The most dangerous failure in innovation is to forget to test the product against incompetent users. The other most dangerous failure in innovation is to let seniority overrule creativity. These were among the take home messages at the June 3rd event “Brew Your Own-Unique product”, about innovation processes. The event was hosted by Copenhagen Science City and co-created with Danish Life Science Cluster.
Understand your barriers to overcome them
An incompetent user may not be able to handle even basic challenges such as finding the correct power cable for the device they have bought. Yet some companies choose to ship their product without cables, consumables, documentation or other fundamental necessities. This becomes a barrier to the uptake of the product, and the company fails, says Rune Nørager who was the first speaker of the event.
Predicting barriers to uptake is a crucial step in all innovation processes. Design and design thinking is one of the tools you can use to address these barriers, so they no longer prevent customers throughout the value chain from using the product”: Rune Nørager, CEO, Design Psychology.
Consider every gatekeeper
Design Psychology is a company, which uses insights about design, user behaviour and psychology to help make products more useful for the customer. According to Nørager, another challenge that companies ignore at their own peril is that a product is viewed in many ways during its customer journey. Especially if it is to be used in the health- and care sector.
Many companies tend to take a keyhole view, where they only see their technology and its end-user. This view may hide several layers of purchase decision makers. This may include a procurement department, which looks only at cost/benefit equations, managers, who needs to see your product slot into department workflows and a doctor who wants documentation of efficacy. The number of gatekeepers may be even higher in other settings and they may pop up earlier than expected in the client decision process or even after the actual sale has been made”: Rune Nørager, CEO, Design Psychology.
Radical ideas need radical playmates
Unexpected ideas come from unexpected places. That is why Karen Guldbæk Schmidt warns against letting seniority and fancy job titles take precedence over creativity in an innovation process. She recommends finding ways of letting ideas speak for themselves. Perhaps through anonymous presentations. Perhaps by inviting co-creators from entirely different domains of knowledge.
The most radical solutions for any problem tend to develop at the edges of knowledge and in the boundary zones between different domains of insight. You should always attempt to find outside insights for your ideation processes. Talk to someone with different life experiences than your own. This could be a different education, occupation or for that matter just a different gender, age, or nationality”: Karen Guldbæk Schmidt, Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre
Get crazy to get transformative
Schmidt is part of a team that created the ideation method “Radical Innovation Sprints” for the organisation Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre. The centre is tasked with finding solutions that might help the Danish off-shore oil industry become part of the green transition. In order to do this, she and her team needed to invent novel ways to facilitate creative innovation between scientists.
Innovation is often about using a known tool in a new context or updating a familiar solution. That’s not enough to make the oil industry part of the green transition. We also need ideas that are strictly crazy but just might work. This improves our chances of finding the truly transformative solutions. We need to find solutions to problems, that we are not even aware exist, and we need to invent new technologies to address the needs we are aware of”: Karen Guldbæk Schmidt, Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre.
Information, inspiration and motivation
Brew Your Own-Unique Product was the last Copenhagen Science City networking event of the Winter/Spring season 2021. Brew Your Own-events are co-created by Copenhagen Science City and Danish Life Science Cluster. The events aim to provide information, inspiration and an opportunity to network. The hope is to strengthen bonds between researchers and students who dream of starting a business or working for start-ups and founders who have already realized the dream.