Methods and tools

Participatory Product Innovation - P²I

Participatory Product Innovation - P2IThe innovation methodology is a need-driven approach to creative product development. Is is based on a Participatory Product Innovation (P²I) framework [1] and can be viewed as a hybrid of the systematic properties of integrated product development [2] and the creative properties of the “IDEO way” [3], with a solid base in needfinding approaches to design [4],[5]. The approach encourages designers and engineers to interact directly with users to gain insights into the customer domain.

The generic P²I master plan consisting of a timeline and a number of sequences to go through, guides the practitioner in the product development activities. The master plan does not point out the sequences in detail and the purpose is to provide the practitioner with an overview tool to estimate the efforts required for the whole project, as well as a map to keywords useful for searching relevant literature. The practitioner is encouraged to develop and improve the master plan. Practically, this means that the students are encouraged to use a variety of creative methods, e.g., the IDEO method cards and different brainstorming techniques, especially in the needfinding and concept generation phases.

At the moment, P²I include seven overall sequences;

  • Planning,
  • Design space exploration,
  • Roadmap,
  • Concept design and prototyping,
  • Detail design and manufacturing,
  • Pre-launch and
  • Product launch.

Besides the needfinding process, the second sequence, design space exploration, includes benchmarking, related technology and scoping. These activities are guided by the questions – What? Who? How? Why? The needfinding activities emphasise the ‘why question’ in particular to understand the customer’s context and priorities. The ‘what question’ is posed to understand the customer’s daily activities in detail. Within this interplay needs can be more carefully discerned. The scoping activities limits the design space by analysing data generated in previous activities. This activity prepares for the third sequence, the roadmap. A mission statement is included in the roadmap sequence. The mission statement establishes the general direction of the project without prescribing a particular way to proceed. Those who should benefit from the product and a description of how the target group should experience those benefits are to be included in the mission statement.

P²I is used, and developed, heavily via real projects in academic settings. Examples of project based courses where P2I is the core:

Contact Professor Tobias Larsson for more information.

References

  1. Ericson, Å., T. LArsson, A. Larsson (2007). In search of what is missing - needfinding the SIRIUS way. Knowledge Sharing and Collaborative Engineering : Proceedings of Fourth IASTED International Conference on Knowledge Sharing and Collaborative Engineering, KSCE 2006. Acta Press, 2007. 6 p.
  2. K.T. Ulrich & S.D. Eppinger, Product design and development (USA; McGraw-Hill, 2000).
  3. T. Kelley, The art of innovation. Lessons in creativity from IDEO, America’s leading design firm (USA; Currency and Doubleday, 2001)
  4. D. Patnaik & R. Becker, Needfinding: The Why and How of Uncovering People’s Needs, Design Management Journal, 10 (2), 1999, 37-43.
  5. R. Faste, Perceiving Needs. SAE Future Transportation Technology Conference and Exposition, Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc., Seattle, Washington, USA, 1987, 419-423.


Measuring innovation - Innovation performance

Measuring Innovation in Teams

How do we know that we are innovative?

This was one of the triggering questions from a company manager in Sweden during a workshop on innovation.

 

“Successful organizations innovate today as well as for tomorrow. Managing this duality is an immensely difficult task” [1]

 

1986 Tushman & Nadler said that a key challenge for many companies is to innovate continuously, both here and now, as of tomorrow. Today, close to 25 years later can be concluded that factors which "allows" innovation is relatively well documented and well known and include:
• factors at the individual level (including the creativity of individuals)
• factors at company level (including the use of cross-functional development teams, or collaborations with customers and suppliers)
• factors at the system level (for example, if a given firm in a cluster or not)
The knowledge of how companies can measure innovation is still very limited, both practically and theoretically. This is problematic because companies lack the ability to systematically evaluate their own performance and compare it with other companies. To measure innovation requires comparability, ie. to different devices under test are quantitatively comparable, so that comparisons between companies can be made in quantitative terms.

1986 Tushman & Nadler said that a key challenge for many companies is to innovate continuously, both here and now, as of tomorrow. Today, close to 25 years later it can be concluded that factors which "allows" innovation is relatively well documented and well known and include:

  • factors at the individual level (including the creativity of individuals)
  • factors at company level (including the use of cross-functional development teams, or collaborations with customers and suppliers)
  • factors at the system level (for example, if a given firm in a cluster or not)

 

The knowledge of how companies can measure innovation is still very limited, both practically and theoretically. This is problematic because companies lack the ability to systematically evaluate their own performance and compare it with other companies in order to manage the much desired innovation outcome. To measure innovation requires comparability, ie. to different devices under test are quantitatively comparable, so that comparisons between companies can be made in quantitative terms.

We now have a framework to assess innovation performance (in dedicated innovation teams) that allows to develop a tailored measuring system for the specific company, allowing to find relevant innovation measures to study the progress in innovation performance.

Contact Professor Tobias Larsson for more information.

References

  1. Tushman, Michael, and D. Nadler. "Organizing for Innovation." California Management Review 28, no. 3 (spring 1986): 74-92.
  2. Ritzén, S., T. Larsson, F. Nilsson, B. Regnell (2010). Mätinspiration i innovativa team. Management of Technology, Vol. 17, No. 3, p. 7-9, October 2010.
  3. Wallin, J., O. Isaksson, A. Larsson, T. Larsson (2010). Measuring innovation capability in technology-focused development. 17th International Product Development Management Conference IPDM, Murcia, Spain, University of Murcia, June 13-15, 2010.
  4. Wallin, J., T. Larsson, O. Isaksson (2011). Measuring innovation capability - Assessing collaborative performance in product-service system innovation. 3rd CIRP International Conference on Industrial Product Service Systems, IPS2 2011 - Functional thinking for value creation, Braunschweig, Germany, May 5-6, 2011, Springer.

 


Scenario based design

Scenario Based DesignScenario Based Design is an approach chosen for its high potential in putting, and keeping, users at the centre of product development. Scenarios are concrete descriptions of the work activities that a product or service is intended to support, but they are also very flexible, to allow designers to also devise products and services that are highly innovative and which addresses future ways of conducting collaborative work.

Scenarios are used to provoke questions and “what if” discussions in relation to revised or completely new design proposals, and they are written in a natural language so that particular problem situations can easily be understood by all stakeholders in the development project. It is important to note that these scenarios have not developed from thin air; they are based on thorough fieldwork on collaborative design teams in both industrial and educational projects.

Contact Professor Tobias Larsson for more information.

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