Nov 17, 2016
In this episode of the Ideation Podcast, innovation consultant Vijay Kumar discusses how organizations and individuals can apply design thinking when developing creative solutions to problems. Here are the show notes from this episode:
Avoid Blind Spots
Organizations must be careful not to develop narrowed-thinking when creating innovations to solve problems.
Building Innovations for People
Rather than focusing on the problem, innovators should have a clear understanding of the end user.
Innovators have a high level of empathy in order to understand how and why a customer will use a product or service. Develop a clear understanding of the end user and avoid making decisions based on assumptions.
Think of Innovation’s Environment
Take a step back and ask who will use the product or service and in what context. Understanding the entire context and environment in which a product or service exists is key to developing a successful innovation.
“Cultivating an innovative culture is the most difficult challenge any organization faces and the biggest challenge to being successful in your innovation.” says Kumar.
Empower the Individual
Empowering individuals to be champions of innovative actions will help organizations succeed as a whole. Kumar uses Proctor and Gamble as one example of a company that embodies empowerment.
Make Innovation a Team Effort
Organizations should practice teamwork and approach innovative thinking as a collaborative effort. Try making your project a multidisciplinary effort, connecting individuals across departments. Innovation is often sparked when seemingly unrelated ideas intersect.
Because individuals have unique processes to approaching an issue, it is important to develop a process that all members can agree to. Collaborative discussions that facilitate open mindedness can help companies integrate individuals into a cohesive team.
Measuring Success - 10 Types of Innovation
Kumar says that there is no single measure to an organization’s success. Organizations should review and measure innovations based on qualitative data rather than just focusing on quantitative measurements. Using the 10 types of innovations as a framework, organizations can map how successful the company has been in each area of innovation.
ABOUT VIJAY KUMAR
Vijay Kumar is a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design in Chicago. He is an innovation consultant, coach, and adviser to global organizations for the use of structured methods for conceiving reliable human-centered innovations and turning them into strategic plans for organizations. Kumar has dedicated his entire career to the study of strategic design planning and methods. His interest in design thinking was sparked by interactions with famous American designers Charles and Ray Earn. While attending design school in India, Kumar was fascinated by the way the designers approached innovation, realizing how the human mind makes connections for creatively solving complex problems. Kumar has consulted to global organizations such as Autodesk, McDonald’s, Motorola, Pfizer, P&G, SC Johnson, Shell, Steelcase, T-Mobile, Target, Texas Instruments, and Zurich Financials among others. Kumar is the author of the book, “101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization.” He is an Honorary Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council.