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Learningpoint 1. - ideation.

During the last week I’ve been heavily involved with INDEX:Views and experienced and learned a lot about creative processes, management, leadership, position-taking-attitudes, endurance, misleading artefacts, ignorance, “design-processes”, designed processes, and I’m sure a lot more….

I’ve just started to reflect about the last week, and as many times before many of the important learning points come to me retrospectively.

The one I would like to start out with is about brainstorming – or should I say ideation process?

The reason why I’m thinking about exactly that is of course related to what I experienced during the Summit, but also because of my general interest. The ideation process is important for mainly one reason - If you don’t have the right array of ideas to choose from, the end result of course will be “poor”.

So, ideation is IMPORTANT.

But how do you plan that? How do you execute? Are there constraints in time or economy that is decisive for methods chosen?

Any experiences you want to share?

Months ago I came by a website with a list of tools – INTERESTING. Maybe you’re familiar with one or more of the methods?

Interview: Ivy Ross

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Ivy Ross is currently the Executive Vice President of Design and Development for Old Navy, Gap, Inc. Ross is responsible for all products, across all categories and customer segments. In addition Ross is a key member of the leadership team that is looking to constantly evolve the brand experience as well as future growth opportunities for the corporation. Ross’ education was in design and psychology and included time at The Harvard Business School.

Ross was a founding partner of two independent design firms and a retail store. She has a proven ability as a design leader and also possesses a strong sense of business management. She is a world-renowned artist. Ross’ innovative metal work in jewelry is in the permanent collection of 12 international museums, including the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., the Victorian Albert Museum in London and the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York City, among others. A winner of the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts grant, Ross has also received the Women in Design Award and Diamond International award for her creative designs.

Click here to see the interview. Just select the video by clicking the picture of Ivy Ross on your right side.

Interview: Jørgen Rosted

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Jørgen Rosted serves as director of FORA, an independent research unit under the Danish Ministry for Economic and Business Affairs. Jørgen Rosted has been one of the most influential policy advisors in Denmark over the last two decades. Mr. Rosted has served as Permanent Secretary in the Danish Ministry of Business Affairs and has held a number of leadership positions in the Danish Ministry of Finance, for three years as the Director of the Economic Department.

Click here to see the interview. Just select the video by clicking the picture of Jørgen Rosted on your right side.

Interview: Jørgen Vig Knudstorp

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Jørgen Vig Knudstorp has since 2004 been the CEO of the LEGO Group. LEGO play materials allow children of all ages to be creative in a systematic fashion that expands the boundaries of their imagination. Jørgen Vig has a Ph.D. in business economics concentrating on strategy and business development; topics that he has continued to work with as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, and since 2001 in LEGO Group.

Click here to see the interview. Just select the video by clicking the picture of Jørgen Vig Knudstorp on your right side.

Interview: Tony Lai

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The INDEX: Views Summit is over now, but we have got tons of interviews to digitalize and upload. We recently uploaded an interview I made with Idea Factory's CEO and Managing Director Tony Lai.

Tony Lai is an emerging thought leader on business innovation and its changing systemic roles in corporate transformation, competitive strategy, strategic planning and organisational development.

Through a successful buy-out of the global company, Tony has been the Managing Director/CEO and Senior Partner of The Idea Factory, an innovation business that was founded in San Francisco in 1996. He set up the Asia Pacific HQ in Singapore in June 2001, which has since become the Global Headquarters. The Idea Factory consults and facilitates businesses and government institutions on their strategies for innovation as a critical component of competitiveness. Some of the organizations which Tony has personally consulted, and facilitated are Levis Strauss & Co. Asia Pacific, Abacus Travel, Pan Asia Paper, Accenture Singapore, Maybank Sdn Berhad, Microsoft, Media Development Authority Singapore, National Arts Council and the Institute of Systems Science.

Before The Idea Factory, Tony had accumulated extensive experience in the areas of innovation and transformation at the national/country level in tourism and human resources. Over a period of 6 years, Tony headed corporate development at the Singapore Ministry of Manpower and was involved in corporate planning with the Singapore Tourism Board.

Concurrently, he is a Board Member of the Singapore Human Resource Institute and the Singapore International Foundation.

Click here to see the interview. Just select the video by clicking the picture of Tony Lai on your right side.

How do you define design?

After asking a lot of people at INDEX: how they would define design, I'd know like to ask our readers. I find it highly interesting to hear all of these different definitions, they help me explain the purpose of CPH127 to others. To start of, let's look at what Paul Rand says:

"Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated."

Don’t believe the hype

User driven innovation is said to be the answer to all our prayers regarding the future of business and wealth in Denmark and Scandinavia in light of the global competition that we see these days. The media, top managers and institutions compete on ”hyping” user driven innovation – all too often, it seems, without knowing what user driven innovation really is.

Lately i have seen a number of new products being hailed as userdriven innovation. The so called triobike for city living, the Speedicath Compact for incontinent women and hearing aids from Oticon and GN Resound plus a myriad of wonderful design ideas with no current market applications.
I do not think that any of these candidates qualify as user driven innovations. Let me argue why. User driven innovation is made up of two concepts – innovation and user driven – and its meaning cannot be understood without seing these concepts together. All to often, however, this is what happens in the talk about user driven innovation.

We do, however, know quite a lot about innovation. Innovation is something that increases the competitiveness of an organisation by offering new value to customers in as diverse areas as products, services, administration, brand, the shopping experience, use of the offering, and so on. There are two key words here. One is competitiveness – an innovation is, per se, commercialised into the market place and successfully so. Thus, a design idea with no market application is just that – an idea. The other key word is new. Innovation is new to the market, at least in the industry of the innovating organisation, and, thus, new to the innovating organisation and its competitors.

The latter implies that innovation is risky as it often demands new ways of producing, marketing and distributing the offerings of an entire industry. This may in effect destroy competence and capital as the old ways have to be abandoned in favour of new ways of working.

User driven, then, seems to go smoothly with innovation as the customer is in focus both for the innovation concept – customers make or break innovations with their buying behavior – but what happens when we combine the two concepts?

I will assert to you that a true user driven innovation needs to have the following set of characteristics:

  • It is different from other offerings in the market
  • It is a surprise to customers as it is directed at their demands and wishes of tomorrow rather than today
  • As such, it is based on a deep understanding of the market
  • Creates a superior value proposition for customers thereby making the innovation positively different to others
  • Is based on a business model that creates wealth to one or more businesses
  • Is created in the interaction between a multitude of knowledge areas of which design is (but) one
  • Will never be able to get support from backward looking managers or programmes
  • Given these characteristics, the public darlings of above all fall as the result of being either not an innovation – the Speedicath and most of the wonderfull design ideas that has yet to make it to the market place – or not user driven in the sense that it is the demands of tomorrow that is in focus. Asking customers what they want today is neither innovation or user driven – it is, simply, marketing! And while marketing certainly has a place in business management today, it is not innovation and certainly not user driven innovation.

I think that my definition of a true user driven innovation poses some interesting questions to the role of the designer in what needs to become the main activity of Danish businesses – i.e. user driven innovation. And remember that few have supported design and designers as much as yours truly. However, we need to find answers to questions like:

  1. Is it the designer who should manage the innovation process from idea to business model execution? Or should the role of the designer be limited to the conceptual phases of the innovation process?
  2. Should designers be part of top management teams in future organisations? If so, what should the designers bring to the table?
  3. Can innovation processes in general do with some inspiration from the way designers work? If so, what inspiration might that be?
  4. How should designers interact with marketing people in order to these two – and possibly more – groups to discover the market needs to tomorrow?
  5. How should designers in general learn to interact with other specialities? Should designers know a little marketing, economics, engineering, production and so on? Or will that hollow-out the important, defining skills of what makes a designer per se?

I look forward to a debate on these important issues. And don’t forget to check out the strategic angle on these matters at www.strategy-lab.asb.dk

links for 2005-09-29

Interview: Flemming Lindeløv

FlemmingIn 1997, Flemming Lindeloev was elected Chairman of Royal Scandinavia A/S, and from 2001 – 2005 he was CEO of same company. Today, Mr. Lindeloev is Chairman of Royal Scandinavia Retail A/S (Illums Bolighus) and he is a Member of the Board of Royal Copenhagen A/S.

Moreover, Mr. Lindeloev is Chairman of Business Forum of Greater Copenhagen Authority and H. Lundbeck A/S.

Click here to see the interview. Just select the video by clicking the picture of Flemming Lindeløv on your right side.

Interview: Henrik Hautop Lund

HhlLatest interview is with Henrik Hautop Lund, professor, the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute for Production Technology, University of Southern Denmark. His research group, the AdapTronics group, focuses on research in robotics and modern artificial intelligence. He is member of the Danish National Research Council, has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, and has initiated and coordinated numerous, big research projects such as HYDRA on self-assembling robots, Body Games, Intelligent Artefacts, Flexible robots for SMEs, VIKI Humanoid (RoboCup Humanoids Freestyle World Champions 2002), Playing with Ambient Intelligence, etc. He is co-inventor and co-founder of RoboCup Junior. His robot work has been presented to e.g. prime ministers, HM Queen of Denmark, and HM Emperor of Japan. He has collaborated with numerous companies such as LEGO, Bandai, Siemens, ABB and Microsoft.

Click here to see the interview. Just select the video by clicking the picture of Henrik Hautop Lund on your right side.

About CPH127

CPH127 is a sense-making initiative. We aim to create a open dialogue around the profound understanding of the leadership, organization and strategy of creative business functions with the aim to create new value (for customers, employers and stakeholders.

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