disruptive solution upends the current market dynamic by offering a totally new, unique offering (for example, a subscription-based service to stream media on your TV instead of renting DVDs). Actually launching a disruptive innovation typically requires that a company commit to making significant investments. Because they are working in a totally unknown space, the company will have to tolerate a great deal of ambiguity—and risk—to bring the new solution to market. This requires a big bet, but successful disruptions come with big financial rewards. The payoff is that you create— and own—market share. At least until someone brings a differentiated solution to compete with your innovation and you shift into defend mode. Staged Innovation Organizations tend to group innovation into two major buckets: strategy and execution. On the strategic side, the focus is to orient the organization in the right direction to protect its future. This might be as straightforward as “grow sales by X% this year” or “beat competitor X in Y market.” Other times, the strategy is loftier or more ambiguous, like “attract a younger customer base” or “shift from being a ___ company to leading our market with connected technologies.” To do this, companies, in general, tend to structure execution teams who are ready to build and launch new



things according to the requirements and specifications they receive. These teams work best and fastest when they have solid guardrails and as little ambiguity as possible. Traditionally, that’s where industrial design lives—as a tactical initiative where you build an idea into a resolution of form, fit and function. Doing this well is a major undertaking, which certainly should not be overlooked. However, we need to respect the huge amount of strategic innovation work that has to take place before you can scope an executable design project. Think of all the effort that goes into building a traditional design brief. In many cases, this work—the real innovation work that is de-risking a project and removing ambiguity about what the project is and is not—happens before designers ever hear about it. The kicker is, it is a major challenge for most organizations to set up the execution team with clearly defined projects. It is difficult to link their big goals to executed projects that generate organic growth. This is often called the strategy-execution gap. The size of the gap is directly related to the gain you’re trying to create. The gap gets wider and wider as the strategy calls for bigger impacts (i.e., differentiation and disruption). As an analogy, think of a canyon: Imagine that strategy is on the left ledge above the canyon and execution is on the right. We refer to the gap between the two as the chasm. In this analogy, the heavy lifting of innovation—the innovation space on a project—is all about crossing the chasm to set execution teams up for success. In our experience, it is a lot less like building a bridge and a lot more like rappelling into the canyon, crossing a raging river and then climbing all the way back out the other side—discovering and defining what the new solutions are (and are not) that will connect the company’s strategic plan to the teams ready to bring them to market. The first stage of your journey is a big one: To continue our analogy, it’s making it down the wall of the canyon. You will need to be equipped with the right tools to navigate the challenging terrain below. Identifying the mission you are on is key to knowing when, how and where to step off. As you traverse the slope, you will begin capturing useful data and key user insights that will allow you to discover your opportunities and successfully reach the bottom.


It takes the right process (and a lot of effort) to cross the chasm to close the strategy-execution gap.

Your next challenge is to cross the rapids: moving from insights to ideas. To make it to the other side, you and your team will need to generate a whole host of ideas that propel you across the current. Your momentum will come from the new-found understandings that you harvested from coming down the canyon wall. Usually, lots of ideas will begin to form the big ideas that could propel the company to the next level. The third leg of your innovation journey now rises before you. You need to make it back up the other side of the canyon. To lighten your load, the team will need to consolidate the many ideas described in the previous effort into the concept that defines what your tactical team will execute upon. Again, they’ll work best if you can set them up with a

clear picture of what the solution will need to be (and what it won’t be). This is where we can leverage the ability to rapidly prototype concepts, which can quickly be built and tested for market feasibility—helping you gain the momentum to climb up and onto the right ledge. While making this crossing can be difficult, it is important that you pass through each stage to properly scope your innovation efforts. By bringing a BTU-balanced team across the chasm, combined with an understanding of the level of innovation your company’s strategy requires, you can clearly visualize what is required to innovate effectively. This is the best method for using our skill set as design innovators to quickly and effectively reduce the risk of doing new things. n

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By Raleigh Gresham Raleigh Gresham has spent the last 12 years in global companies leading multidisciplinary, innovation-focused teams in the healthcare and hospitality industries. His work focuses primarily on leveraging advanced analytics in customer experience initiatives.



orking in a modern day, for-profit corporation takes endurance. Very few things are easy and efficient. “Straightforward” is not a word often spoken when talking about today’s business world. Getting a decision made takes input from no fewer than a half dozen people

whose calendars are usually overscheduled. We spend most of our working hours trying to blend politics, people dynamics and project management into a magic potion that we hope will cast a spell of animation on our seemingly motionless employers. This is the way of today’s big complex enterprise (BCE). For those working to keep an existing project or product alive, it’s a desert. It’s Death Valley for anyone trying to do anything new.

happen. It’s a rare case that doing things Innovation converts If you were to stop reading right now, I’d in new ways is truly a subconscious simply want you to know that, in reality, baked-in core element of what a cominnovation in today’s business world ideas into something pany does in the guts of its day-to-day. is purely about putting in the work on that makes money. Why? Innovation means movement away things that look nothing like the idyllic from norms. Movement away from norms notions we all have been trained to means uncovering possible unknown risks. Unknown risks see as innovation. Beyond this maxim, what I’d like to do are incompatible with keeping the status quo. And the stais unpack a few of the ways I’ve personally gotten some tus quo is the goal in BCEs. Just like humans are wired traction in BCEs. Most of these are nothing more than to keep the status quo to protect themselves, companies orthogonal approaches to our day-to-day activities and priare too. orities. These are a few of the things I’ve put in my survival And for most of us, Steve Jobs is not going to be in our kit for the deserts of today’s BCEs. As you read through office later to fight for and demand game-changing ideas them, keep in mind that they are my personal experiences in spite of our company’s lizard brain (as Seth Godin might synthesized with the thoughts and works of others. I’m not put it). To compensate for this, there’s a tendency for BCEs laying claim to any novel discoveries. to spend time and money attempting to fabricate a culture of innovation. While we may be able to change habits at a Steve Won’t Be in This Morning personal and individual level, it’s incredibly hard to rewire the If you’re working in a BCE, I can almost guarantee you’re subconscious of a group of people like a company without working in a place that isn’t wired to want innovation to



a major catastrophe or overhaul. Don’t spend any time on programs or methodologies that claim to conjure up innovation. They won’t stick. What programs will stick? The ones that make money. It Has to Make Money In a 2016 Ad Week article (, Jason Alan Snyder describes the difference between an invention and an innovation: “This difference can be illustrated by comparing Thomas Edison with Nikola Tesla. Edison was an innovator because he made money from his ideas. Tesla was an inventor who spent money developing his inventions but was unable to monetize them.” Invention converts ideas into something. Innovation converts ideas into something that makes money—a subtle but important difference. BCE survival 101 is “make more money than you spend.” We need to burn this into our minds. There may be a lot of dialogue around being open to risk taking in BCEs, but as we covered earlier, the primal

wiring of a company will ultimately kill off these kinds of ideas unless they are making money. So how do we focus on innovations that make money? Start with an unfiltered understanding of how our companies are set up to make money. We need intimate knowledge of their business models. We need to eat, sleep and breathe them. An incredibly simple but powerful tool for doing this is the Business Model Canvas, brought to life in Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. There are literally thousands of money-making (and saving) ideas that come to life when we explore the intersecting points across the canvas. What I’ve found is that these ideas are usually hiding in the little things. Look for Littleness Most money-making innovations happen in the little things. This is in direct contradiction to what most of us envision when we think of innovation. We tend to see big gamechanging disruptions that bring some new technology or

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writing versus verb writing was addressed, business model into a forever-altered world. Ideas are hard. the podcast is worth your time—especially We start to believe that change at this magas someone who likely doesn’t write scripts nitude is the only acceptable norm for inno- So when we feel for a living.) vative output. In reality, there is typically one like we find one Few of us would describe the way true big-bang event in any company’s life. It happens during the months leading up to that has real teeth, things get done in BCEs as clean, linear, organized and patterned. Things are messy, and quickly following founding. Outside of a and the hairball (pick up a copy of Orbiting catastrophic event, the only innovations after we adopt it like the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie the launch idea are strings of incremental a child. for more on hairballs) we’re dealing with changes. There are ways BCEs have short today will mutate by tomorrow morning. By circuited themselves to foster and create reframing innovation in the context of a craftsperson’s jourmore big bangs, but most have to happen at arm’s length ney, we’re able to fight the distraction of the mess and, in a to the parent company—think Google Ventures. Judo-like move, use it to get innovation done. We’ll develop On Wednesday morning in an established BCE, innoin-the-moment tactics that allow us to work with the tools vation is happening in the micro-moments. The greatest and resources we have. We’ll come up with processes and potential is in the small day-to-day touchpoints the comhacks that creatively get around the handicapping nature pany has with the world around it. Innovation starves in the of BCEs. Bret and Kate McKay write about this in a 2013 expanses of big initiatives and projects. Constraint nurtures article for the Art of Manliness blog ( innovation. In his book Little Bets, Peter Sims encourages “The master craftsman understands that most times he’ll us to think about assembling a portfolio of small incremental never have the ideal materials, tools, or environment to wins that, over time, create big impacts. work with. Unforeseen knots are discovered in wood and Fair warning: We’ll have to get our egos ready. We’ll hidden imperfections in stone are revealed. Instead of have to forego some of the attention we might have hoped becoming frustrated by such curveballs, the master craftsfor when we got into the business of innovating. This should man adjusts his plans and works these imperfections into set us free from the odd burdens ego-centric innovation can his creation so that you’d never know they were there. He place on us and our teams. In the same way a craftsperson can sometimes even work the imperfection into a source of cares more about the craft than the accolades, we need strength for the piece.” to care more about building a catalog of small, sometimes By adopting the ethos of craftsmanship, we can actuinvisible innovations than we do the air time we might ally use the messiness as part of our approach to innovating. hope to get for them.

Craftsmanship There is a craft to innovation. In the same way master craftspeople spend the bulk of their time on their process, we need to do the same. We need to shift our attention away from the object of our innovation and focus it instead on the approach we’re taking to innovation. We need to think more about the verb than the noun. (This concept comes directly from a podcast by John August and Craig Mazin about script writing ( While I don’t recall the exact episode where the concept of noun



Embrace the Mess If you’re working in a big company, you’re going to be working with people. People make things messy. They have their own priorities. Their own objectives. They bring different approaches and different paces to work. And just like our egos are attached to our work, theirs are too. When all of this is forced into the same bowl of soup, things are not neat and tidy. We’ve got to get to know people. Get to know why they plan and prioritize the way they do. Spend time learning

power structure and how decisions get made. Be ready to listen and be ready to sell. We need to talk to people about our innovation. Tell them about the holes we know it has and listen as they give us their thoughts on how to fill them in. At times all the talking will feel like an anchor tied to our innovation’s feet, but people engaging with people is the fuel any new idea needs in order to keep moving. We need to learn to embrace this. No Magic Incantations The mess is pretty powerful and the traditional methods for taming it—project management, total quality management, lean methodologies—are particularly impotent when it comes to innovation. In fact, they often make things worse. Innovation is not a structured or mappable thing on its own, but throwing it into the mess of BCEs exponentially makes things worse. By trying to develop a methodology, what we end up with is, ultimately, a methodology. The time it will take to map things out isn’t worth the trade-off in the time our teams could be spending working on the innovation. We need to remember that things are hardly ever the same twice—the mess renders a one-size-fits-all approach to innovation virtually powerless. The business world is marinated in every kind of best-practice framework you can imagine for going from thought cloud to neatly packaged product. Plenty of books and thought leaders sell the promise of 10-step how-tos for getting innovative. The never-ending hunt for the best blueprint is a very real trap that all of us are capable of easily falling into. There’s a time and a place for the organization and accountability these frameworks bring, but we cannot let them be our sole pursuit or, worse, our muse. We need to stop looking for formulas and frameworks. We need to stop fighting for project management and start doing the work. It Took Johnny 10 Years Flip through any business, design or technology periodical and you’ll find plenty of hyped stories about innovative businesses and products. There’s no arguing, they’re inspiring and motivating to anyone of us working on innovation in the gauntlet of a BCE. These media darlings make good jour-

nalism, but terrible benchmarks for success. We need to be careful to not start measuring the value of our innovations against these hype stories. There’s a story* about how much time passed between when Jony Ive became the chief design officer at Apple and when the first iPhone was released: It was about 10 years. Ten years. I can only imagine what was happening during that span of time. What types of meetings he was in. What types of compromises he had to make. My guess is that he spent a very small percentage of that time designing. The takeaway? It’s going to require a lot of non-sexy work over a long period of time. (*Like all good stories, there’s a chance this one was made up. I’ve lost track of where I first heard this anecdote, so there’s also a chance it’s a story I tell myself. Either way, the principle still holds true.) The danger in how the media captures innovation is that it rarely covers the behind-the-scenes realities involved in making them happen. This gives the impression that we should be able to achieve them as easily as it appears the highlighted team and company have. Chances are good that the stories are about an innovation that is likely a decade or more in the making, not some unicorn idea that spun up overnight. There was likely a lot of less-than-fun work that happened during that decade. Innovation happens in this kind of work, and it will take a while. We Are Not Our Ideas Ideas are hard. So when we feel like we find one that has real teeth, we adopt it like a child, and in some ways it starts to define us or our teams. Getting our identity from our ideas can be limiting. In most cases, the first, second and even 100th ideas are not the ones that should survive. But because we’ve grown so attached and defined by them, we can’t let them go. We drop anchor and progress ceases. We can’t be afraid to kill our darlings because we see it as an admission of defeat. It’s not a statement about our or our teams’ capabilities and skills. In fact, it represents the opposite. As Seth Godin describes in his book The Dip, knowing when to quit an idea or set of tactics is actually a skill that the best innovators have. We are not our ideas, so we should be ready to kill them if we have to. n

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By Todd Summe Todd Summe is the vice president of global research and development at Novelis.



he global automotive industry is going through unprecedented change. Electrification, autonomous driving, mobility—even the concept of what defines a vehicle—is changing. The pace of change is accelerating, and it is requiring new thinking all along the supply chain. In particular, if you want

to be a strategic partner, not just a material supplier, you better be changing—and innovating—just as fast. At Novelis, we have a unique perspective on what managing that change and ultimately innovation looks like in order to provide solutions that are enabling the next evolution of cars worldwide. As part of the $43 billion Aditya Birla Group conglomerate, Novelis is the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling. We work alongside our customers to provide innovative solutions to the beverage can, automotive and high-end specialty markets. However, our approach to innovation has evolved over our nearly 100-year history, first as Alcan Aluminum and, since 2007, as Novelis. In other words, at Novelis we make aluminum—a broad array of alloys with different technical characteristics.



If you’ve worked in large-scale manufacturing, you’ve seen our products in long sheets that most often ship as huge coils. All our products are the result of a legacy of technical expertise we developed over decades of fundamental scientific research and operational excellence. The Changing Dynamic of R&D As I mentioned, though, things are changing rapidly. To understand where things are going, we look at how R&D has traditionally been structured and utilized. Historically, our products have been used to make beverage cans—think soda and beer.

Novelis explores applications of next-generation materials with OEMs for future vehicles.

As with most R&D organizations in large-scale manufacturing companies, Novelis R&D used to be given quite a bit of autonomy from the day-to-day business operations. This allowed for a focus on deep scientific research, including work building fundamental knowledge. Although we would support product development and provide technical assistance to our operations, the core of our research was largely self-directed. In Third Generation R&D (1991), Philip Roussel referred to this lack of a strategic framework for R&D as “first-generation R&D.” In these types of organizations, R&D is frequently seen as an overhead cost, not relevant to the immediate nor strategic needs of the business. You may have heard of R&D being like an ivory tower—it is an old paradigm and not entirely incorrect. Of course, that was many years ago, and the dynamic of R&D at Novelis has changed. Fundamentally, we believe that success in innovation requires partnership. The challenge of modern R&D is to balance the need for long-term fundamental research with a close connection to the strategic plan of the business. To embed this shift into our culture, we created a new operating paradigm we call our Partnership Model. It is best illustrated as a wheel: operations, technology and commercial around the outside with the customer at the center. This is a simple diagram, but it perfectly illustrates how at Novelis we link our innovation activities to the customer—a partnership of the three areas of our organization focused on delivering value to the customer.

For example, our first true test in delivering transformational innovation was when the Ford Motor Company decided to launch the 2015 F-150 as the world’s first aluminum-intensive pickup truck. This was a significant challenge, demanding requirements on our material at an enormous scale (the F-series of trucks is one of the highest-volume vehicles produced in the world). Using aluminum to replace steel in a high-stress application like a pickup truck means very high strength delivered in a highly formable ductile form that could create the styling that consumers have come to expect. This required researchers, metallurgists, engineers and technologists to continually iterate and test to find the right balance of strength and formability delivered at a much lower weight, which leads to major improvements in fuel economy. Over the course of six months, the Novelis team developed a brand-new aluminum alloy, Novelis Advanz™ 6HS-s615, formable enough for high-volume part stamping and assembly, yet strong enough to meet rigorous durability and safety requirements. Fortunately, our team was hugely successful. Today, the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 remains the best-selling truck in America. The aluminum body structure plays a central role in the F-150 being more than 700 pounds lighter than previous models while achieving the truck’s first-ever fivestar safety rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Keeping the Customer at the Center Our Partnership Model helps our teams align around what to do, with our customer at the center of our innovation efforts. However, we needed to go further to build an architecture to define how to do it: how to link our strategy to project execution, how to pursue bold innovation while still building fundamental scientific knowledge and how to deliver transformational customer value. For us, the how is embodied in a rigorous process. We tackled this challenge by creating our Vision to Value Innovation Architecture, which connects our strategic planning efforts to the structure of our portfolio through project execution. Sounds easy enough, but as I mentioned, making major changes to how we work requires a big change in culture. To do

The Novelis R&D Partnership Model

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this, we are big believers in the power of clear and engaging visuals. These visuals illustrate how our people will pursue innovation and how they fit into the process. One of the critical parts of the Vision to Value Innovation Architecture is our Technology Maturity Model (TMM). This is similar to a traditional stage gate structure whereby a project progresses through different stages (we have four) and at the end of each stage there is a meeting (gate review) to decide if the project should progress to the next stage, be sent back to continue work in the current stage, or be discontinued. The TMM stage-gate discipline allows us to explore radical new technologies while failing fast those that do not have potential worth continuing. By focusing our Stage 1 projects on rapid exploration with lean teams, we can assess many different technologies, products and processes in order to reduce the risk of the unknown sufficiently to confidently devote larger resources to any subsequent Stage 2 project. We also bring our commercial partners into Stage 1 to help align our areas of exploration to their strategic marketing and customer insights. The later stages of the TMM drive innovations to our customers, with the three partners—operations, technology and commercial—staying aligned on scope, timeline and leadership. In Stage 2 we focus on the depth of our technology development, while Stage 3 is focused on the speed and quality of bringing products to market. This model has helped us bring new products to market at a pace quicker than ever before. “The partnership of technology, commercial and operations is critical to developing our end-to-end innovation architecture that links corporate strategy to innovation strategy to project execution,” said Pierre Labat, Novelis vice president of global automotive. “This transformation has made Novelis the first choice for automotive aluminum


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sheet due to its unmatched manufacturing footprint, ability to deliver consistent quality products on a global scale and innovative product portfolio.” We are working hard to make sure that when we say our customer is at the center of the Partnership Model, we mean it. One example currently under development is the Customer Solution Center, which we are launching in top automotive development regions: North America and China. These Customer Solution Centers are less about the physical space and more about a new way to engage our customers. We will bring research and development, industry partners, academia, operations and commercial development together to create a new environment that fosters collaboration on the next generation of vehicles with innovative material solutions. This work will be critical to OEMs in China and for emerging electric vehicle companies—both considered to be ground zero for growth, innovation and leadership in automotive aluminum. Innovation Today and for the Future The automotive industry is truly a global market. Since 2009, when China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest market for automobile production and sales, global automakers have been quick to form joint ventures in China, resulting in the production of nearly 16 million vehicles in 2017. And now with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles becoming more mainstream, China has overtaken the US in that market as well. While small in comparison, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers estimates that 340,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were sold in 2015 alone, with significant annual growth since. But China is not alone as many other countries are moving away from combustion engine vehicles. By 2025, Norway plans to phase out all fossil-fuel-powered vehicles. Not far behind,

Left: The Vision to Value Innovation Architecture connects Novelis’ corporate strategy to project execution, with the Technology Maturity Model as the heart of execution.

India intends to sell only electric cars by 2030, and Great Britain announced that it is banning sales of new gas and diesel vehicles by 2040. The key value aluminum adds to electric vehicles is weight reduction that improves vehicle range, acceleration and handling. An aluminum-intensive electric vehicle can offset the added weight of the car’s battery, which in some cases adds 450–1,100 pounds over an internal combustion engine. This is why we have embraced working with electric vehicle start-ups such as NIO, the next-generation electric vehicle company that recently introduced its first production passenger vehicle, the seven-seat ES8 SUV. The fully electric, aluminum-intensive ES8 is being sold and manufactured exclusively in China using Novelis aluminum sourced locally from its Changzhou plant. By partnering with NIO, Novelis

R&D is working not just as a material supplier but also as a collaborator and problem solver supporting the design and manufacturing teams to help ensure vehicles are built to maximize the unique attributes of aluminum and meet the mobility demands of the future with new-to-the-world materials. The future of innovation lies squarely with our customers, the ones we collaborate with today and the ones yet to come. And their success depends on our ability to attract, retain and foster the best and brightest talent. Our scientists, engineers and metallurgists partner with our customers to reimagine aluminum’s role in their products and provide rapid adaptive solutions for any manufacturing challenge that may arise. Ultimately, this allows Novelis Global R&D to deliver transformational customer value through innovative material solutions and business-critical support. n

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By Jonathan Dalton, IDSA As the CEO and co-founder of THRIVE, Jonathan Dalton helps clients achieve business objectives and redefine markets through user-centered products and strategic brand design. He’s expert at helping organizations see what people will want in the future and helping development teams manage the change to meet those needs. His career has spanned a number of continents and design disciplines, including the Electrolux Group, ZIBA Design, and Philips Design’s Consulting Practice in North America.

Why It’s Insights, Not Ideas, That Truly Drive Innovation



here’s an age-old myth when it comes to the notion of innovation: that of the lone inventor sitting in a lab hit by a bolt of lightning and a moment of explosive inspiration, and BOOM!…out pops the big idea. At least, that’s how the story is typically told. But that telling is a bit of an illusion,

often aligning with how people envision innovation: a flash of brilliance, an inspired idea and Eureka! A new life-changing thing is born that transforms the modern world for the better. The truth is—as we all know—a lot messier than that. It’s time to put away some of the old fables about innovation, starting with the illusion that ideas drive innovation. From Shark Tank to TED talks, popular culture has sold us the thought that an idea, packaged and presented, exists as the ultimate solution to a problem. It’s this never-ending glorification of ideas that has led us to put our attention in the wrong place. Contrary to what many believe, the idea is only part of the process—and it’s not the beginning. Innovation starts a lot earlier then when you assemble your team in a room to brainstorm; it begins with learning about your customer and getting to know them deeply—the kind of closeness that goes way beyond just asking them what they want next. Ideas, in fact, have a high failure rate when generated in a vacuum without first considering how to serve customer needs and desires. So, instead of ideas, we need to direct our focus elsewhere: on insights. Why Are Insights So Important? To quote Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” The makeup of the buying public has evolved in the past two decades. We are experiencing a fundamental shift from an



era of mass consumption to a new era of context and personalization. Consumer expectations are changing, and value is now very personal; it’s generated less through the selling and buying of goods and more through an ecosystem of information, services, experiences and solutions. The result: It’s never been more critical for organizations to establish and maintain an intense focus on and understanding of their customers’ lives. Customer knowledge informed by an empathetic mindset is critical for creating relevant new offerings that are both pertinent and distinct. This brings us to insights. Insights are the cornerstone of the innovation process and a catalyst for creating new value for your customers. Insights—not ideas—must be the first stage of your innovation process for that reason. Insight is a horribly misused word, much in the same vein as “brand,” “strategy” and “innovation.” So, let us first restore some meaning to the word by considering what insight is not: Insight is not data. Data can take many forms, but we

have to remember it is just that—data. Alone, data is not an insight, and it does not do your thinking for you. With masses of data at hand, the fundamental problem is a lot more essential: How do we mine and analyze the data to reveal insights we can act on? Look at your data holistically and be cautioned against becoming attached to that singular inspiring data point that can drive a swift conclusion. Think holistically. Analyze intensely. Insight definition requires you to take a multidimensional view. An observation is not an insight. Observations are an incredibly important part of creating insight but are still only one data point to consider (and should never stand alone). They are facts that lack the why and the motivation behind a consumer’s behavior. Never stop short of the hard work involved during the process of insight definition, of converting an astute observation into something more meaningful and actionable. Always get to the why. A customer wish or statement of need is not an insight. An insight is not an articulated statement of need. Insights are less apparent, intangible, latent, a hidden truth that is the result of obsessive digging. Anytime you hear “I want” or “I need” in a statement, step back and pause; you probably need to dig deeper and understand the motivation and the why behind the want. Articulated needs are ideal for defining features and benefits, but do not lead to insights

that have the gravity to topple existing categories and create new ones. Obsess about the outcome people want; don’t merely record their statements of need and assume you have insights, because you likely do not. What’s the Best Way to Find Insights? Ethnography is a vital tool in the innovation toolbox that gives you a real-world understanding of people’s preferences, motivations and needs by examining the environments buyers inhabit and the cultural and societal forces that influence their behavior. In a sense, it’s deliberate systematized empathy. Humans are wildly complex, a swirl of influences, shared beliefs and experiences that form us separately as individuals. Ethnography provides a peek behind the consumer curtain that can be incredibly valuable, unlocking innovation and strategic business opportunities and boosting competitive advantage and customer loyalty. Direct your empathy toward understanding four areas: what influences consumer behavior from a cultural, social, personal and psychological perspective. Cultural forces: Friends, families and the environment in which a person grew up profoundly affect humans, heavily influencing the values they hold and the behaviors they feel are socially acceptable. The more we understand how the world around people forms their behavior, the more we can

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empathize, create offerings that reflect that empathy and are, therefore, more meaningful and relevant. Social affiliation: Social groups profoundly influence people’s consumption behaviors and reflect the mindsets, values and lifestyles they collectively share with others like them. Tap into the human need to both self-express and connect with others and you’ll find ways to leverage that belonging to your brand’s benefit. Personal lifestyle: The way we live and what artifacts we attach meaning to is a consistent pattern in a consumer’s life, something that’s influenced by a person’s personality, values, attitudes and beliefs. Understand the personality traits that make someone unique and you can understand what will appeal to them, their outlook on life and what will fit with their consumption habits. Psychological factors: People’s life experience to date uniquely forms their perception of the world and how they selectively view, process, organize and interpret it. Cracking the perceptive code of a given audience is absolutely key. As innovators, we have to battle our way through that stimuli soup into the minds of consumers. The best way to do this is by hitting them where it matters: by understanding their aspirations, motivations, desires and, most importantly, what they perceive to be meaningful and why. Take the time and dig into their gray matter and you’ll be more confident that the message you’re sending is the right one. How Do You Turn Knowledge into Insight? Casual observation and merely knowing are not enough. Insight definition takes work; it’s a skill that requires creativity, persistence and deep thinking about craft. The most powerful insights come from rigor and serious analysis to translate large amounts of data into concise and compelling findings. Use written insight statements to turn research data into actionable insight to inspire new ideas for product and service development. Writing consumer insight statements is a bit of a black art—a little creativity, a little analysis. It hinges on a threesentence structure designed to balance the details of analysis with a rallying cry for action. Sentence #1: The Situation: Set the context for your consumer insight statement by describing the current situation and the incumbent consumer behavior. This part should capture both the environment and a simple observation of a given situation going on within it. Sentence #2: The Frustration: Describe the dilemma the consumer faces and articulate why this is a frustration



in their life. Crafting this part comes from understanding the barriers that stand in the way of achieving the subject’s needs or desires. It should have an emotional element that elicits a “we need to fix this” response. Sentence #3: The Future Desire: Envision the consumer’s desired end state and ideal situation and describe the tangible business result they’ll get from using your product or service (remembering that consumers don’t necessarily care what a product or service is, but rather what it does for them). Here is an example: “We enjoy using our outdoor pool but are often bothered by mosquitos. I am hesitant about using insect repellent on my children’s skin because I am unsure how safe it is. I wish there were a repellant that had the strength to improve protection around pools so I do not have to apply repellant to my children’s skin.” Don’t Forget about the Big Picture The biggest takeaway here is that insight is fuel for ideation— insights reduce irrelevance and help you focus on what is meaningful, setting the foundation for successful product and service development. Once you’ve got them, you can rephrase them to be actionable for the creative process, turning them into “How might we?” statements. In the above example: How might we improve protection from mosquitos without having to apply repellant to the skin? Think of the insight statement as the question, the idea as the answer, and the resulting product or service as the solution. If you increase your grasp of insight to understand your customers, you’ll know what you’re really solving for, which simply makes for smarter business. n

By Luke Jordan, IDSA, and Kate Whitney, S/IDSA n



hile collaborative meetings are widely accepted as a necessary component of any innovative project, these meetings are by no means easily conducted. Everyone has been in a collaborative session that stalls out, leaving participants even more directionless than before.

This isn’t to say that successful collaboration is out of reach—it isn’t!—but it requires planning and practice. Our team has been facilitating collaboration sessions in the innovation space for nearly three decades, and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks to improve any collaborative session.

A successful session can inspire innovation, jumpstart meaningful conversations, and bring clarity and direction to a project. The strategies laid out here go beyond the typical platitudes and dig into what should be done before, during and after a session. These recommendations are written for the organizer of the session, but they are general and practical enough to empower anyone to improve the structure and discourse around collaboration. Also, we will share tips for facilitating sessions, but whenever possible, bringing in an outside facilitator is recommended. This gives the facilitator space to be objective and manage the process, and it allows for those involved in the project to participate and share their unique expertise during the session. Everyone has an important role in collaborative innovation—so be sure to delegate strategically. Before the Session When setting up an ideation event, be intentional and ideate with purpose. Once you have a topic that could benefit from a collaborative session—perhaps you need to organize and cluster your insights or perhaps you’re ready to ideate—plan for the who, when, where, how and why of all the pieces. The Team: When planning, remember that more people in a session does not equal more productivity. Having too many cooks in the kitchen tends to slow the momentum, so we recommend keeping the number of participants to 12 at most. It’s important that the room is balanced—ensure that some of the participants represent the business-minded, the technology-focused and the user-driven. Also, in terms of roles represented, aim for a cross-functional group. When

you do have more than 12 people in the room, be ready to break out into groups throughout the session and have enough facilitators to accommodate each group. The Schedule: There isn’t a magic formula for how much time a session should last, but be sure that the session is long enough to accomplish its objectives. While some sessions can be done in one hour, when you’re trying accomplish something big, we find that half-day to full-day sessions work best to achieve the desired results. It’s important to allocate enough time for exploration so ideas can percolate and breathe and participants can build momentum to let their thinking evolve. However much time is scheduled, respect the investment being put into the session by using the time effectively. The Space: If you can, get offsite to a neutral location. But whether you’re offsite or in a conference room at the company headquarters, before the session begins, get there early and make the room yours. Make sure the place is clean, the whiteboards are clear, the paper is unblemished so there’s room for new ideas and fresh writing. Rearrange the tables and chairs, ensuring that there are the right number of seats to accommodate the group (empty chairs in the room make it feel like people are missing, so clear out the extras). Set out the treats, supplies and fidgets—this is no longer just a conference room, it’s a space for creative energy. The Kit: We’ve come up with our collaboration musthaves—the supplies we come back to again and again that contribute to a session’s success. Here are our recommendations for your collaboration kit: n Large Post-It Easel Pads can be written on and moved around the room to fit your needs.

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n Post-It

Notes will help participants capture their thoughts in a visible way that you can post up on the walls. n Markers help you to write clearly, legibly and large so the ideas can surround the group. n Sweet and salty snacks are a must. Peanut M&Ms are our favorite. Not only does the sugar rush give you a boost of energy, the colors are stimulating. n Also, stay caffeinated and keep that energy up! Bring good fresh coffee, and you’ll establish yourself as the office hero right out of the gate. During the Session Each collaborative session will be different depending on who is present and what attitude they bring to the room. Facilitators will need to adapt their strategy in order to ensure the session is a success. These tips provide an excellent foundation for the active session. The Agenda: It’s worth saying again—these sessions must be strategic. Make sure there is a clear plan for the session. If changes need to be made, discuss them with the group so everyone stays clear on the agenda. The Goal: For a session to be judged successful, there must be a clear, achievable goal. Ask the participants what they define as a successful outcome, and meet it. Identify who is responsible for meeting that goal and what roles your participants will fill to help you get there, and capture your findings. The Structure: Creativity flourishes under specific conditions. The following rules aim to achieve the best conditions for creative collaboration: n When it comes to PowerPoint slides, less is more. Staying analog and interactive (writing on boards and passing Post-Its) is more engaging. As a bonus, fewer slides will help you talk less and do more. Don’t waste valuable time by having a facilitator talk at a room full of people. Instead work to engage them with interactive activities. n Keep everyone moving. Some kinesthetic activity, like getting up and walking to the other side of the room, keeps people alert and engaged. n Get visual. As designers, we know that words can only do so much. Make ideas visible, and encourage doodling, storyboarding and other visualization techniques. Post these artifacts visibly on the walls all around the room.



Luke Jordan, IDSA, is an innovation strategist for IN2 Innovation, and heads their Atlanta office. Along with his expertise in strategic innovation and design, he leads IN2’s corporate training initiatives, teaching creativity-, innovation-, and experiencecentric content. Jordan is also the Chapter Chair for IDSA in Atlanta. n Kate Whitney, S/IDSA, is an innovation design writer at IN2 Innovation. With a background in communication and human subjects research, she is passionate about designing effortless solutions that improve the user’s quality of life. She is currently enrolled in Georgia Tech’s industrial design graduate program.

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Use the large-form Post-It Pads to continuously capture every idea generated in the session. The more ideas, the better. You can decide which are really good ideas later. n Break larger groups into teams, allowing every member to participate actively. But ensure there is time to come back together as one group to share findings and ideas so that every participant can benefit from one another’s input. The Records: Document everything. As with any design project, the documenting process is key. Write big and capture all notes, insights and ideas on Post-Its. Photographing every stage of the session allows for participants to look back and see all the steps everyone went through and what was accomplished during the session. The Participant Contributions: The session will not be successful without active participants. Our rules are: n Stay off your technology. No one likes telling other adults what to do, but the second someone opens up their laptop or phone, people notice. Too often, others follow suit and you lose the energy of the room. n As a facilitator, follow the respect and respond rule: Listen to and respect the contributions from all participants and respond accordingly. A good key here is the improv strategy of saying “yes and…” and then building on someone’s thinking without shutting the participant down. n Pay attention to who is talking and who isn’t. Encourage participation from everyone and make sure only one conversation at a time is taking place in the room unless you are divided into groups. If someone isn’t much of a talker, empower them to be more active by writing and sketching their ideas. n Finally, we use the ding rule. When a contribution runs long or begins to take the team off on a tangent, we say “Ding!” We set this up as meaning that we love you and your contribution, we documented the idea, but let’s get back to task. After the Session Once a session is complete, some work needs to be done to ensure that insights and findings are captured and the project is oriented for success. Make it very clear who will be responsible for advancing the content after the session. These participants (or facilitators, if that was the decision)



Speed Rounds Get everyone involved. Give all the participants 60 seconds to write down the idea that forms in their head on a Post-It Note. One idea per note. After the 60 seconds are over, select someone to start. They have 60 seconds to share their idea while a scribe writes it on a board. Once it is captured, move on to the next member until you have gone all the way around the room. A visible timer can help. Don’t be afraid to use the ding! rule to keep things moving.

will take ownership of the next steps. The Insights: Capture all insights and ideas. Part of this work is done during the session, but ensure that nothing is overlooked. Transcribe everything onto your computer, including ideas, photos, sketches, process flows and the process, such as how one set of findings led to larger insights. The Document: Create a polished summary document that includes an overview of the work and the insights from above. Highlight the session’s objective, the team’s goals and how those goals were achieved. This document provides a place to show the process of connecting strategy to insights and then to ideas. Show how clusters of small ideas can be built into big ideas. Once this analysis is complete, return the document to the participants (in a timely manner, which not only will help keep momentum but is a sign of respect and engagement). The Reset: A note on courtesy for after the session: Leave every space better than you found it. That philosophy works as well in public parks as in brainstorming sessions. After everything is photo documented, be sure to take down the Post-Its, clean the tables, wipe down the boards and rearrange the room. This is a courtesy that shows that you care. Of course, there is a huge range in the ways teams collaborate, so the above strategies can be adapted to better suit the needs and goals of your session. Remember that collaboration is an art and that a great facilitator can raise the level of discourse beyond the expected to the exciting and the innovative. Finally, everyone participating is investing their effort and their time (which also represents a big financial investment). Be strategic with the session, use the time wisely and go create the next big thing!! n

By Daily Gist Daily Gist is an executive leader with 22 years of new product development and leadership experience. After six years in the tool industry, she joined Newell Brands where she has worked across multiple consumer and commercial product portfolios. She has developed and implemented corporate product development processes. In addition to her current role as leader of the Program Management Organization and Packaging Innovation, she manages the new product development funnel for the six divisions of Newell Brands.



rainstorming sessions are commonplace in today’s work environment, especially when working in a creative field. When people walk into the room, there’s usually a whiteboard, an easel and paper, markers, pens and sticky notes so that as ideas flow freely, they can be shared, captured and easily utilized following the session. At Newell Brands, we’re in the fortunate position to use our own products during brainstorms, which not only enhances our sessions but allows us to identify ways of improving them for our customers and consumers alike. For instance, at brainstorming sessions for our EXPO® brand, we incorporated the products in the session as a method of learning ways we could improve them. When EXPO dry erase markers were originally created in 1976, they were larger, more fragrant and came in a small selection of colors. Eventually through product testing and R&D, thinner and less odorous variations of the markers were added in numerous colors, allowing consumers to personalize the product to their needs. We know consumers use these markers in meetings, lectures and study sessions, so it’s no surprise that dry-erase markers often run out of ink with extended use. But how can a user tell when that’s going to happen if the exterior of the marker isn’t transparent? That’s a pain point the EXPO brand wanted to alleviate. During a recent internal brainstorming session, the EXPO team—using a whiteboard and our very own EXPO markers—came up with the idea for a marker that has a clear ink barrel to make it easier for people to see how much ink is left. Naturally, this led to a new innovation: EXPO Dry Erase Markers with Ink Indicators. Now consumers can be confident that they have enough ink left to capture all their creative ideas. Similarly, the Sharpie® Extreme line was developed in a productive brainstorm. The team knew that consumers worldwide like using these markers to sketch designs or communicate ideas, but in some cases, the surface they’re

writing on isn’t as traditional as a piece of paper. Sometimes it’s the first thing they see, such as a napkin or plastic; other times, it’s on unusual items like trash bins, swimming caps or outdoor gear. To address this need, the Sharpie team wanted to create a pen that could withstand harsh elements without compromising the original durable qualities of the Sharpie brand. To get the ideas flowing, the team conducted brainstorming sessions—using what else but our Sharpie pens and EXPO markers—to memorialize their ideas. Following the brainstorm and product testing, Sharpie Extreme markers were introduced to consumers. They have high-contrast ink in bold colors that resist fading when exposed to snow, rain, mud and even UV rays, and can be used on most surfaces. Predating both EXPO and Sharpie markers, Paper Mate® pens were introduced in 1949 and contained a revolutionary new ink that dried quickly. Throughout the years, new styles of Paper Mate pens, such as the Flair felt tip pens, various ball point pens, mechanical pencils and erasers, were introduced by the brand. More recently, the Paper Mate team capitalized on the gel pen trend, which is popular among designers, students and teachers. However, a common issue with gel pens is smearing caused by slow drying times. The team held brainstorming sessions to design a pen to come up with an innovative solution. As a result, the Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pen was launched in 2016. With its 14 vivid colors, the pens help get the creative juices flowing in brainstorming sessions, and its quick-drying gel ink ensures that the ideas are preserved. Brainstorming is an essential function of our team here at Newell Brands as we rely on continuous design and innovation to drive our brands and company forward. Next time you’re tasked with imagining the next big idea, remember to reach for an EXPO, Sharpie or Paper Mate product to get those ideas and ink flowing! n

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By Brian Roderman, FIDSA, and Kate Whitney, S/IDSA n



e stand on the brink of the next seismic shift, ready to declare that the experience revolution is near. We have observed the signs and studied our history. This revolution aligns with a historical cadence of large-scale

changes that were industry revolutions in their own rights. Our analysis shows that since the start of the 20th century, every 30 years has introduced large-scale changes to our industry and the world we live in.

These major shifts in the market come in 30-year waves. Let’s consult our past and trace exactly how we got here to understand what the experience revolution means for our future as designers and innovators. 1900s – The Physical Revolution By the early 1900s, the way we built our physical world began to change. With advancements in the technology of manufacturing, we were able to construct massive iron-framed structures. It was then that we started to design and construct the first skyscrapers, like New York’s Flatiron Building and the Royal Insurance Building in Liverpool (completed in 1901 and 1903, respectively). New industry rose faster than our buildings as the United States Steel Corporation was formed in 1901, becoming both the largest steel producer and the largest corporation the world had ever seen. Simultaneously, we dreamed electric streetcars and underground railway systems into existence, creating a physical network that connected our large physical structures and contributed to a thriving ecosystem of physicality.



This period represents the physical revolution when the construction of large physical structures became possible in a way never before conceived and unleashed a new era of design. Even existing materials were used in new ways; the Ingalls Building in Cincinnat, OH, became the first concrete monolith of its kind (completed in 1902). Through this revolution, we changed the way we sheltered humans and the ways we could travel and work. Construction of buildings and transportation fundamentally changed, and so did the physical world we inhabit. 1930s – The Product Revolution The next revolution was born of new materials and methods of mass production. A wave of new plastics or polymeric materials were developed, starting with polystyrene (produced in the 1930s). These new plastics incorporated different chemicals that improved the substance while reducing cost, and this reduced cost translated to new products populating middle-class homes. Equipment once feasible only for businesses were scaled into consumer products, joining the home ecosystem. This period witnessed the advent of


Brian Roderman, FIDSA, president of IN2 Innovation, has worked as a design and innovation consultant for more than 30 years. A frequent public speaker, he is active with IDSA, having served six terms on the national Board of Directors. He was recently recognized as an IDSA Fellow and one of 50 Notable IDSA Members. n Kate Whitney, S/IDSA, is an innovation design writer at IN2 Innovation. With a background in communication and human subjects research, she is passionate about designing effortless solutions that improve the user’s quality of life. She is currently enrolled in Georgia Tech’s industrial design graduate program.

electric steam irons and the first domestic dishwasher with an electric motor. After we changed the large-scale physicality of our world with the physical revolution, these products became the content of those structures, marking the product revolution. During this period, many other polymers were developed (polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polyester, polypropylene and polycarbonate, to name a few), allowing for a massive volume of products to be manufactured more quickly and efficiently than our world had ever seen. 1960s – The Digital Revolution In the 1960s, a new world was being built—a digital world built of processors and code that served as an extension of the logical mind and pushed what we were capable of as humans. This was the digital revolution. Jack Kilby paved the way for microprocessors with a 1959 patent for integrated circuits, electronic circuits on a small plate of semiconductor materials. Computers began to shrink while their capabilities grew. A standard coding language—the American Standard Code for Information Exchange (ASCII)—was developed so comput-

ers, regardless of their manufacturer, could communicate and exchange data, enabling the development of a digital network that could connect our new digital world. And by the late 1980s, the building blocks of the World Wide Web were being laid down to create the first global modern digital networks. 1990s – The Service Revolution By the 1990s, the digital world was successfully connected. Thanks to early internet pioneers like Netscape and America Online (AOL), our physical world became smaller. To populate the internet, services were created to meet user needs as never before. Companies were able to connect directly with consumers, and new service offerings were possible. In 1995, eBay changed consumer-to-consumer business with an online auction service. The same year, Amazon began selling books. Less than 10 years later, the iPod was released and iTunes soon followed—changing the music industry and proving that digital files and services had the same value as the previous physical products. A shift began wherein products were supported and enriched by digital services.

Above: Paradigm-level revolutions hit the market in 30-year waves, with each building on the previous. The next wave—the experience revolution—is poised to begin in 2020.

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On another front, upscale marquee names in the automobile industry were being launched in the US by foreign automakers. Around 1990, Toyota had introduced Lexus, Honda had introduced Acura, and Nissan was unveiling Infiniti. This brought a new trend of precision manufacturing techniques along with white-glove concierge service expectations to the mass car-buying market. And with the service revolution, digital communities began to be built around products and services, instead of just physical locations and careers. 2020s – The Experience Revolution The next point on this timeline is coming up fast—the year 2020. The preceding revolutions affected the physical world, consumer products, the digital world and consumer services. As users and technologies advanced, they allowed designers to explore and conquer these new areas. The next revolution will not be as distinct as those that came before; instead, it will represent a culmination of those revolutions. It will require us to focus not just on physical ecosystems, consumer goods, digital engagement and heightened service interactions alone. It will require all four revolutions combined. Because the next revolution is the experience revolution. While user experience design has been defined in the past as exclusively digital—the flow of an app, what the user will see, etc.—this definition is woefully inadequate. A true experience isn’t just what you see; an experience engages all five human senses: taste, touch, sight, smell and sound. A true user experience balances senses with emotion to create moments of connection and meaning in a busy, chaotic world. Experience design brings into con-



The TUX map represents the true user experience. The two axes of the X represent a sensory and emotional engagement with the user. The four touchpoints are both physical and digital products and services and encircling the map is the brand identity that packages this experiences and allows for connection with the user.

sideration physical and digital platforms, products and service offerings as touchpoints that can work in tandem to create effortless, memorable interactions. Augmented- and mixed-reality devices serve as the perfect analogy to the new period we are entering—they blur the line between the physical with the digital, allowing us to live in both worlds. These devices are products supported by services and designed experiences. With these and other new technologies, we can design for human experiences that consider how we think with our minds, how we feel with our hearts, and how we express ourselves with our motions and movements. It’s this definition of experience design that is the future: a true user experience. We have long tried to adapt to our technology, but this next revolution will ask that our technology adapt for us. Experience design will bring the human back into focus and will require emotional resonance. And as designers, we must obsess over sense, emotions and these four trajectories—physical, digital, product and service—to create experiences worth celebrating. Until now, these trajectories have existed in their individual silos. But for the next revolution, we need leaders who can build this combined balanced future. We need designers who can create the balanced world of experiences. If you truly want the opportunity to lead innovation, this is what it will take. We need holistic experience designers. This is the line in the sand. Are you in? n




unger is a distribution problem—not a scarcity of food or surplus of people issue. Wow. It’s become my habit when reviewing paperback books to treat them as a tool for writing this column. I dog-ear the pages and write on them, underlining and circling interesting and impactful passages. Basically, I desecrate them. When I was finished with John Thackara’s thoroughly engaging and especially provocative How to Thrive in the New Economy, I had to stand back and admire the amount of carnage I had inflicted. At least every other page was marked, because almost every other page challenges the reader with ideas like the one that opens this paragraph. Thackara, a senior fellow at the Royal College of Art, London, doesn’t stop there: “Farmers must produce more food in the next 50 years than they have in the last 10,000 years combined,” “What if developing land didn’t mean building on it, rather it meant tearing what was built there down,” “We use 6 times more energy washing our favorite shirt than was required to make it.” This book will make you think. The subject matter being explored ranges from unpacking the idea of food, energy and product consumption to rebuilding entire cities in utopian visons of self-sustaining and thriving green ecosystems. Numerous examples are given of where advances and new understandings are being both experimented with and implemented. As an adopted Chicago native these last 20 years, I was thrilled to see how many times my city is mentioned in pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the future to help all people live in a way that can be sustained. Many other cities and organizations challenging the status quo are profiled and examined with a keen understanding and an eye toward future sustainability. Thackara’s writing style is fluid and crisp. You can almost hear his British accent as you read. The book is meticulously researched with an impressive set of references in the bibliography. With its small format and 169 pages, it is a quick read with lasting impact. If there is a critique to be made, the chapters, while all interesting, do not

necessarily flow. They jump from green farming to mobility to dementia. That said, the arguments being made for a more effective and sustainable world are very hard to dispute or dislike. His call to action: that gaining agency in our communities is an imperative, and can be fueled by exploring the ideas in this book. The reader is left with a keen understanding of the connected universe and how these connections deliver impact, from smaller facts to larger ideas. How, for example, a buffalo treading on land is very different and much better for the land than a tractor tramping on that same dirt. Or how systems thinking becomes truly transformational when systems feeling is included, his term for using emotional intelligence in addition to statistical evidence. In chapter 7, the author presents a cage match pitting train travel in India, using a century-old technology, against the high-speed trains of Norway. The contest is about which is more effective and which has a more sustainable future. The winner may surprise you, but the rational used to decide is hard to argue with—and therein lies the genius of the book. Everyone wants to be able to see around corners, right? To be able to predict and understand that the future is magical. Thackara challenges many orthodoxies and underlines the recently forgotten idea—lost having worked hard through the modern era to lift ourselves above nature—that modern science now reminds us of: In order to prosper in the future man and nature must be one. The book frames the answer as being “the circle closes.” The agricultural age, which became the machine age, which then became the information age, comes back around to become something again of an agricultural, sustainable thriving age. The future hinges on lessons from cultures, some even from the ancient and developing world, who already know how to sustain life. The future is dependent on stewardship, not extraction. The idea that the interdependence between healthy soil, living systems and the ways we help them regenerate define the why of the next economy makes How to Thrive in the Next Economy a compelling read for anyone wanting to move gracefully toward the future. —Mark Dziersk, FIDSA, INNOVATION Executive Editor

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By Herb Velazquez, IDSA Herb Velazquez is a professor of practice at the School of Design at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a principal at G Design LLC. He has over 30 years of professional design experience as an industrial design leader within the healthcare field with GE Healthcare, Siemens Healthcare and Kimberly-Clark. Among the many national and international awards he has won for his work are an IDSA Catalyst Award, two IDSA Golds, an iF Best in Medical Award and Belgium Product of the Year.

Dinnerware You Can Print


Stephen Chininis designed this cup and saucer in 1978 while studying under Viktor Schreckengost. The process to make the model used wood and plaster and took weeks to complete.


ou don’t have to be Martha Stewart to create the perfect tablescape. Students in the Georgia Tech Sophomore Industrial Design Studio explored the ability of anyone to create their own custom place settings. The resulting Dine With Design exhibition showcases eight sets of 3D printed dinnerware. “I get excit-

ed when I see students tackling real societal problems with simple artifacts,” said Erika Gomez, a lecturer at Georgia Tech. “The empathy reflected in those designs, and the urge to solve problems for real people, resulted in a great variety of systems exploring the relationships between the user and the environment.” So how did the students successfully focus on addressing human physical limitations, inclusion and creating connection experiences through dinnerware?



When Stephen Chininis was a student at the Cleveland Institute of Art, he had an amazing instructor for a project that was so hard he never forgot it. The instructor was Viktor Schreckengost, whom you just might know from his famous Jazz Bowl. Ever since Chininis began teaching at Georgia Tech in 1988, he had wanted to give a similar assignment, because it had taught him so much about design fundamentals. Unfortunately, the old-world technique he used in school to make the models was impractical. It uses a special clay Lotus by Lillian Gluck and plaster technique that takes weeks to complete. Recently, when Chininis, Gomez and I were searching for a new project to help reinvent the Georgia Tech Sophomore Industrial Design Studio, we decided to try going back to the basics—with a twist. The result was rethinking the classic dinnerware problem, combining beauty with utility. Except now students could use 3D printing to make it easier to visualize their ideas. The Design Process The objective for the students was to explore the relationship between a system of products and the environment in which the products exists. Students began by selecting a user group to design for, such as for a blind user, a child, a Chinese restaurant and young millennials. Then they engaged in a variety of design research techniques to understand the user needs for dinnerware from various points of view. Conducting observational research was one very direct method students employed to see, photograph, interview, and gain an empathetic understanding of the user, context and needs. Notes from this discovery research phase were captured as digital images, written words and ideation drawings, including quick thumbnail sketches.

This rapid ideation process gave way to a decision-making exercise through the application of specific design criteria that represent key user needs. This process allowed stronger ideas to emerge and to be further developed and refined. Evaluation of the three final concepts required students to get feedback from their representative user group. This meant taking their concept drawings and models into the field to help validate their designs. The final concept refinement phase involved producing full-sized dinnerware sets made quickly from foam core and other materials. Students used these models to confirm scale and general form aesthetics as well as to begin discussing manufacturability, materials and other design factors. Chininis delivered a detailed overview of good principles for 3D CAD models appropriate for good 3D printing. Students proceeded with CAD models and realized their design ideas through 3D printing using the FDM process with PLA filament. All this the class of 45 completed in four weeks. The majority of the projects were displayed in the School of Industrial Design’s Launchpad exhibition held in December 2017. The Dine with Design project will be next exhibited during the Atlanta Design Week, June 1–3 2018, The Outcomes While the resulting dinnerware designs looked great at the show, students had to overcome a variety of issues. The design process focused on designing for someone else in a specific context. This forced them to think critically on many levels to connect with the outside world, to be empathetic and to prioritize needs into actionable design criteria.

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Lucy Kates set out to aid those with the use of only one hand as the result of a stroke. Her CVA dinnerware set helps users maintain their dignity with a form that enables them to easily scoop their food without the support of a second hand. In her three-piece Afar set, Laura Sierra Otalvaro addressed airline passengers. “I was inspired by the tension between the fear of flying and the admiration of flying,” she said. “I wanted to create a product that would eliminate this fear and emphasize its beauty.” Its calming tones and contour lines help provide a warm, friendly environment for flight. The students’ exploration of form informed the outcomes as well. Lillian Gluck said of the experience, “Designing objects as simple as dinnerware was a unique process because the emphasis is about 99 percent on the form.” Gluck’s Lotus dinnerware set is organic, balanced, modern. “This set is designed to fit into any modern environment and gives its owners pride in the way they serve food,” she said. “In addition, the pieces of this set interact in a way that, when stacked, come together to create a new, unique form that makes a design statement in any home.” The other challenge students dealt with was the 3D printers and the 3D printing process. Both the GA Tech campus and the design department have many 3D printers used extensively by students. The challenge for the students was timing or, put another way, being able to gain access to an open and working 3D printer in order to complete their prints in time for the final presentations. To help accomplish this, Chininis spent many extra hours helping to ensure that the 3D CAD models would print and that the printers were kept operational. Both students and faculty gained a deeper understanding of the operational management of 3D printers within an open school environment. Looking back at where we started and where we ended up, the class grew their understanding of the role of design in everyday objects. Some students initially perceived this to be simply a form exercise, but quickly came to realize that we expected much more from them through the application of design thinking methods. At the Launchpad showcase, with the projects elegantly presented on an expansive black dinner table with sparkling candlelights running down the center, the creativity and variety of the dinnerware sets truly shined. n From top: Angle Up by Chianne Connelly; SnackStack by Thomas Schmelzle; Afar by Laura Sierra Otalvaro.


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