Contract - May 2013 - (Page 148)

perspectives An interview with Vijay Kumar, author of 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization Design thinking is a method that can be applied to nearly any endeavor, business scenario, or social reform. in his book, 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization (Wiley, 2012), author vijay Kumar describes how design methods can be applied as a science, rather than an art, through practical steps of observation, reframing, ideation, prototyping, and planning. Kumar is a professor at the graduate school of design at illinois institute of technology (iit), the iit institute of Design, in chicago where he leads the strategic design planning and the design methods programs. He has used structured methods, tools, and frameworks for conceiving reliable human-centered innovations and turning them into strategic plans for organizations. He has consulted for Autodesk, Motorola, pfizer, proctor & Gamble, sc Johnson, steelcase, target, t-Mobile, and many others. in this interview with Contract, Kumar sheds light on design thinking as a process. What are the four major assumptions that organizations make that prevent them from achieving systemic innovation? Assumption 1: Many organizations consider that innovation as it is currently practiced is good enough. Organizations, especially successful ones, are often so good in continuously improving their offerings that they do not really want to “shake the boat.” They do not feel the need to go onto new but risky grounds, especially since significant changes are needed for long-lasting and groundbreaking systemic innovations. Assumption 2: innovation is often considered the responsibility of the executives. Leaders in organizations are often proactive in becoming successful through innovation. But the challenge of making systemic innovation 148 real in the marketplace depends a lot on the ingenuity of the teams who are in charge of executing these ideas. Teams must have the competency to create plans and actions for successfully taking innovations to the market. Assumption 3: innovation is often considered the responsibility of practitioners. Practitioners of innovation often try to work out all the details themselves, but they need to ensure that their ideas fit with a rational and profitable strategy for everyone in their organization. Assumption 4: innovation planning is considered an oxymoron. Measured, structured approaches to innovation do exist, and they can help teams collaborate and co-create innovations in very deliberate ways. Innovation is much too important for organizations not to understand how it can be reliably planned and practiced. Briefly describe your four core principles of successful innovation. principle 1: Build innovations around people’s experiences. An innovation—whether it is a product, service, environment, process, or any other—is going to be used by people. To make an innovation successful, it is a good idea to deliberately build the innovation around people’s needs, activities, motivations, aspirations, and interactions—in short, their whole experience. principle 2: think of innovations and systems. An innovation belongs to a larger system of interconnected and interacting parts. In our sincere efforts to focus on the specific innovation we are building, we sometimes find it difficult to take a step back and think of the big picture as a system. If we can deliberately understand how this larger system works, we will be able to better create and successfully deliver offerings that are more connected and fitting. principle 3: cultivate an innovation culture. Thinking about new possibilities, both short-term and long-term, and acting on them on a continuous basis, should be built into the culture of an organization and become a habit for everyone, whether an accountant, engineer, or business development manager. Of the four principles being discussed here, this one is the biggest challenge. principle 4: Adopt a disciplined innovation process. The process of innovation can no longer be just intuitive in nature. Disciplined, structured, rigorous, and repeatable processes are needed to deal with the complex and densely connected context today. These innovation processes exist in parallel to many other equally important processes in an organization, and we need to integrate them well. Innovators need to synthesize processes from design, technology, business, and other areas. MAY 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - May 2013

Contract - May 2013
Industry News
Columnist: Attending NeoCon® to Enhance the Knowledge Base of You and Your Client
Exhibition: GlobalShop 2013
Exhibition: Coverings 2013
Exhibition: Salone Internazionale de Mobile
Product Focus: Midcentury Made Modern
Product Focus: Uninterrupted Workflow
NeoCon® preview
BBC North
Paul Hastings Atlanta
3M Headquarters
Federal Center South Building 1202
Atlassian II
An interview with Vijay Kumar, author of 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization
Designers Select: Office
Ad Index
Commentary: On MoMA’s Plans for its Modern Neighbor

Contract - May 2013