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Wounded Warriors + Design biomimicry





Summer 2012

smart watching The e-sync watch gives you the freedom of motion, by instantly displaying all notifications from your smartphone.

Concept by Radius Senior Designer Mario Gonzalez


sUMMER 2012 速

Publisher Roxann Henze IDSA 555 Grove Street, Suite 200 Herndon, VA 20170 P: 703.707.6000 x102 F: 703.787.8501

Executive Editor Mark Dziersk, FIDSA Managing Director Lunar | Chicago Advisory Council Gregg Davis, IDSA Alistair Hamilton, IDSA

Managing Editor & Designer Karen Berube K.Designs 3511 Broadrun Dr. Fairfax, VA 22033 P: 703.860.4411 Contributing Editor Jennifer Evans Yankopolus

Advertising Katie Fleger IDSA 555 Grove Street, Suite 200 Herndon, VA 20170 P: 703.707.6000 x104 F: 703.787.8501

The quarterly publication of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), Innovation provides in-depth coverage of design issues and long-term trends while communicating the value of design to business and society at large.

Annual Subscriptions Within the US $60 Canada & Mexico $75 International $110 Single Copies Fall/Yearbook All others

$35+ S&H $17+ S&H

Patrons of Industrial Design Excellence

WOUNDED WARRIORS 24 Doing It by Design by Patricia Moore, FIDSA Guest Editor

26 Redesigning the Great American Pastime: Play Ball! by Jason Billingsley and David Van Sleet

28 A Rehabilitation Center Design Project for Wounded Warriors: Daring to Care by Vibhavari Jani 32 Support from a High-Tech Lab—or the House Next Door: From a Myoelectric Mouse to a Hammer and Nail by Stephen Karl and Julie Fisher 35 Arming Our Veterans by Dean Kamen


48 Extreme Learning for Everyday Design: Lessons from the One-Handed World by Kelley Styring features

Cambridge, MA; London, UK; San Francisco; Munich, Germany; Chicago; New York Jerome Caruso Design Inc., Lake Forest, IL Masco, Taylor, MI Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH

13 Design Obsolescence: A Thing of the Past by Tony

Webb deVlam Chicago, Chicago, IL

Kawanari, IDSA and Gabriel Botkins


16 Biomimicry & Design Education: Shaking Hands with a Sloth by Adelheid Fischer available in print only

Altitude, Somerville, MA

22 Consumer Collaboration: Setting Off an IdeaStorm™ by Gary Grossman, IDSA

In every issue

4 From the Executive Editor 38 The Wounded Warrior by Mark Dziersk, FIDSA Homes: An Agile Discourse Between Dualities 6 Business Concepts by Altay Sendil and Hilary Hoeber

by Ravi Sawhney, FIDSA

42 An In-Depth Look by Michael Graves & Associates

8 Letters to the Editor 10 Design Defined

45 An Inclusive Consumer Research Perspective: Coming Home by Brian McMahon and Joyce Chung

IDEO, Palo Alto, CA; Shanghai, China;

by Scott Summit

12 Book Review by Scott Stropkay, IDSA 53 Showcase 64 Signposts by Alistair Hamilton, IDSA

“The Wounded Warrior Complex helps injured combat veterans to find independence and new hope.”

Cesaroni Design Associates Inc., Glenview, IL Continuum, Boston; Los Angeles; Milan, Italy; Seoul, South Korea; Shanghai, China Crown Equipment, New Bremen, OH Dell, Round Rock, TX Design Concepts, Madison, WI Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, TN Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, CA IDI/Innovations & Development Inc., Edgewater, NJ Lunar Design Inc., Palo Alto, CA Metaphase Design Group Inc., St. Louis, MO Nokia Design, Calabasas, CA Smart Design, New York; San Francisco; Barcelona, Spain Stanley Black & Decker, New Britain, CT Teague, Seattle, WA Tupperware, Worldwide Charter Patrons indicated by color.

For more information about becoming a Patron and supporting IDSA’s communication and education outreach, please contact Dawn Hatzer at 703.707.6000 x119.

Wounded Warrior Complex, Camp Pendleton, CA (left) designed by Parron Hall Office Interiors for US Marine Corps;

QUarTerly oF The inDUsTrial DesiGners socieTy oF america

Summer 2012

Cover photo: Marine Captain and Iraqi Vet Jonathan Kuniholm wearing a prototype of


a neurally controlled prosthetic arm developed by the DARPA Revolutionizing Prothestics project. Mike McGregor / Contour by Getty Images


Wounded Warriors + Design biomimicry





Summer 2012

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 Street, 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 Street, Suite 200, Herndon, VA 20170, USA. ©2012 Industrial Designers Society of America. Vol. 31, No. 2, 2012; Library of Congress Catalog No. 82-640971; ISSN No. 0731-2334; USPS 0016-067.

Advertisers’ Index c3 2012 IDSA Conference 7 Conwed 1 LaFrance Corp. c4 Lunar 8 MIT Press c2 Radius PD 9 Stratyasys Far Left: More Showcase submissions on page 53.

from the editor

Finding InspireD Answers A nyone who has walked into my office in the last 20 years has been greeted by the same sight. Those who are unfamiliar with design usually ask, “What’s that?” It appears to be some kind of fabulous wooden sculpture. Those steeped in design history immediately recognize it as a classic piece by Charles and Ray Eames, the same piece I recently saw hanging, for example, in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It is a wooden splint for repairing a damaged leg but not just any wooden splint. This one changed the face of modern design, the future of furniture and the career of the 20th century’s most respected design team. The iconic Eames Leg Splint was designed in 1942 for use by the US Navy in World War II. The US Navy called upon Charles and Ray Eames to create a lightweight, inexpensive leg splint. The metal splints of that period weren’t secure enough to hold the leg still, causing unnecessary death from gangrene, shock, blood loss and so on. The military needed a lightweight splint for wounded soldiers that could get them out of the field more securely. The resulting design is a highly sculptural yet functional device that can be mass produced, is modular and nests so that it can be conveniently and inexpensively transported. The molded splint is formed with contours that fit to and immobilize a leg at the same time providing perfectly placed openings for fabric restraints. Although the splint was eventually manufactured by Evans Products’ Molded Plywood Division (over 150,000 were made), it was access to military technology and manufacturing facilities that allowed the Eames’ to perfect their bent plywood technique, which they had been working on for several years. In its three-dimensional, biomorphic form, the leg splint paved the way for the Eames’ subsequent iconic and highly influential plywood furniture designs, includ-

ing the LCD chair and the Eames lounger, among many others. The Leg Splint is a truly beautiful object and an inspired answer to a problem that had none. This was really where the Eames legend began. This example of a seemingly specialized design problem—a practical aid for disabled soldiers— inspired a whole aesthetic in modernist furnishings, the chairs that launched a thousand imitators and a new ethos of simple, organic lines in household objects. The story of the Leg Splint suggests that disability concerns may be an overlooked area of aesthetic inspiration, able to point to creative breakthroughs that have wide relevance and impact. I found it at an old antique shop in Milwaukee’s Third Coast warehouse district, when you could find deals before the area was redeveloped to its gentrified state. Actually, to be accurate, I found about seven or eight of them, all in the original paper wrappers. So I bought them all for around $20 each. I unwrapped one to put out, as it were, and it has served as an inspiration ever since. Little did I know that one day we would dedicate an issue of Innovation to the very kind of exploration in the marriage of technology, material and design seen in the Eames splint—an effort to change the world for the better by increasing the quality of living for a few. We are hoping this issue of Innovation serves the same mission. Who better than Pattie Moore, FIDSA to guest edit? Initially recognized in the design world for her pioneering on behalf of the needs of elderly people, Pattie has amazing talent and a huge heart and has worked tirelessly in the service of universal design. Her efforts on behalf of wounded warriors is further testament to the desire and drive evident in the entirety of her career. We thank her for her leadership of this inspired issue. —Mark Dziersk, FIDSA, Innovation Executive Editor


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Michael Lozano

I N N O V A T I O N s u mme r 2 0 1 2


B usiness Concepts

Coming of Age


Who could have predicted that the iPhone would rom my perspective, design is now coming of age reinvent communication for so many people or that Good for many reasons and through many contributions. Grips would be found in so many households or that I’m by no means a design historian—I’ve simply Swiffer could meaningfully improve been working in design long enough the broom, an unchanged icon for (since 1976) to have seen where centuries? We—as designers—did! we’ve come from and propose a In becoming self-aware as Vision has always been one of our vision for our exciting future. greatest gifts. While we still are Design today plays a critical a profession, and in coming asked occasionally to design the role in making Apple the most valunext clock radio, it’s the design able company in the world. It also of age, I propose that we all profession’s unforeseen ability to empowers the Gates Foundation see what could be, how it could be, and others to improve the quality of take the time to stop and why it would be—and what value it life around the globe. Design, driven by the designer’s vision and ability take inventory of where we’ve would bring—that makes me stop and think about us. to realize it, helps new companies In becoming self-aware as a emerge through platforms such as come from, where we are profession, and in coming of age, Kickstarter. Designers are also comI propose that we all take the time pensated through equity and rev and where we will be going. to stop and take inventory of where enue sharing schemes with greater we’ve come from, where we are frequency, to the point where many and where we will be going. Realize the amazing things that consultancies, if not all, have employed alternative compenwe will all be a part of in the coming decades. In doing so, sation models. And designers inside of corporations have you’ll raise the awareness of the value of your contributions. the eyes, ears, hearts and respect of those around them Congratulations to all of us in this profession for transall the way into the C-suite. In many cases, designers are forming ourselves into something that few could have ever in the C-suite. This wasn’t so true 40 years ago. Looking imagined: a profession that is recognized, valued and asked back, it seems that, aside from the superstars, we were to take the steering wheel more and more often. treated with far less respect. We are in this profession at a time that will never again —Ravi Sawhney, FIDSA be repeated—one of incredible opportunity. The design profession was only born a relatively short time ago. Our potential to reduce consumption, increase people’s ability to rise from poverty and enable others to live more enriched lives is just now being realized. In the near future, I foresee that design will be celebrated for its ability to connect people to their products, services and experiences. It will also be inconceivable to bring anything to market without design being a key component.

Editor’s Note: In this new column, we illustrate how design contributes to business success. The column will be guest written by a different author each issue. We hope you enjoy it.


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You will find us in the most unexpected places.

Find out why Fortune 500® companies rely on Conwed for versatile, strong and lightweight design solutions. Conwed manufactures the leading plastic netting portfolio in the world and our products are key components in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications. From medical, hygiene and consumer-packaged goods to automotive, filtration and wind energy products, we deliver superior and diverse functionalities. We’d like to help you design your next product innovation, so let us share our capabilities and long list of successful applications with your team of designers and engineers.

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50 years







The Form Is the Function I enjoyed this past issue of Innovation. I was surprised to see the title of Tucker Viemeister’s introduction, “Form Is Function.” After reading, I saw that his viewpoint is a bit different from the motto I have been working on: the form is the function. This is fusing form and function so that one does not follow the other, but rather the form is the function. I occasionally find other people talking about similar ideas, but I designed a tape dispenser using a single piece of steel, and every aspect of its form is necessary to its function. Just thought I would share my point of view. I graduated from Western Washington University last year, and I am happy to have joined a group of people who are continuing the practice of quality form giving. —Tom Kloucek,

White Album or Mistake? The Innovation spring issue looks great. It’s like the White Album cover...a classic. Nice mix of content. —Mike McCoy, IDSA

The cover of the spring 2012 magazine that I received appears very faded and barely viewable. This could have been the intention (and this would be the magazine that would push these boundaries!), but just in case I wanted to let you know to avoid sending out misprinted material. The rest of the magazine is perfect, and thank you for the great design material! —Bill Bickford, IDSA, The Estee Lauder Companies

The Form Issue: Pros and Cons The essays in the spring Innovation reminded me of all the great reasons I became a designer in the first place: to make physical things and build a beautiful, sensorial, intelligent world. In that pursuit, I’ve learned that mass production is only one channel to explore beauty and ideas, while the fine arts, crafts and architecture offer powerful hybrid spaces for designers to explore new forms and produce new culture. With so much inspiring work happening in the design culture at large, it’s disappointing that this issue about form showed us mostly examples of conventional products and missed a chance to survey the field more widely. Not all form is injection molded. —Scott Klinker, IDSA, Cranbrook Academy of Art


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China’s Design Revolution Lorraine Justice foreword by Xin Xinyang “This brilliant book helps us understand why the Chinese and the design-minded in China think and act as they do, what their design scene is today, and what the historic development behind the current situation has been. I would highly recommend China’s Design Revolution to anyone considering hiring or collaborating with designers in China, or with the increasing number of Chinese designers all around the world.” — Anna Valtonen, Rector, Professor, Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University, Sweden Design Thinking, Design Theory series 152 pp., 46 illus., $21.95 cloth

The MIT Press

To order call 800-405-1619 • Visit our e-books store:

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Leasing available only in the United States. Additional options, shipping, applicable taxes and/or duties not included. ©2012 Stratasys, Inc.

design defined

designing with the body


s industrial designers, the design of our physical products is typically limited by the constraints placed upon us by mass production. We accept this as a fundamental tenent of our profession. And so we reduce complexity to minimize cost, we design to appeal to people more than to a person in order to amortize development costs, and we accept that tooling and fabrication methods will ultimately influence our products as much as we do. These are the inalienable laws set down by mass production; they have directed our profession since its inception. Our products live by vastly different rules than the apps that pour virally into the digital devices in our lives. This is because our products are physical and are based on organizations of molecules, not on code. Industrial designers necessarily face high upfront costs, a lag time between design and market, an inability to truly customize and a diminished capacity to expand virally. But what if our physical products were instead as available as a piece of code? What if our inventory existed as 1s and 0s in the cloud, not as products in warehouses? What if our physical products were as customizable as Wikipedia? Better still, if our products were themselves solutions for users’ needs, then could we create viral remedies that spread as conveniently as iPad apps, only now aimed at addressing human challenges? This day approaches, and technology and design must now evolve to embrace that new landscape. Enter Additive Fabrication The new tools now evolving under our watch stand to challenge some of these fundamental assumptions and invite us to rethink those laws that have traditionally limited us. 3D printing, which used to exist only as a method to envision an approximate sample of what would be a mass-produced part, now creates final consumer-ready parts on demand— no mass production necessary. This changes the rules of business, design and production, since the product remains as malleable and as transmissible as code, bringing with it

all of the opportunities that code has traditionally enjoyed alone. Already, for example, we’ve seen the success of Freedom of Creation, a design company that creates stunning 3D-printed lighting products with neither inventory nor startup costs. Meanwhile, the N-E-R-VO-U-S System invites users to co-design the jewelry that it will have 3D printed. In both cases, inventory exists only as lines of code, and the fulfillment begins only after the purchase has actually taken place. A new business model has been proven, and now it’s up to the industrial design community to explore just how far it can be taken. Why Prosthetics? I started Bespoke as an experiment to see how one might connect the dividends of a digital fabrication process with the unmet needs of highly personalized products. I wanted to visit Cambodia, for example, with nothing more than a camera and laptop and create a high-quality 3D printed prosthetic leg for an amputee in need. The camera becomes a scanner, and the leg would exist only as parametric code, waiting to morph itself to adapt to any amputee’s body. A prosthetic leg makes an ideal candidate for 3D printing: It is entirely customized to each person, it is inherently mechanically complex, and its design has everything to do with the emotional bond created between a person and what will become a part of that person’s body. Ideally, such a leg stands to level the cost-benefit playing field for lower-income users by playing to the opportunities unique to a digital fabrication process. At the moment, though the test parts have succeeded, 3D printing is still too expensive and its machines too uncommon to offer to the world affordable solutions necessary to spread virally. But as costs continue to drop and machine technology improves, many in the industry foresee this day as a when, not an if. It’s up to the next generation of industrial designers to curate the process and guide it to address needs and improve quality of life. —Scott Summit

book review

Good Products, Bad Products

Essential Elements to Achieving Superior Quality


ne of things I appreciate about working with good engineers is the rigor they bring to the process of characterizing problems. In Good Products, Bad Products, James Adams, a highly accomplished engineer and perhaps an even more accomplished professor at Stanford University, brings a new level of intellectual rigor to the problem of quality—a subject designers understand viscerally but tend to have a hard time expressing in words. This is a well-considered work. Adams is not just expressing an opinion in the moment, and he’s not describing quality in the narrow manufacturing-focused terms some of us experienced in the total quality management and SixSigma methods of the ’80s and Love such products ’90s. Adams’ approach is holistic and forward-looking. He describes our nation’s history of developing products, our cultural preference for quantitative information over qualitative information and the system of education we’ve structured that steers young learners away from qualitative subjects and toward (frankly, easier-to-grade) quantifiable knowledge. With this multidimensional context, he frames the forces influencing quality, including the customer brand-loyalty incentive, the boardroom’s quarterly-profit-derived effect on quality investments, and the role of government in the creation of incentives and regulations to inspire innovation. In all these settings, Adams reminds us that real people are making quality judgments and quality decisions every day. He reminds us that humans evolved precisely because of our ability to sense minute quality differences and that now, in our connected world, our senses and sense-making abilities are greatly multiplied. People are shaping the quality discussion like never before, and they are demanding more from the companies who make their products.

Brick by brick, Adams builds his argument that great products are built by great teams who strive for quality. He begins at the foundation on issues designers studied in school, like human fit, craftsmanship, human need and aesthetics, providing a clearer rationale for things we’ve sensed and felt for years. He goes on to tackle more abstract concepts, like the symbolism in quality and the idea of meaning in terms of tribal values, national values and broader human values. Finally, he frames quality in the context of our future on this planet. Here he looks at the subject from a brain-science perspective, characterizing our cognitive limitations as humans and the effect that it has on our ability to comprehend global-scale and long-termsurvival-oriented problems. and wallow in them. But Adams is hopeful; there are things we can do to keep big needs and future needs top of mind, connecting abstract long-term goals to understandable short-term goals. Naturally, one would love more quantitative evidence of the value of these qualitative ideas. We’ve all faced the difficult task of defending quality-related details against costcutting forces, and a little extra evidence would be handy. Maybe Adams intentionally limited quantified “proof” of his qualitative ideas? After all, shouldn’t smart teams be able to feel product success before they can count it? Didn’t you know that the iPad was going to be successful when you touched it? Did you have to wait for sales figures? Apple didn’t wait, nor did it perform quantitative testing on the idea with consumers; Apple just knew. Good Products, Bad Products is written as a challenge to anyone who develops products and services. There is meaning in quality. It’s time to think about what we make. Its time to design the effect we have on people and the environment. It’s time for quality. How good can our products be?

—Scott Stropkay, IDSA


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By Tony Kawanari, IDSA and Gabriel Botkins n Tony Kawanari is a faculty member of the Industrial Design Program, School of Design, College of DAAP, University of Cincinnati. n Gabriel Botkins is a graduate student of the Industrial Design Program, School of Design, College of DAAP, University of Cincinnati.

Designed Obsolescence

A Thing of the Past


lanned obsolescence is the deliberate practice of shortening a product’s life through one or more of the following means: physical, postponed, technological and style. Since the 1920s, designers and manufacturers in the US have integrated planned obsolescence into their business strategies.

Even after decades of criticism, planned obsolescence is still prevalent; today it is marketed as “innovative,” “green” or “sustainable” design. Physical, postponed, technological and style obsolescence are used for expanding profit margins while sacrificing jobs, natural resources and reliability.

Physical obsolescence is the intentional designing of a product so that it needs to be replaced sooner. This practice is done out of a desire for increased revenue through more frequent purchases, limited materials and reduced cost. To remain competitive, companies must reduce production costs. In this respect, products are designed to minimum specifications because on paper it seems to be the most pragmatic approach. For instance, the life expectancy of refrigerators has declined significantly over the last 30 years. What was once expected to last 20 years now lasts eight to 12. This is often viewed as a positive for product manufacturers; production costs are significantly reduced and consumers now have to buy the product twice as often, thus increasing profit margins. Technological obsolescence is the practice of pushing out new technology that renders older technology useless. Televisions and other media-based technology are great examples of this practice. Televisions have gone from lasting 20 years to seven, on average. “Old” sets are perfectly functional, but new and improved models outstrip them. We went from one major improvement in 50 years to three in a matter of 10. Rear projection TVs were the trend 10 years ago, but then we were encouraged to upgrade to LCD HDTVs in the mid 2000s and now to 3D TVs. This decreasing mean time has touched nearly every media industry; television, cinema and music have all gone through

upgrade after upgrade. And every time we have had to repurchase the rights to media that we have already bought. Postponed obsolescence is the withholding of a product’s improvement to shorten its lifespan; this is a counterbalance to technological obsolescence. This is most clearly seen in industries that have tiered product categories ranging from the low end to the high end. Safety features such as anti-lock brakes, power steering, power windows, four-wheel independent suspension, GPS, keyless entry and airbags tend to be standard on mid- to high-end vehicles, but not on lower-end models. Companies may argue that including such features would raise the price-point outside the reach of the consumer’s budget for a low-end car. Instead, the practice shortens the life of the product, lowers its resale value and creates the incentive for a replacement purchase sooner rather than later. Style obsolescence is the frequent change in a product’s aesthetic to differentiate between brands, new products from old and high-end from entry level. This practice originated in seasonal fashion changes and was adopted by the automotive industry with its annual body style changes. There may be no change in the product’s construction and functionality, but its appearance changes enough to date previous models. With a society immersed in youth culture and consumerism, there is a tremendous social pressure to be constantly up to date.

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Copyright © Chris Jurdan


The Planned Obsolescence Landscape These four modes of planned obsolescence have been with us for nearly 100 years. Tremendous efforts developed over the last half of the 20th century to combat the negative effects of these modes of production. However, these efforts have not always yielded the desired results. The green design movement, as sincere as it is, has been used to propagate the idea that we must abandon our old, perfectly useful products for a lower carbon footprint. For instance, we are compelled to abandon our old cars for new hybrids. Your old Toyota that gets 27 mpg is hurting the environment, so buy a new Prius that gets 41 mpg. Then you have BP airing commercials showing one of its gas stations in a beautiful green field powered by solar panels. Another commercial features interviews with people asking them how big their carbon footprint is, as if BP is the authority on reducing carbon footprints. It is a green brainwash, yet we still feel better filling our new Prius with fuel from a company that has become the standard for caring for the environment. These companies care for little else than filling us with the desire to give them money. While planned obsolescence is still with us today, most people do not see how we have become economically addicted to it. If manufacturers lower consumer expectations for a product’s life cycle, they stand to earn significantly more. The automotive industry is well known and criticized for the implementation of the annual model, but that’s what keeps sales going. This applies across the board with consumer goods and is most obvious in com-


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munications technology and household goods. Apple, Sony, General Electric and many others have continually flooded the market with products that have shorter and shorter life spans. This is considered good practice because it generates more profit. Simple home machinery (e.g., washers and refrigerators) has been pulled into this model at the expense of domestic jobs, labor safety, resources and energy. With a high emphasis placed on quarterly earnings and a minimal focus paid to those who make, buy and live with these products, it’s no wonder consumer confidence is declining. The underlying formula with all forms of planned obsolescence is this: make it cheaper and faster, kill it sooner and sell it more often, then make a larger profit than last quarter. It has worked wonders for companies like General Motors, Ford, Apple, Dell, General Electric, Maytag, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and many more. As consumers, we are constantly compelled to make purchases at an everincreasing rate. Products are poorly made and repair costs are high; we are more likely to buy a replacement than repair something that will just break again. Since the 1970s, major US corporations have focused on moving most of their capital into the financial system instead of manufacturing. President Nixon was an enthusiastic supporter of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, an “independent” government agency set up to encourage the private sector to invest in developing countries’ new markets. As a result, the US has lost over 50 percent of its manufacturing jobs since 1981. Manufacturing still exists, but it is now elsewhere. There is no home bias

for corporations, simply territories where you can get away with labor exploitation and others where you cannot. With the policy of profit over people, the US will not see a return to the creation of true wealth until we as citizens, laborers and consumers enact change. Planned obsolescence is a symptom of profit over labor. Labor is not exclusive to people making products; virtually all people are laborers. The working class has been subdivided into middle-class consumers, blue-collar laborers, white-collar managers and well-to-do gentry. Your life and your family do not fall into the considerations of corporations beyond the extent that you provide income through your work and your capital. We design it, we build it, we finance it, we subsidize it and we buy it one more time so that we may call it our own. Solutions So, how do we fix this? There are manufacturers and businesses that want to correct this problem. The solution is three-fold. First, we must elect officials who will take action on behalf of the people. Second, we must all play by the same rules. Third, we must become more independent and self-sufficient. This may seem impossible, as many feel powerless, but the answers can be found in our nation’s rich labor history. For the better part of a century, manufacturers used child labor despite protests about morality and practicality. Children were exploited as cheap labor, and it cost them life and limb. Companies that abhorred child labor had needed it for the savings and competitive advantage it provided. Those exploiting child labor could lower prices and undercut their competitors; this is similar to the problems of today. What began as a grassroots effort to abolish child labor eventually found footing as the Great Depression loomed. Jobs were scarce as the nation faced over 25 percent unemployment. Today, China and India are a hotbed for credulous cheap labor. Companies that use this labor are scrutinized because those were once US jobs. Additionally, some of those companies have been known to use sweatshops that exploit child labor or have abhorrent, coercive conditions, such as Foxconn. Preventing these practices is near impossible as these companies are backed by corrupt governments in developing countries. We need legislative protection against companies that exploit sweatshops and

child labor. If we take legislative action to prevent companies like Apple, Intel, Microsoft and Motorola from engaging in business agreements with offshore labor camps, we can create a system that brings jobs back to the US. We need to impose trade tariffs to equate the wages of foreign laborers to our own. It would no longer be cost effective to harvest our national resources, ship them overseas and then return them to the US in the form of consumer products. Why aren’t our leaders fixing these problems? Most of our politicians have no expertise in business beyond exploiting their office for insider deals. They studied political science, public relations or law, but generally have no experience creating and running a business. They were never engineers, industrial designers, carpenters, electricians or factory workers. What can we expect from a group of unskilled laborers? We need to elect leaders with experience in making tangible things, and we need them to reform foreign and domestic policies, now. There are simple ways to end planned obsolescence. Give smaller local companies a chance. Let the multinational corporations downsize and shrink away. Work locally for smaller companies where you know who you are dealing with. In order for smaller companies to succeed we need to cultivate a skilled labor force with a broad multidisciplinary education. Let’s return to teaching vocational skills alongside academics: woodworking, auto repair, textiles, drafting, welding, printing, culinary arts, agriculture, electrical training, plumbing, carpentry, building construction, etc. We need people capable in many trades, not specialists whose focus is so narrow that they cannot see the forest through the trees. With the rebirth of local industry, we will find the quality that we once found in Maytag, Stetson and Frigidaire. We as consumers and producers can use our influence and ingenuity to create higher-quality, longer-lasting products with the return of manufacturing to the US. In times like these, we will witness a growing trend where the market demands higher-quality products because we do not have the surplus income that we once had. We can no longer chase fads because we don’t know if we’ll have the paychecks next season. What we buy better last and it better be the best. As designers, engineers and manufacturers, we will have the chance to take pride in our work. We will no longer mass-produce disposable frivolous garbage. We will not work just for a paycheck; we will work for our families, our reputation and ourselves. n

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By Gary Grossman, IDSA • Gary Grossman is founder and president of IDI USA Inc. in Edgewater, NJ. Founded in 1968, IDI is proud to be a charter patron of IDSA.

Consumer Collaboration

Setting off an ideastorm™


onsumers are brilliant product development collaborators, if led properly. However, too often industrial designers fail to leave the comfort of their studios to directly engage consumers in a process of collaborative ideation and that often results in the failure of new products to meet

consumers’ real needs. Traditionally, industrial designers brainstorm as a team or struggle individually to develop new product concepts. Years ago, I learned the fallacy of this process when a client recognized that our in-house team was not making progress toward designing the next-generation cordless power drill. Thinking we were about to lose the account, the client’s lead engineer took me aside and said, “Why don’t you guys get off your butts, buy some donuts, visit some job sites and ask construction workers what they need?” How could I refuse?


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After sharing donuts and coffee with just two groups of construction workers, we developed the concept for a product that would revolutionize the power tool category: a snap-out battery pack that when removed for charging is replaced by a second battery so work won’t be disrupted. And so was born the seeds of a consumer collaborative process that we have been refining for nearly 40 years. What we dubbed “IdeaStorm” rapidly evolved into an innovation concept-generation process that has been responsible for the creation of dozens of iconic American

products and packages from health care to technology to food and beyond. In brief, IdeaStorm™ is a creative collaborative consumer innovation process that harvests the insights of current product and service users and the input of a multidisciplinary group from the client in a freewheeling discussion that is moderated by veteran industrial designers. Designers lead the discussion from a carefully crafted questionnaire, developed from earlier research phases and sketch participants’ ideas in real time as they discuss their needs and desires. The beauty lies in the simplicity of the process and its ability to work across any product or service category. Composed of three phases, each ideation session includes eight consumers, four client-management team members and three design managers. Consumer profiles are determined by the client’s preferred demographics, with participants selected by professional recruiters. Prepping and Brainstorming Phase one relaxes participants with an hour of group activities in which designers probe consumers’ product usage rituals—where they store the product, how they clean it, what they like and don’t like about it, what’s inconvenient and convenient, etc.—for clues about innovation opportunities, category usage rituals and taboos. But rather than simply setting up in a corporate conference or focus-group room, a series of predefined exploratory activities are conducted on custom-built sets designed to mimic the product usage environment: a kitchen, bathroom, patio, garden, etc. These hands-on activities—opening bottles, setting a table, stacking dishes, potting plants, etc.—eases the participants into a creative mood while fostering a free-flowing conversation that results in a highly interactive panel dynamic in which the engagement of all team members encourages the idea generation process.

After a break, phase two brainstorming is held in a large studio with white paper hung on the walls. In this session, the design team listens intently to the group discussion, transforming their ideas into concept sketches that are immediately hung and refined. Later, the designers will use key sketches as a springboard for additional ideas. Here too, the participants are provided various stimuli to encourage their ideas. In one case, 75 new packages were placed on the table, and people were asked to select the one they felt was most meaningful. As the participants select their overall favorites, the group brainstorms new ideas based on that concept sketch. Throughout this phase, the design team interprets remarks and creates new sketches, which will be reviewed in the final concept-selection process. Review and Editing About 45 minutes into the third phase, the team leader gives each group member one sketch. Participants are asked to select which one they would likely purchase and why. Usually, the process produces four to six ideas; sometimes concepts are combined and composites are immediately sketched. As the discussion concludes, there is applause, thank yous and some 120 or more idea sketches hanging on the wall. Immediately following the departure of the consumers, the design team convenes with the client to select their favorites. Generally about 12 ideas are selected as inspiration and a guide for further creative sessions. IdeaStorm offers brand marketers several important benefits over traditional new product R&D programs. A great deal of time and money can be saved by actively engaging category consumers in the innovation process, before money is invested in prototyping and test marketing. Plus, employed on an annual basis, IdeaStorm enables brands to keep in step with evolving consumer needs. So if you want ensure that your new product development programs pay off, add consumers to your creative team. n

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wounded warriors

Doing It by Design


am a conflicted pacifist. My grandfather fought in World War I. My father fought in World War II. I protested the US involve-

ment in Vietnam as a freshman at RIT. I’ve never embraced the concept of war to bring peace, and I doubt I ever will. But I do appreciate the need to defend from attack and to protect from aggression. And while I accept that war is a reality with which we have lived for centuries, I dream of a day when all peoples will live in peace.

The Independence Way mini-mart provides for clerk and shopper skill building.


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By Patricia Moore, FIDSA Patricia Moore, president of MooreDesign Associates, is an internationally renowned gerontologist and designer, serving as a leading authority on consumer lifespan behaviors and requirements. Among her many accolades, she has received an honorary doctorate from Syracuse University for serving as a “guiding force for a more humane and livable world, blazing a path for inclusiveness as a true leader in the movement of universal design.”

As pained as I am by hate and hurt, I am passionate about the design and delivery of comfort and care for the injuries of battle. For the past 20 years, I have been involved in the creation and design of more than 300 physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM+R) environments throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Working with the complex complement of physicians and therapists who have dedicated their talents and skills to mending the affects of accidents, birth anomalies and illnesses has been the most significant honor of my career. In 2006, I was presented with the challenge of developing a PM+R environment for the flagship Veterans Mobility training skills are gained by interacting with various walkways such as in this simulated home. Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Washington, DC. This project women calculated the weight and price. When the therapist touched my heart and stirred my spirit more than any chalsmiled the confirmation of a successful result, the young lenge I have experienced. Watching bodies ravaged by war soldier squealed with delight. “I did it! I did it! What should fighting to regain abilities lost to brutality was particularly I do next?” It was extremely difficult not to celebrate her difficult for me. Yet I was inspired witnessing the men and accomplishment with tears. women who have bravely served our nation working to From our first steps to our last, we are surrounded by develop compensatory skills. the efforts of design. Whether we are learning or relearning This first VAMC Independence Way celebrated its the skills of everyday living, our successes or our failures will opening in the fall of 2010. Woven within the traditional be by design. The universal challenge of meeting the needs rehab equipment and gyms, this blend of home and city and wishes of all consumers with appropriate and exemincludes a simulated ATM, house, mini-mart and a variety of plary design is the mission of all of us who have the gifts and walkways. When the first veterans entered this microcosm the power to create. Ultimately, when we provide inclusive community, full of real-life activities, their exclamations were solutions, we have done our best work. For me, exclusion is a moving testament to design’s power to redefine lives. excruciatingly unacceptable. A young woman with a head injury initially approached The contributions to the goals of inclusion featured the mini-mart with apprehension. She cautiously retrieved a in this issue serve as exemplars of what can and should shopping basket and with the prompting of her occupational be done, by design. It is our hope that this body of work therapist read her list aloud. “Apples,” she whispered hesiintrigues and incites the dedication of design as the most tantly. “I need apples.” Locating the (artificial) produce, she powerful weapon for capacity, comfort and, yes, peace. n carefully placed individual apples on a scale. Together, the

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By Jason Billingsley and David Van Sleet

Redesigning the Great American Pastime


WWAST athletes continue to push the limits of modern prosthetic technology with more and more applications.


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he mission of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team is to raise awareness, through exhibition and

celebrity softball games, of the sacrifices and resilience of our military, highlighting their ability to rise above any challenge. The team’s goal is to show other amputees and the general population that through extensive rehabilitation and with appropriate design solutions, the dreams and desires of wounded veterans can be met and everyone can “play ball!” The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) is composed of young competitive athletic veterans and active-duty soldiers who have lost limbs while serving their country after 9/11. The team includes individuals with a variety of amputations of the arm, above the knee, below the knee, bilateral below the knee and the foot. Some are still in the service, others are attending college thanks to the post9/11 GI Bill, while others have moved on to new careers. WWAST athletes continue to push the limits of modern prosthetic technology with more and more applications. Of course, our dream would be the return of our soldiers from harm’s way without the resulting loss of life and limb. Until such a time, our vision is to support and honor our soldiers’ and veterans’ sacrifices and to show other amputees and everyone who sees or hears about us that life without a limb is limitless. The WWAST athletes all use prostheses to help them stay active in their daily activities, sports and their accomplishments in life. Not one prosthesis is the same, allowing each prosthesis to be designed specifically for each person’s needs. In the sidebar are some new prosthetic technological components that these athletes currently use when playing softball. n

Wounded Warrior Resources Pathfinder II Foot by Ohio Willow Wood The design of the Pathfinder II provides shock absorption during heel strike without diminishing the energy return of the toe spring for optimal flexibility, stability and comfort. The bearing system also allows increased inversion/eversion in the foot. Re-Flex Rotate with EVO™ by Össur The Re-Flex Rotate provides vertical absorption, dampening the shear forces and pressures and increasing comfort on the residual limb. It also offers rotational shock absorption, which is beneficial for users during their daily routines involving frequent side-toside and turning movements. The EVO technology foot-shell design promotes a more fluid and energetic forward progression by mimicking the natural movement of the human foot from heel strike to toe off. Flex-Run by Össur The vertical compliance and efficient energy return of the Flex-Run are must-haves for anyone who is serious about fitness. It offers increased cushioning and a lower-frequency dynamic, making this custom-designed foot ideal for transtibial and transfemoral amputees participating in activities like recreational jogging, trail running, marathon running and triathlons. Pacifica LP Foot by Freedom Innovations Due to its lowprofile design, the Pacifica LP Foot is ideal for users with long residual limbs. Users experience flexibility and energy return, allowing them to walk farther, faster and longer, and the split-toe design provides stability enhancing inversion and eversion. The lightweight durable design requires less energy expenditure so that amputees are comfortable on their feet for longer periods of time. Baseball Glove Attachment by Hosmer Fielding requires throwing and catching skills. Throwing in virtually all instances is accomplished with the sound hand because prehension and wrist action are coordinated to deliver a powerful and accurate throw. With a prosthesis, catching can be difficult because most amputees cannot pronate or supinate their forearm. The Baseball Glove Attachment fits into a first baseman’s glove. It is a specialized body-powered voluntaryopening split hook that is pulled open with a cable action and then closes the glove when the player relaxes.

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By Vibhavari Jani Vibhavari Jani, an associate professor in the Interior Architecture and Product Design Department at Kansas State University, was trained as an architect, interior designer, painter, singer and dancer. In more than 18 years of practice in the architecture and interior design industry in the US, she has designed and managed large projects for major corporate, health-care, education, government and hospitality clients.

A Rehabilitation Center Design Project for Wounded Warriors

Daring to Care


he war in the Middle East has caused much suffering and pain for all parties involved. The tragic loss of life is not the only direct aftermath. In his article “Humanizing Healthcare for Wounded Warriors” in Healthcare Design magazine, Richard Bond said, “Over the past decade of conflict,

tens of thousands of America’s wounded have been injured in combat. The success stories of battlefield medicine advances is the increased rate of survival from injuries that in previous conflicts resulted in death. The survival rate for US service members wounded in Iraq has reached 90 percent, higher than in any previous war.” Given this large number, it is not surprising that these veterans come back with severe injuries. Unfortunately, not all injuries are visible or physical. The Department of Veterans Affairs lists chronic fatigue syndrome; depression; fibromyalgia; hearing difficulties; hepatitis A, B and C; leishmaniasis (also known as the Baghdad boil); malaria; memory loss; migraines; sleep disorders; and tuberculosis as potential deployment health conditions the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may endure. From 2000 to the third quarter of 2011, the Pentagon’s Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center diagnosed 229,106 cases of mild to severe traumatic brain injury. In “Enhanced Medical Training Geared toward Wounded Vets” in the Greenville News, Liv Osby stated, “These wounded veterans have special medical needs that the civilian health-care system is insufficiently trained to handle.” According to Bond, “growing numbers of returning wounded, often with catastrophic injuries, tested the health response of the Department of Defense (DoD) facilities’ infrastructure. Many military hospitals began to recognize that their facilities were outdated and incapable of dealing


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with advancements in medical care and technology.” (http:// These wounded warriors not only need assistance in healing physically but also need help in integrating back into the society they left behind when they went to war. Assisting the Wounded Warriors Since Kansas State University is located 30 miles from the Fort Riley Military Base, where many of these wounded warriors are returning, the acute needs of these soldiers are important to the university’s administration, faculty and students. The university hosts many of these servicemen and women on campus. While preparing for the graduate studio project in the fall of 2011, I kept thinking about how I could involve the students in the Interior Architecture and Product Design Department to assist these veterans. Thus was born the Rehabilitation Center Design project. The project scope

included research and analysis of the wounded warriors’ needs, facility program development, site selection and development, and facility, landscape and interior development. Students also had to consider the larger issues of the placement and attributes of spaces to the small scope of furniture and product design. This semester-long service learning project was introduced to enhance the students’ understanding of the psychological and physiological pain of these war veterans and to inspire students to find innovative, evidencebased spatial solutions that can assist in healing these wounded veterans and reconnect them with their families, friends and the community. This project was also designed to initiate community engagement and dialogue so that students understand how they can connect these veterans with the community. The main goal of this design studio was to honor and empower the wounded warriors who incurred service-

related injuries and to engage students in a service learning project. The other goals included raising awareness about these soldiers’ needs within the student body and enlisting the students’ aid in assisting the injured service members; developing evidence-based design solutions and guidelines that can assist design professionals to develop rehabilitation facilities that will help these veterans achieve wellness of mind, body and soul; encouraging students to research design elements and strategies that can help these soldiers integrate back into civilian society; and identifying the unique needs of family members and other caregivers and developing programs and services to meet their needs. To begin the process of understanding the needs of the warriors, the students collectively decided that healing mind, body and soul should be the major objective of this rehabilitation facility. To achieve the above-stated goals and objectives, students were introduced to the evidence-based design approach. The Center for Healthcare Design (www.

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wounded warriors defines evidence-based design as “the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes.� A large and growing body of evidence attests to the fact that the physical environment impacts patient stress, patient and staff safety, staff effectiveness and the quality of care provided in hospitals and other health-care settings. Basing health-care facility planning and design decisions on this evidence to achieve the best possible patient, staff and operational outcomes is what evidence-based design is all about. To fulfill their responsibility of designing environments that promote the health, wellness and safety of the wounded warriors, students first researched the needs of the warriors, and their medical caregivers and family members, for a rehabilitation facility. Students collaborated in teams to collect evidence about this project and employed qualitative research methods, including literature reviews, precedent studies and site visits of existing private and military rehabilitation centers. Students also conducted informal interviews of medical staff and patients. The collected data was analyzed to understand the spatial, functional, physical, psychological and spiritual needs of these war veterans and their family members as well as the medical staff. Students also researched and analyzed national and international rehabilitation centers to understand the spatial and functional needs of a rehabilitation facility. The research shed light on the importance of nature and views, cross ventilation, natural versus artificial light, and colors and their impact on wounded soldiers. Visits to a civilian rehabilitation hospital and the military rehabilitation center at Fort Riley proved extremely helpful to students in understanding the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of the veterans


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as well as the spatial and functional needs of a rehabilitation facility. Through their onsite interviews with the medical staff, students found that brain injury and post-traumatic patient-care areas require minimal or controlled light. Students also learned the importance of various alternative therapies for treating different symptoms and disorders. For example, along with physical and occupational therapies, aquatic therapy can help the wounded veterans gain muscle strength. Art, aroma and equestrian therapies can help patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. Students also observed the spatial and functional needs of each treatment area and recognized the need for adequate space allocation for the equipment used to provide treatment and its storage. A major area ignored in most of these facilities is the space for caregivers and family members. Many therapists indicated that there is not much space available in the treatment areas for the family members, but their feedback is as important as each soldier’s because the caregivers are the ones who monitor the day-to-day progress of these veterans. Students also discovered that there were not many spaces available for community interaction. Based on these findings, students were asked to develop a thesis and an evidence-based facility design program. This facility program outlined the essential requirements for the rehabilitation center for the wounded warriors. Once the facility program was established, students were asked to create concepts for these facilities. Based on this concept, students developed their preliminary schematic designs. Design professionals and educators, medical staff and therapists were then invited to provide feedback and suggestions on the schematic designs. After receiving feedback, students prepared their final designs and presented them to the Fort Riley medical staff.

Design Outcomes Based on the evidence-based facility program, each student designed a prototype for a rehabilitation facility that not only fulfills these soldiers’ physical and psychological healing requirements, but also assists them in reconnecting with their families, friends and local community. Besides the main functions, like examination rooms and reception, administration and medical staff areas, each student developed various therapy areas. Some of the students focused on physical and occupational therapy areas, while others focused on art or aquatic therapy, or meditation and yoga. Interior courtyards, nature trails, a balance track and healing gardens were also incorporated into some of the designs. To provide family members a space to wait for the veterans, students designed family waiting areas, a café, a library and recreational areas. To connect the veterans with the community, students designed a veterans’ memorial, conference/lecture halls and other social activity areas, including places for showing movies or music programs. Here veterans can meet with community members in an informal setting where a dialogue can be started about their war experiences and their struggles to overcome their ailments and to help their healing process. The students also composed project books that documented their research, learning outcomes, design process and final design so that their work can serve as evidence for other designers, helping them to learn from each graduate student’s research efforts. At the end of the semester, these graduate students presented their designs at the Fort Riley Military Hospital where the commander in chief, the chief of facilities operations, medical staff and the rehabilitation hospital staff

members were in attendance to provide their feedback. Impressed by the designs, the hospital decided to display the students’ work in patient-care areas where all patients, their caregivers and their family members can review the designs. To honor and recognize these students’ efforts to give back to the community, the Manhattan Art Center located in Manhattan, KS, held a special show of these students’ work. The show, titled “Daring to Care for Wounded Warriors,” opened in February 2012. The students’ work was also recognized by local newspapers and television media. This project proved to be a catalyst in generating awareness about the needs of our returning wounded warriors. Students learned that the four senses (sight, sound, touch and smell) are extremely important to consider when designing rehabilitation facilities for patients who have post-traumatic stress disorder. Special attention should be given when designing spatial environments, especially when selecting colors and textures; a wrong selection can aggravate and affect patients’ behavior. Control of light and sound are very important factors to consider when designing a facility for patients with brain injuries. Students also realized that it is important to work with medical staff from the beginning to understand their needs; each therapy area requires specific equipment and has its own requirements and needs. The family waiting area is the most ignored need in the majority of rehabilitation facilities. Connection to community is another important aspect that most rehabilitation facilities do not provide. A space for reflection and solitude for the warriors is also necessary to assist the veterans. By considering these requirements from the beginning, the rehabilitation environments can better promote the health and wellness of the wounded warriors. n

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wounded warriors

Support from a High-Tech Lab—or the House Next Door

From a Myoelectric Mouse to a Hammer and Nail


quick Google search for “wounded warrior project” returns more than 2.3 million hits. While it’s unlikely that there are that many wounded warrior programs in the US, odds are good that hundreds, if not thousands, of initiatives are being undertaken by associations, organizations,

foundations, partnerships, societies and interested citizens across the country. That there are so many wounded warrior initiatives is a good thing. These programs return some measure of stability to those who have sacrificed so much for their country. One such initiative, Quality of Life+ (QL+), is a shining example of the next generation creating innovations to aid the current generation. QL+ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster and generate innovations that aid and improve the quality of life of those injured in the line of duty. QL+ accepts challenges from wounded active-duty and veteran military members, intelligence and law enforcement personnel, first responders and others injured in service. These challenges become projects at the QL+ Laboratory at the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, CA. Located within the College of Engineering, the QL+ Lab is the pilot research and development facility for all innovations sponsored by QL+. Students and faculty apply engineering and creative skills to real-life problems and develop assistive technologies to address the physical challenges faced daily by our wounded heroes. Achievements rarely occur in a vacuum, however. For QL+, and other similarly remarkable initiatives, success is as much a lesson in collaboration as invention. Fundraising is critical to providing the infrastructure from which, in


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QL+’s case, the engineering students can push past the limits and create viable solutions for amputee, injured or disabled veterans. A Symbiotic Goal For the members of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), the work being done by QL+ resonates in myriad ways: foremost, that the students from Cal Poly are engineering solutions that will give quality of life back to wounded warriors. Founded nearly 100 years ago by World War I veterans to ensure that the nation’s security and infrastructure would be respondent in future conflicts, SAME continues its pledge so that military engineering innovations and lessons learned are not lost to history. Aligning with an inspirational wounded warrior initiative, such as QL+, which aims to support our servicemen and women as well as motivate and inspire future engineers, was a seamless match. Last year,



By Stephen Karl and Julie Fisher n

Stephen Karl is the editor for the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and its magazine, The Military Engineer. n Julie Fisher is the director of business development at the Farnsworth Group Inc. and chair of the SAME Wounded Warrior Task Force.

under the direction of its 2011–2012 president, Navy Rear Adm. Christopher Mossey, commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command and chief of civil engineers, SAME established a Wounded Warrior Task Force. Three keys efforts were developed to aid in the holistic recovery of veterans and their reentry to civilian life: mentoring, job transition and education assistance, rehabilitation and support, and support to QL+. In October 2011, the SAME Wounded Warrior Task Force introduced QL+ to the society’s members with a fundraising opportunity for two challenges: the Myoelectric Mouse Control Project and the Prosthetic Knee-Leg Lift Project. Each was given a fundraising goal of $25,000 to aid in funding research and development. In just a few short months, the generosity of SAME’s membership resulted in total contributions of $57,495.95—enough to meet the targets and then some. SAME has since added QL+’s Universal Lift Program to its list of fundraising initiatives— charging to meet a new $25,000 goal for the project by the summer of 2012. Prosthetic Knee-Leg Lift Above-the-knee amputees in particular have difficulty ascending and descending inclined slopes and stairs. It is the objective of the team assigned to the Prosthetic Knee-Leg Lift Project to develop a device that helps individuals ascend and descend stairs. The device will be designed to achieve near-universal compatibility with existing prosthetics. It is the team’s intent that the device will be quiet, convenient and helpful to amputees who want the same mobility that others can achieve. The Prosthetic Knee-Leg Lift team is made up of four senior engineering students: a materials engineering student, a mechanical engineering student, a general engineering student and an electrical/biomedical engineering student. A faculty advisor supervises these students. The challenge is to build upon the advances already achieved, further refining the design to maximize the prosthesis’ security and comfort and reduce its weight. Roughly six percent of US military veterans with limb amputations are classified as bilateral above-the-knee. Restricted movement of the leg at the knee joint while walking on inclined

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wounded warriors

surfaces or stairs adds unnecessary strain because of the need to use the upper body to move up and down stairs. A redesign of the prosthetic knee would improve the quality of life for many unilateral and bilateral leg amputees. The current version of the device was developed as a proof-of-concept prototype. A redesign for a bilateral abovethe-knee amputee should focus on making it easier for the user to climb stairs. For safety, the attachment must provide comfort and security. The skin in contact with the prosthesis must avoid chafing, blisters, pressure sores, friction burns and cuts. This challenge was initiated during the fall 2011 quarter, and the product will be completed and fully tested by the end of the spring 2012 quarter. Myoelectric Mouse Control The Myoelectric Mouse Control challenge, which points out that there are no commercially accessible myoelectric devices on the market for amputees, seeks to develop a myoelectric control-based interface for a standard USB computer mouse. According to recent studies, people who have undergone an amputee procedure or have lost a limb benefit from nerve stimulation in the residual limb. One successful example is the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio, TX, which is a rehabilitation center that uses nerve stimulation control to interface with software games. Myoelectric stimulation used as soon as possible after the amputation helps retain crucial nerve endings, ultimately allowing for greater control of prostheses fitted at a later date. Creating a rehabilitative experience that is both engaging and fun will assist in improving patients’ quality of life. This serves as a precursor to prosthetic options. Universal Lift Program This challenge being undertaken by QL+ seeks to engineer a universal lift system that will allow individuals with mobility issues to enter and exit heavy machinery. Creating this device will ultimately help make


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it possible for wounded warriors to work in construction, agriculture, waste management and transportation fields— occupations that otherwise would not be possible. The universal lift system is the cornerstone of the QL+ Universal Lift Program, a comprehensive three-phase training and certification reemployment program that is currently in development by QL+ and partners. One Project at a Time As SAME embarks on a new donation goal to support QL+’s Universal Lift Program, the society and its 106 posts worldwide also continue to raise awareness and work on other ways to promote the spirit of giving back. Many SAME members are bringing hands-on support in the same cities and towns where soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen are returning every day. While QL+ initiatives are technological advancements that may some day help thousands, SAME’s members and posts are also working on projects that may help dozens of servicemen and women—or even just one veteran at a time. In February 2012, SAME’s Carolina Midlands Post removed old shingles and replaced the roof on a home of a wounded warrior from nearby Sumter, SC. Volunteers from Shaw Air Force Base 20th Civil Engineering Squadron, the Sumter County Sheriff’s office and local businesses joined in. The Carolina Midlands Post has done similar work for others in its area, too, like 91-year-old World War II veteran Bob Fogle, a former Army Air Corps flight engineer who still lives with his wife in Columbia, SC. SAME’s Kittyhawk Post, meanwhile, recently engaged in an advanced project with students from the Air Force Institute of Technology to build a wheelchair ramp for army veteran Bill Elliot of Troy, OH, which has enabled him to receive a motorized cart from the local hospital. The ingenuity did not stop there. In true engineering fashion, the students applied a unique design to allow for further modifications to the home; future additions include a first-floor bathroom and a chair lift that will allow access to the second floor. Additionally, having applied lessons learned from earlier work, the students incorporated changes to the ramp design that allowed small crews to handle multiple phases of the ramp simultaneously—thus, expediting completion. They continued to modify the process in order to better use limited time and resources. Opportunities to offer wounded warriors support are abundant, and that is a good thing. They range from technological innovations created in laboratories to outreach programs from each of the armed services and local support from the neighbors next door. Just as houses are still built with hammers and nails—yet modernized to include solar panels, renewable heating and cooling systems and other sustainable innovations—helping a wounded warrior find recovery may best be accomplished with a mix of the world-class ingenuity that QL+ and Cal Poly are fostering and some old-fashioned neighborly support that anyone can provide. n

By Dean Kamen Dean Kamen is the president of DEKA Research & Development Corp., based in Manchester, NH, and the founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). DEKA technologies include the HomeChoice portable dialysis system, the iBOT Mobility System and the Segway Human Transporter.

Arming Our Veterans

arm from a combat wound, infection or illPhotos: DEKA Research & Development Corp. (DEKA)


uring the Civil War, a soldier who lost an

ness would receive as a replacement a wooden

stick with a hook on the end. That was the most advanced prosthetic device available at the time. Consider how far technology has evolved since then.

A newer model of the arm holds a grape, one of the original capabilities outlined by DARPA.

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wounded warriors

the shortcomings of previous prosthetic The weapon that may have caused the technologies and to gain a better idea injury 150 years ago—a musket or cannon, of the types of features our arm should perhaps—has been replaced by the M4 possess. But these meetings with our carbine and the B-2 stealth bomber. But nation’s wounded warriors were rewarding a soldier who loses an arm today in Iraq or for another reason as well. One story in Afghanistan will still be given a stick (now particular illustrates this point. plastic) with a hook on the end. The great In a conference room, we had assemadvances in technology that the military has bled a collection of patients who had developed have not included progress in experience with prosthetic arms; not surthe area of prosthetic devices. This was the prisingly, the young men were quick to proreason that Defense Advanced Research vide insights and suggestions. However, I Projects Agency (DARPA) asked DEKA to noticed that one of the patients at the far develop an advanced prosthetic arm for our Early iteration of the arm holding a pen. end of the table had been conspicuously returning veterans. quiet. I called over to him, asking for his input. The young This was a tall order. The arm had to be the same size man looked up and said, “You know, I’m one of the lucky and weight as a 50th-percentile female arm while being ones. I lost my right arm—but I’m a lefty.” As we were leavtotally self-contained and powered. It had to be able to ing, I saw the same man push away from the table—only to pick a raisin off a table without dropping it—requiring fine reveal that this “lucky” soldier had lost one of his legs as well. motor control—and it had to be able to pick up a grape To this day, I am still stunned by the depth of that young without crushing it—essentially, complete haptic response. man’s courage and resilience. I had warned my engineers Besides meeting all these criteria, it had to be ready for beforehand that the patients we would meet would likely trials in two years. be frustrated and angry, both with their conditions and with After hearing this pitch, I gave the DARPA officials my the poor quality prostheses that were available to them. I honest opinion: I told them they were nuts. Even though this expected that we would need to provide encouragement was just the sort of project—one with an undeniably positive and support in order to earn their trust and help. But after societal impact—on which DEKA thrives, it just didn’t seem meeting that young man, it was clear that my engineers and possible to meet those criteria in such a short timeframe. I I did not need to provide our wounded soldiers with inspirawas about to move on when a particularly passionate doction; instead, their bravery and optimism inspired us. tor from DARPA informed me that more than a dozen solThe development of our arm provided no shortage of diers have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with bilateral challenges for our talented team of industrial designers. amputations. That night, I tossed and turned in bed thinking The appearance of a prosthetic device will naturally be the about how difficult it would be to lose one arm and how subject of close scrutiny, as comparisons to the “original much worse it would then be to lose both. It even occurred equipment” are inevitable. DEKA’s industrial design team to me that a person with bilateral amputations wouldn’t even was confronted with a range of questions: Should the arm be able to toss and turn in bed. The next day I told DARPA appear more mechanical or more natural? How difficult that we would do it. would it be to re-create the idiosyncrasies of human flesh? Added to these fundamental questions were the practical Unexpected Inspiration considerations outlined by DARPA. However, like all of our As my engineers and I began to develop our initial protoengineers, the industrial designers were inspired by the type, we spent some time touring Walter Reed and other input and inspiration of the veterans we consulted, and they veterans hospitals to learn what sort of arm we should crecreated a finished product that both embraced the appearate from those who would end up using it. We expected ance and capabilities of the human arm while reflecting the these visits to be productive from an engineering standpoint, intricate engineering contributed by our team. and indeed they were. We had the opportunity to witness


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The DARPA-funded DEKA arm.

Within a year we had developed the first generation of the arm, a device that met and exceeded the criteria outlined by DARPA. Beforehand, I had told the military representatives that learning to control the arm would take more time than was needed to build it. But during testing, I was once again reminded just how remarkable the human capacity to adapt is. With less than 10 hours of use, our users were playing with a rubber ball, picking up cups and drinking, and, as promised, picking a grape up off a table and eating it. One of our users, Chuck, had lost both arms in an accident nearly 20 years earlier. He quickly became one of our most talented users and was able to do something I cannot—scoop up cereal with a spoon and eat it without spilling a single drop of milk. As he did this feat, his wife was standing behind him with tears in her eyes. “Chuck hasn’t fed himself in 19 years,” she said. “So you have a choice: Either we keep the arm or you keep Chuck!” Engineering a Better World In the years since, our arm—nicknamed the Luke Arm after the prosthesis Luke Skywalker wears in the Star Wars films— has undergone additional developments and improvements. We continue to work tirelessly to deliver a device that not only

meets the expectations of DARPA but also meets the high standards that our wounded warriors deserve. As with many of DEKA’s projects, the Luke Arm has faced its fair share of hurdles and setbacks. What kept us going, and what gives us the energy and momentum to press on, is the same quality that inspired us to take on the project in the first place: the belief that this device will change lives for the better. Our returning veterans deserve the finest care and treatment possible; they’ve certainly earned that and more. The 21st century will present no shortage of challenges and opportunities for engineers. (This is the reason I founded FIRST, a nonprofit robotics competition that inspires kids to get excited about science and technology, Scientists, technologists and designers have the ability to shape our world and the way we live. With this power comes the responsibility to use this talent and expertise to improve the lives of people around the world. Whether it’s caring for our wounded warriors or providing clean water and electricity to the developing world, DEKA is committed to this mission. I ask all designers and technology professionals to examine their own ethos and to use their talents and expertise to engineer a better world for this and future generations. n (The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the US Government.)

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By Altay Sendil and Hilary Hoeber Altay Sendil co-leads the design research community in IDEO’s San Francisco Bay area studios. His humancentered design research and project leadership spans products, services and experiences across diverse cultures and industries. n Hilary Hoeber, a portfolio lead at IDEO, drives the firm’s work in the public sector. She develops innovative products, services and learning experiences built around design thinking.

The Wounded Warrior Homes

An Agile Discourse Between Dualities

Immersing ourselves in the natural contexts of wounded warriors highlights a lot of challenges and workarounds often masked by the empowered and determined attitudes of these men and women.


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any injured US servicemen and women returning from war must adapt to a home that doesn’t

comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. These wounded warriors find workarounds to cope with their surroundings based on individual capabilities and preferences. Clark Realty Capital believed there had to be a better solution. The Virginia-based real estate firm, which is partnering with the US Department of Defense on more than $4.7 billion of privatized housing for service members, collaborated with IDEO on a new model for building accessible family homes on military installations and worked with Michael Graves & Associates to develop architectural plans for two concept homes.

Shannon, a US Army captain, is paralyzed from the waist down due to a spinal cord injury. She has learned to hop the threshold from her balcony in order to enter her house.

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The backyard becomes a gateway to the outdoors and a connection to community. Opening up invites in the community; sealing up allows for a lockdown of the fortress. The outdoor space becomes a balance of social entertaining and quiet introspection.

IDEO’s design challenge was to visualize and create the ideal home for injured soldiers and their families. The effort included floor plans and amenities that would not only meet or exceed ADA standards but also be versatile enough to accommodate varied physical, psychological and emotional needs. The final homes would need to support family dynamics and rituals and be able to evolve over time and with technology. Truly designing for accessibility necessitates a deep level of understanding and inspiration. Using a humancentered design approach, the IDEO team began by conducting contextual inquiries with 10 civilians and 20 soldiers who had suffered a range of injuries. These injuries included post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, single and multiple extremity amputations, thirddegree burns, and vision loss and impairment. The designers also immersed themselves in a variety of relevant and tangential environments and met with nearly two dozen experts to dive deeper into the spaces of rehabilitation, military family life and residential development and construction. Dualities One early story from the field that inspired the design team came from a paraplegic civilian. This civilian was wheelchair-bound, and despite opportunities to drive a large van that could accommodate easy transportation of his chair, he insisted on driving a red Mustang. For him, the painstaking process of getting in and out of his Mustang was a


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small price to pay for an uncompromised, emotionally fulfilling driving experience. Stories like his are one reason why in the final implementation of the homes Michael Graves & Associates ensured that wheelchairs would be able to make an uncompromised full turn anywhere in the house, enabling full interaction for all potential inhabitants—and the luxury of wide corridors for ambulatory individuals. Wounded warriors were not the only participants invited into the design conversation. Military families shared the emotional and logistical challenges of temporal living. Builders unveiled the challenges of creating resilient homes on a military base that can withstand the wear and tear of a high-turnover rental property and active family life. Experts in the fields of accessible design and rehabilitation technology shared their latest findings and challenges. These multiple perspectives added a rich complexity to the research that gave rise to more textured design opportunities. Importantly, we found that there is no one wounded warrior, no one collective or common experience. Instead, we discovered a series of dualities. These duality principles became compass points for the design team— inspirations and mandates to ensure the delivery of positive life experiences. Our North Star was to design for a complexity of personalities, preferences and needs of the wounded warrior. We aimed to create a safe space that would go beyond minimum accessibility requirements to envision an aspirational home for all regardless of capabilities or challenges in life.

Spaces are laid out in order to provide the utmost visual and auditory awareness of other parts of the home. The kitchen, as command center, affords unobstructed views into the yard and living room.

Here are the seven duality principles we developed for the Wounded Warrior Home Project: 1. Well-defined and undefined spaces: A home is never set in stone. In a household, roles shift, preferences change and, most importantly, physical and mental impairments dictate an evolving set of challenges. This demands a flexible design that allows for both defined and undefined spaces. 2. Mobile roots: It’s difficult to set down roots when they’re yanked up every few years. The constant flux of transient military life places extra demands on a family. People don’t want to feel like they’re just passing through, skipping from base to base. They want their homes to feel like they’ve arrived at their destination. 3. Inside out, outside in: Poets, explorers and rehab therapists all know the immense healing powers of nature. It’s a tremendous gift for anyone suffering wounds, physical or mental. The outside world, or even the back patio, is a deep-breath metaphor for freedom. Nature is a force of nurture. 4. Visible and invisible security: Trauma, post-combat stress, reduced mobility—these are issues that make it hard to feel safe and secure. People want the protection of their hidden cocoon but also a total 360-degree visual awareness of their surroundings.

5. Social privacy: Sometimes people view their home as a sanctuary, a retreat, a place of privacy and introspection. Other times, people see their home as a gateway to the outside world—to social and cultural connections that determine well-being. A home must be a restful oasis and a place for raucous good times—both are equally therapeutic. 6. Uniquely normal: Here are two distinct and contrary requirements: First, the desire to live a normal life despite significant physical and often mental wounds. Normal in the just-like-everybody-else sense. No special treatment whatsoever. But second, the obvious need for specific accommodations that dramatically improve a wounded warrior’s quality of life. In the home, the goal is to strike that balance: a wheelchair-friendly dream home, but one that appears ordinary. 7. Old self, new self: Healing is a long and winding road. The early stages are about repairing the damage, rebuilding what was lost. Over time, the determination of the wounded warriors drives them toward selfimprovement and transformation. The human beauty is that great loss also inspires tremendous new gain. This calls for an architecture that encourages that recovery, no matter where or how far that journey takes them.

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The Wounded Warrior Homes provide open living environments that encourage active, engaged lifestyles for wounded soldiers and their families; the designs also create solutions for the physical environment and integrate current technology that will assist residents in their daily lives. Design strategies included zero-threshold transitions, adjustable height counters, sinks and stove tops, sliding doors, wide corridors, accessible storage and truly accessible bathrooms. Every bathroom is accessible to a person in a wheelchair, whether bathing, using the toilet, washing hands or accessing toiletries and supplies. Similarly, the kitchen is designed to provide lower counter heights for wheelchair users, but also to provide higher counter heights for a prosthetic user who cannot bend over as easily. The lasting effect of an injury varies by individual, many requiring a greater degree of temperature control to make a soldier comfortable. This temperature may differ from the needs of family members in other rooms. In addition to accessible plan making, the designers explored the most effective and adaptable approach to heating and cooling by assessing systems for their responsiveness and their adaptability to multiple user needs. A central goal was for soldiers to be able to come home to a comfortable and calming place, be among their family and be able to find a quiet place to concentrate. The

Photos: Clark Realty Capital

An In-Depth Look

designs allow wounded warriors to return home and open the garage or front door by remote control; know that the snow has melted from the driveway; have a heated garage for making the transition from the car in reasonable comfort; turn the lights on before they arrive in the dark; have shelter from the rain while getting into the house; have a bench inside the door to rest or for packages; have proximity to the kitchen to put the groceries down; be able to easily unload the groceries, cook and clean; be able to control the home systems from a smartphone or centralized panel (standing or in a wheelchair); and generally to have an easy route to anywhere in the house. —Michael Graves & Associates


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These seven dualities enabled the team to design homes that would be desirable for anyone, physically disabled or not. For example, the duality “inside out, outside in” led to therapy gardens, private terraces and prominent oversized windows throughout. These natural outdoor elements can be easily perceived from within the home and accessed without steps or a stigma-laden ramp. Another duality, “social privacy,” describes how people view their home as a sanctuary, but also want to see their space as connected to the outside world. We expressed these dual needs through a private therapy room with a flat-panel display and remote collaboration technology that allows people to toggle between social connections, remote therapy consultations and sealed-off moments of privacy and reflection. Large indoor and outdoor spaces also provide opportunities to entertain within the family or open up to friends and community. When carried home from war, the hypervigilance a soldier practiced in the field during deployment becomes the duality “invisible and visible security,” which addresses a range of heightened security needs among returning service members. Our fieldwork uncovered stories of veterans with PTSD sleeping in their closets or under their beds wearing headlamps and clutching weapons at their side. Wounded warriors like these, having been conditioned to always plan escape routes and scan hidden pockets, are comforted by having protected spaces and also unhindered auditory and visual awareness of their surroundings. Alcoves were designed throughout the home for residents to curl up into, rest and find security. At the same time, living spaces were positioned in a way to provide visibility into the yard and other neighboring rooms through an open architecture. The implementation of the “uniquely normal” duality is intentionally understated. Living in a futuristic Jetsons home would definitely provoke the imagination and the novelty would turn heads, but that’s not what a family, especially kids, would want day in and day out. We live in a very social world, and we want normalcy to feel like a relevant member of society, comfortable among our peers. Thus the intent is for the home to feel surprisingly comfortable and highly considered. The induction cooktop was

chosen because its surface remains safely cool to the touch. Durable nonslip vinyl plank flooring enables confident motion whether on wheels or on foot. A cordless phone links to an intercom allowing occupants to answer the door remotely. High-contrast floor patterning designates different surfaces and spaces as an implicit way-finding reference. Bathroom walls are lined with anchored towel bars that double as grab bars. A spacious master bedroom has the ability to accommodate a lift beside the bed. The walk-in closet can store two wheelchairs and an arsenal of prosthetics, with electrical outlets for charging. The idea is that if you weren’t looking to address accessibility needs, you would merely find convenient features in a beautifully designed space. Moving from Dualities to Realization In about a year, Clark Realty Capital, along with Michael Graves & Associates, was able to complete construction of two prototype wounded-warrior homes: the Freedom Home and the Patriot Home. Clark and US Army Fort Belvoir officials unveiled the homes on Nov. 30, 2011, in Fort Belvoir, VA. The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research is funding a five-year longitudinal study of the two prototype homes by the University of Buffalo’s Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access. The intent is for these homes to act as living laboratories to generate feedback and answers to questions such as: How customizable should each space within a home be? How might kitchens and social spaces be leveraged by different members of a wounded-warrior household? Over time, Clark hopes to gain insights that will inform future development efforts. The idea is to scale appropriately—leveraging advances in rehabilitative technologies and construction and the findings of families actually living in these homes—in a truly evolving, agile development process. Clark has also proactively socialized its learnings and efforts around designing for accessibility and invited participation, discussion and ideas to improve and evolve its mission. This transparency has opened doors to experts and engagement from all who desire to be a part of the larger mission of helping wounded warriors lead happier lives. Our hope is that the Wounded Warrior Homes will now inspire more inclusivity in architecture and design overall. n

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American War Veterans and Wounded Warriors Over 42 million Americans have served in the armed forces, with over 22 million veterans living today. Three-fourths of them served during wartime. With the passing in 2011 of Frank Buckles—the last survivor of World War I combat— every living US veteran has served in World War II or later. Over 1.4 million of these veterans were wounded in past conflicts (WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Shield/ Desert Storm). 32,474 wounded veterans have returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom, which ended Sept. 1, 2010. And so far through March 5, 2012, ongoing US military operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom have sent home 15,739 wounded warriors. Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs


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By Brian McMahon, IDSA and Joyce Chung n Brian McMahon and Joyce Chung are managing partners of the strategic consumer research firm Segment International. Located in California and New York, Segment informs decisions for some of the world’s most iconic global brands by focusing on cultural commonalities—not differences.

An Inclusive Consumer Research Perspective

Coming Home


lmost 63 million Americans (1 in 5 people), according to the US Census, have a reported physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses or activities. And this proportion will increase in coming decades. Yet, these individuals have been marginalized by companies that

provide an inadequate level of service, access and products that are of use to them. This reality means that many people we know are unable to perform common tasks with any ease. It means that the dignity of our loved ones is compromised. And it means that a large segment of our population is forced to select products that don’t even suit them because of ineffective design.

Michael Lozano

There are growing consequences for companies that ignore the disenfranchised customers they serve. It’s just bad business. Furthermore, organizations that embrace people who have been traditionally set aside will benefit from higher profitability, industry respect and gratified customers who feel uniquely served. But aside from the external rewards, inclusive research and development is the right thing to do. A Gateway to Understanding The importance of inclusive research and development (R&D) cannot be highlighted more urgently than when considering the special needs of our returning war veterans as they seek to reintegrate into civilian life—especially regarding the sheer volume of veterans who are returning home every day. There are currently 22 million veterans in our country and 1 in 4 report a disability each year. This number does not account for the invisible wounds that go unchecked all too often. The physical wounds of battle have been well documented. But not all wounds are physical. As our veterans return to civilian life, they may appear to have acclimated seamlessly. And that is what they would want us to believe as they seek readjustment. But our veterans have a host of mental health and cognitive needs that deeply affect the quality of their daily lives but are often hard for even loved ones to unravel. More often than not, our returning veterans stay silent and do not seek help.

While advances in our health-care system have resulted in more saved lives than in wars past, a critical question remains: How can we give our wounded warriors a better quality of life? Taken a step further, how might design be used to tend to the wounds of our warriors and be a tool for healing—without reminding these men and women of their pain? Strategic consumer research is the gateway by which a deeper level of understanding is possible. We may never understand the nuts and bolts of how combat and operational stresses have affected our returning veterans, nor the trauma that is a lasting result. But in talking to our warriors directly, we can learn how they would like to be treated, talked to and served. It is so easy for both people and organizations alike to say and do the wrong thing—with the best of intentions. That’s why it is critical to organically include veteran users into the design research plan for honest insights that will credibly inform design. Inclusive R&D Reintegration from battlefield to home life is a transition that can be very difficult. A veteran culture of engagement does exist. Trust must be earned. Structuring the conversation with the following needs in mind is a critical first step. n Our returning veterans seek privacy. They want to reintegrate without calling attention to themselves as different or changed.

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12 Principles of Effective Strategic Consumer Research© 1. Strategic research is light. It is ready to go at a moment’s notice, takes little time to prepare and starts learning immediately. 2. Strategic research is fast. Learning quickly becomes outdated; studies must be conceived and executed quickly to stay current. 3. Strategic research is efficient. Excess repetition slows the process, increases costs and inhibits inspiration. 4. Strategic research is unifying. It identifies the commonalities of shared culture and does not dwell on differences. 5. Strategic research is social. It finds people where they are, such as at home, away from home, online, together and alone. 6. Strategic research is shared. It is a collaborative process. 7. Strategic research is ongoing. It is infused throughout the company culture; everyone participates. 8. Strategic research is competent. It is more difficult than it might seem; dabbling creates damage. 9. Strategic research inspires. It does not inhibit thinking; it knows innovation comes from new learning. 10. Strategic research informs. Good decisions come from confidently linked insights that illuminate, not lists of observations. 11. Strategic research is actionable. It understands the realities of industry and client cultures. 12. Strategic research is user-centric. It builds upon underlying behavioral characteristics and does not attempt to change them. © 2012 Brian McMahon all rights reserved


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n Our

returning veterans seek help, but without the stigmas associated with mental health issues. They just want solutions, presented practically and without fanfare, for overcoming the challenges of readjustment, easing the transition back into civilian life and removing barriers, many of which are visible only to them. n Many returning veterans avoid labels and that is why they are often reluctant to talk. The issues that they may need help with do not define them as people. And they do not want to form any identification with them. Let us examine a live scenario in which inclusive R&D is put into practice. Suppose that an automobile manufacturer wishes to provide driver assistance technology to correct erratic driving. For the purpose of this example, let’s assume that this car manufacturer is interested in developing a technology that works much like a GPS system, but to solve for such issues as lane guidance, aiding vision and providing alerts for oncoming traffic, pedestrian movement and road obstructions. Let’s also assume that the automobile manufacturer would like to target veterans as its primary users, given that auto accidents in which service members are at fault go up by 13 percent after deployment (according to USAA). Without inclusive R&D it might be deduced that veterans are erratic drivers due to post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s too easy to label people, and in this case, labeling would make sense. But if the automobile manufacturer talked to the veterans themselves, the company would have received feedback from the troops that they were taught to drive a certain way in combat, and it became part of their expertise. Specifically, they were taught to speed up at intersections to avoid gunfire and to scan the roadside for danger instead of watching the road ahead. The issue then becomes unlearning coping tools that worked in combat but aren’t feasible in the civilian world. Even though this example is unique to the arena of war, the issue of unlearning is universal; for example, in the past 10 years, drivers have had to unlearn pumping the brakes to avoid locking up the tires because brakes now have antilock technology.


Insight derived from talking to veterans can take away the defensiveness of the issue of erratic driving and open up the dialogue to finding a solution. Post-traumatic stress may still be a part of the equation, but our returning veterans can now help develop a solution without the stigma associated with mental health issues. If the researchers hadn’t included veterans in the conversation, they may have approached the developmental steps from an incorrect vantage point. And they may never have unearthed this valuable insight. Achieving an Inclusive End Result There are many ways to approach research methodology. But a few key ground rules apply. We learned earlier that our returning veterans are wary of being labeled. Therefore, to gather them together and study them as a group would not be helpful. Not only would gathered respondents resist the process, the findings would also be flawed because they would showcase perceived differences. Regardless of the research design (whether using online, in-person or hybrid methodologies), it is important

to mix veterans into the general population in order to gather insights from the veterans’ vantage point while concurrently receiving responses from nonveterans as well. In doing so, a complete solution is developed. If a product is designed just for veterans, it could be rejected because it is a separate solution singling out veterans who do not wish to be targeted. But if veterans are included in the holistic development process, a built-in benefit can be found for them that may also be of benefit to everyone else. The end result is useful and supportive, as opposed to creating a veterans-only solution or designing for the average person in the hopes that the design works for veterans as well. As our wounded warriors return home, they may feel that they have little in common with their civilian peers. Now more than ever, consumer R&D requires an inclusive approach that understands the realities of the people it serves so that supportive solutions can be designed for those who have bravely served us. Effective consumer R&D identifies the commonalities of a shared culture and does not dwell on differences. It is actionable. It is empathic. It is unifying. n

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By Kelley Styring

Consumer strategist Kelley Styring is a Procter & Gamble and Frito-Lay market-research veteran whose firm, InsightFarm, consults with Fortune 100 companies. Styring (née Schofield) interned at Black & Decker with Carroll Gantz, FIDSA, while earning a degree in industrial design from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia under Dr. Noel Mayo, IDSA.

Extreme Learning for Everyday Design

Lessons from the One-Handed World


n the world of market research, studying extreme populations isn’t a popular idea. The problem, we’re told, is that the extreme populations are too small and difficult to find (i.e., expensive) and that we can’t extrapolate our findings to the general population (i.e., not profitable). I don’t believe this.

As a researcher for Procter & Gamble, I traveled around the world learning how different people diaper their babies so that the company could design, produce and market better diapers. As part of that, I studied what I consider to be an extreme population: mothers of triplets. As a mother myself, I know that having one baby is challenging. Having three? Yikes. But I found that these mothers of multiples become extremely efficient and develop shortcuts that are helpful for all mothers. That’s because they learn to improvise and make products work that weren’t designed for their particular situation. We call this a compensatory behavior, one critical element in identifying next-generation products.

And do you remember the metrosexuals, those men in the 1990s who were deeply invested in personal grooming and used products made for women? Another extreme population studied. As a result, beauty-care companies were inspired to create an entirely new category of skincare and styling products aimed at men, an entirely new market. Today, some very manly sports figures are pitchmen for men’s grooming products, made by companies that used to only make products for women. So when I became intrigued by the dramatic rise in smartphone usage, I started to think about one-handedness. My own experiences include failures like dropping my cellphone into an open cup of latte while driving and triumphs like opening, applying and successfully recapping a lipstick—all one-handed—during a telephone conversation. People have been multitasking for years, but I wondered: Is the constant use of the handheld mobile device changing us? And if so, what are the implications for consumer products and packaging? How to find out?

Photos: John C. Thomas, Fisheye

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wounded warriors

Then it hit me: Who better to teach us about living in a one-handed world than the ultimate extreme population? Arm amputees live elegantly and efficiently with only one hand, every day. By understanding the challenges of living in the one-handed world, I could discover some of the solutions and compensatory behaviors as well. And that could lead us to design and create better products and packages for everyone.

Illustration: Geoff Marko, Brandhouse Inc.

Indeed, while studying an extreme population can provide insights that can benefit all consumers, in the One Handed World study I found that it could take us a step further. While most market research captures the consumers’ past, this study provides us with a very rare glimpse into the consumers’ future—in a word, providing us with foresight. With this study, smart designers have the opportunity not only to understand where consumers are headed in the future but also to get there first with new designs to meet the consumers’ new needs. My career as a designer both led me down the path to becoming a market researcher and informed my consumer strategy practice. At Black & Decker, and later as a human factors designer at NASA, I discovered that my design work was always enhanced by people called market researchers. More recently, I have found that being a designer has made me a better researcher. My role is to inspire creativity and innovation on behalf of the consumer and help companies not just see their products and services as they are, but to reimagine them as they could be.


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Logo: Mark Hilvert

Fascinating Findings One of the greatest barriers to studying extreme populations in the past was how difficult it was to simply find and recruit them. Reaching arm amputees, while not a simple effort, was made much more feasible through technology and social networks. Leveraging one contact to create three, InsightFarm was able to tap into an insular population and build the relationships needed to gain access and collect information. Within a year, we created a community of amputees willing to participate in the One Handed World study. Participants reported how they interacted with and were challenged by nearly 250 everyday products and packages across 18 different categories, along with specific moments of interaction that are difficult and the reasons they are difficult. The same measurements were made among the two-handed population for comparison, along with questions about how they spend their days. The results were surprising. Overall, one-quarter of amputee respondents found everyday products difficult to operate with one hand, with the degree of difficulty increasing with the complexity of the task. I was stunned at the number of products that two-handed consumers reported difficulty opening or using—even when both hands were fully available. And they reported difficulties in the majority of the same categories as the one-handed consumers, which means the issue isn’t with the consumer, it’s with the product or the package. Additionally, I discovered that two-handed consumers now spend the majority of their waking hours, 40 percent, with one hand occupied. As a result, they attempt to interact with a variety of other products and packages using a single hand or finger. While multitasking itself isn’t a new activity, the dramatic surge in the use of handheld technology is driving a permanent change in human behavior. The cellphone was identified as the second most common item occupying the hand, behind only carrying things. Basically, we are living in a one-handed world. People are on the go and trying to get more done in less time, so they desperately need products and packages designed to accommodate that lifestyle. The One Handed World study

has found that one-handed convenience creates delight and engenders loyalty in consumers. A product that is easy to use with a single available hand creates a tremendous competitive advantage for itself in the marketplace. It is also an opportunity to boost profits, since consumers will pay a premium for convenience. Reimagine the Ordinary It is time for products and packaging to change. This imperative isn’t about specialized high-tech gadgets or $100 shoelaces for amputees. In fact, it is even more important for low-tech products. Items people use every day—adhesive bandages, ketchup packets, tape, yogurt cups, cereal boxes and more—could greatly differentiate themselves from competitors by being easier to use with one hand. This concept is actually different from universal design, which provides access to everyday products and packages for those with special needs. Interestingly, this study sug-

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Most Difficult Categories of Products to Open or Use One-Handed Consumers Two-Handed Consumers Rank Category 1 Tools 2 Other Foods 3 Health/Medical 4 Package Types 5 Snacks 6 Cooking and Eating Beverages 8 Sports/Recreation 9 Electronics 10 Personal Care

Percent Rank Category 49% 1 Tools 46% 2 Health/Medical 39% 3 Package Types 38% Cooking and Eating 33% 5 Apparel 30% 6 Snacks 30% 7 Sports/Recreation 27% 8 Other Foods 21% Beverages 18% 10 Personal Care

Percent 58% 48% 44% 44% 42% 37% 36% 33% 33% 27%

Of the top ten categories identified as most difficult, nine of them were identical between one-handed and two-handed people. According to the research, that means the issue isn’t with the consumer, it’s with the item they are trying to open or use.

gests that arm amputees are actually more capable than two-handed people in this emerging one-handed world and, as such, lead the way to the future of product and package design for everyone. Certainly not what one would expect from a study of an extreme population. Those of us with two hands are constrained by our own experience, since we’ve never had to think about how we would open a package or use an item with only one hand. We assume that two hands will be available. Studying this extreme population provides the knowledge—the foresight—that allows designers to do what they do best: step outside reality and truly experience another perspective in order to reimagine the ordinary. I experienced this at NASA. For the first time, we had to account for women as flight controllers. It became an incredible challenge because women presented totally different human factors. It required those of us designing (even the women) to change our perspective so as to meet the needs of everyone. A Place to Fish I grew up in Florida, and we fished a lot. Now, there’s a lot of ocean out there, so how can you be most efficient at finding the fish? Well, you look for the birds. The birds eat the little fish, so they follow them. The little fish are also eaten by the big fish, so find the birds and you’ve found the best place to find the big fish. It’s the same with ideas. You need to find a place that’s rich with the opportunity to help you catch the big ones. While hands-free remains the gold standard for ease of use with our extreme population, that’s not always possible.


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The One Handed World study has developed 17 different innovation platforms designers can use to create or improve their products or packaging. For example: n One-handed stabilization and manipulation: This platform identifies products that require one hand to do two different jobs: stabilize an item and manipulate it at the same time, such as opening a jar. Can the palm be used to stabilize an item while the fingers or thumb of the same hand open it? n Toothiness: Much to dentists’ dismay, the third hand is often the teeth. While it may be unsafe and socially unacceptable, teeth are being used to compensate for packages that are difficult to open. Designing packages to be opened safely and hygienically with the teeth would be paradigm-breaking, rather than incisorbreaking, for consumers. n Air as a propellant: What if air could be used to loosen or open a package, especially something that currently causes such difficulty for so many consumers, like cereal boxes? n Packages with predictable opening results: It doesn’t matter how many hands you have available to use if you can’t count on a particular package to open in exactly the same way twice. Consistency counts with, and creates delight in, consumers. In essence, it’s all about facilitating usage, whether the user is an amputee, a college student on a smartphone or a busy mom trying to hang onto a toddler’s hand. And thanks to the extreme users in the one-handed world, we can design a new future that makes life easier for everyone. n


Design takes flight “Beauty, harmony and elegance can best describe this unique pairing of Thermal Carafe and Tea Kettle.� Chirp Tea Kettle & Flight Thermal Carafe 2012 designed by cozzolino studio for Nambe;

The submitters pay for the submissions to this unjuried showcase. I N N O V A T I O N s u mme r 2 0 1 2



“This project creates a better experience

for the user during the preparation of food ingredients in the kitchen.

Simple Life starts from the Kitchen designed by Chun Ming Wu, student at Academy of Art University;

“U.F.O. is beautifully created with a simple

and clear curved lines. The optimized design is implemented to make a variety of product lines combined in an individual unit.

U.F.O. (Unified Functional Object) designed by YOUL;;


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“Efficient heating in style.” Effisense designed by Mormedi for Effisense;

“Therapy makes the most comfortable interior environment for people using the motif of nature.

Therapy (LED Downlight) designed by YOUL;;

“A fresh look at finding your path the

old-fashioned way—without batteries.

Brunton O.S.S. 30B Compass designed by Rocketship for Brunton;

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“Combining ancient and modern technology to train our future problem solvers.” SoroPad designed by Rocketship for Inception Learning;

“KEF Blade’s streamlined sculptural form

actually enhances its ability to emit sounds of jaw-dropping clarity.

KEF Blade Loudspeaker designed by ECCO Design Inc. for KEF;

“Instantly displaying notifications pushed

from your devices, the e-sync connects lifestyle to friends, fans and followers.

e-sync designed by Radius Product Development;


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“Universal clothespin design

comes full circle.

EKLIPSE designed by Charley Earley, IDSA for EKLIPSE LLC;

“ProtEX measures temperature, pressure and water flow in the harshest industrial environments.” ProtEX Series Explosion Proof Meters designed by Stream Product Development Inc. for Precision Digital Corp.;

“A rugged laser scanner comes out of the lab and onto the manufacturing floor.” FARO 3D Imager AMP designed by Stream Product Development Inc. for FARO Technologies Inc.;

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“The only fitness brand dedicated to helping you build strength to realize your dreams.” BILT by Agassi & Reyes, Line of Fitness Equipment designed by Cesaroni Design Associates for BILT by Agassi & Reyes;

“A new symbol for the next generation of athletes.”

Canada Games Ceremonial Torch Mark II designed by Wingspan Design for the Canada Games Council;

“Functionality and style that reflect the power and efficiency of a healthy lifestyle.” Blendtec Total Blender Designer Series designed by Rocketship for Blendtec;


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“Dramatically improve your field inspections with a palm-sized ultralight videoscope.” IPLEX UltraLite designed by Design Center, Olympus Imaging Corp. for Olympus Corp.;

“Digital camera system that affords every

user the joy of taking photos in everyday life.

The 3rd Generation OLYMPUS PEN Products designed by Design Center, Olympus Imaging Corp.; I N N O V A T I O N s u mme r 2 0 1 2



“Dark serious forms and bright crisp details were

developed to showcase HP’s large-scale printer expertise.

T400 Color Inkjet Web Press designed by SIGMA DESIGN for Hewlett-Packard;

“Creating a quality outdoor

wheelchair experience.

Petra designed by Namyoon Kong of Academy of Art University;

“ARKON™ anesthesia delivery system focuses on user needs and places the patient front and center.

ARKON™ designed by Design Concepts Inc. for Spacelabs Healthcare;


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“The CT660. Here to work.” Cat® CT660 designed by Caterpillar Industrial Design for Caterpillar Inc.;

“Developing fair-trade products that provide economic alternatives to the chronic poverty of subsistence agriculture.” Noah’s Ark Puzzle designed by Afternoon Design for Fabretto Children’s Foundation, Nicaragua;

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“The smart clothes

hanger that visualizes and distinguishes the dry clothes from the wet ones.

Smart Clothes Hanger designed by Jeff Yi-Teng Shih of School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Australia;

“Research of the user experience design for The Relic & Museum Tourism in China.” Interaction Design: Virtual Queuing System(VQS designed the Dept. of Industrial Design, School of Art, Xihua University for Sichuan Provincial Department of Education;


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“Midea’s brand vision: ‘Innovation and

technology and enjoy a fashionable, healthy life.’

Front-loading Washing Machine MG60-1409VD® designed by Little Swan and CONTINUUM for Wuxi Little Swan Co. Ltd.;

“The presented product range is a family of high end, front-loading drum washing machines.” Front-loading Washing Machine TG85-1406LD(S) designed by Little Swan and designaffairs GmbH for Wuxi Little Swan Co. Ltd.;

“An energy-saving eco-friendly kettle that

collapses after use to compactly store away.

Collapsible Kettle designed by Ricco Engineering International Inc.;

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sig nposts

Hacking Type: #!(:


Is there a gestalt to these hashtags or some greater f you have looked at anything related to social media meaning that is achieved with this inventive form of expresin the last few years, you will certainly be familiar with sion? When I ask, the question is usually confusing. But the tagging performed with the hash symbol or, as it’s when I’ve probed, it turns out that the purpose is simply now known, the #hashtag. I have been fascinated with this just to be funny. recently as the use of the hashtag has been morphing from So, the hashtag has become utility to play and lately toward a form of expression! It appears to pure humor. now be a domain-specific punctuaI learned from Wikipedia Cut out all these exclamation tion form that adds emphasis, irony, that hashtagging was used over humor. It’s a hack on our punctua30 years ago as a way to label points. An exclamation point is tion and to our language. groups and comments in Internet Hacking punctuation is not Relay Chats. The Twitter commu like laughing at your own joke. really a new thing. Emoticons are nity borrowed and mainstreamed perhaps the most familiar form of the 30-year-old punctuation trick, —F. Scott Fitzgerald type hacking that turned our type which has taken off and today into expression. Of course, some appears in use across social media. systems do us the “favor” of smartly correcting our emotiAs it grew in popularity, the hashtag started being used cons into rendered happy faces that totally ditch the charm to create or track memes. When Twitter started reporting of the original. (The hack on that hack is to reverse your on trending topics, tweeters enjoyed jumping into the mix emoticon (: so the auto correct doesn’t catch you and help of topics, whether contrived or based on real subjects or you try to emote while you type.) Notice the use of quotation events. #FML was always a fun one to peruse the hilariously marks around “favor?” It’s mainstream to hack the use of unfortunate circumstances of people needing to share misquotes to denote sarcasm. fortune. #firstworldproblems is another that was an ironic It stands to debate whether this redesign of written looking-glass container for self-aware tweeters to admit form is a good or a bad thing. I loved how Anne Trubek that their misfortune may be tainted with a high degree of exclaimed in Wired magazine this February that “our obsesfortune. Good fun. sion with proper spelling is a vestige of the Gutenberg era. What is most interesting is the latest change in the Its tyme 2 let luce.” Controversy always follows progress, journey of the hashtag. The hashtag is now used to capture so we will have to wait and see. F. Scott Fitzgerald, taking phrases that do not appear to be intended to indicate a offense to the liberal use of punctuation, once said, “Cut catch-all category or to either start or join a meme. Instead, out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like the goal seems to be to capture a concept that is somelaughing at your own joke.” how bigger than the string of words—typed out in tradition Will the hashtag escape the bounds of social media form—could express. For example, recently I saw #401suckand appear in general use? Should it? Maybe it’s the next sintherain as a stand-alone observation of the traffic one day. exclamation point? We just needed a new way to #laughaAnother was #donttellmyorthodontist in a riveting tweet from tourownjokes. a teen who forgot to wear her retainer one night.

—Alistair Hamilton, IDSA


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Innovation Summer 2012: Wounded Warriors + Design  

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