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From Insight to Innovation: The Search for Unconventional Wisdom

This is the talk I gave at the MoSo conference in Saskatoon, July 15, 2012. I explore how innovation is an insight driven process.
by

Karyn Zuidinga

on 12 September 2012

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Transcript of From Insight to Innovation: The Search for Unconventional Wisdom

Conventional Wisdom (2005 - 2007): Smart phones are for business people who are calendar and email driven and away from their desk two or more days a week. Unconventional Wisdom (June 2007): Smartphones are for consumers who want their iPod, the web, and a phone in their pocket. Unexamined assumptions (conventional wisdom)
we hear all the time... this site / app is for everybody doing something is better
than doing nothing it's better to be first to market
than worry about refining
the product too much we can't afford to do
any research The deep dive—that is where innovation happens. What you are watching is as important as who you are watching, and is more important than what people say. Get your Holmes on… Questions / Comments Thank you for your time today http://www.analyticdesigngroup.com @Analytic_Design Source: http://i.stpost.com/zero-restriction-z400-mock-turtleneck-long-sleeve-for-women-in-black~p~4251f_02~1500.jpg Source: http://proxy.baremetal.com/artcountrycanada.com/images/colville-to-prince-edward-island.jpg Source: http://http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/samsung-blackjack-ii-black/4505-6452_7-32717959.html Source: http://www.technologyatplay.com/forums/showthread.php?11078-Calendar-Pro-for-BlackBerry-ranked-16 Unconventional wisdom: those unexamined assumptions exposed; those bits of 'wisdom' that seem to fly in the face of what we know is ‘true’. In June 2007 Steve Jobs showed us that Smartphones were for consumers. 5 years later and the competition is still playing catch-up. What unexamined assumptions do you have? The conventional wisdom about innovation is that it takes a creative genius like Steve Jobs to not only have the drive to push the product through but who will receive the divine inspiration to see the opportunity. Unfortunately that sets us up for failure—we can wear the black mock turtle necks, we can decide to go unshaven for a while, even barefoot—but we can’t all be Steve Jobs And yet that is the pressure we face as product designers and developers. The question is how do we mere mortals innovate? And when you do, how do you know you have something that's going to work for your users? We think that innovation happens when you confront your unexamined assumptions and go out and search for insights; when you go out looking for those bits of unconventional wisdom that will guide you to those triggers that will allow you to innovate. Innovation is process driven by deep insights. Case Study: Last year we had a client who wanted to create an ezine about physical literacy. They knew they wanted to target parents of kids aged 2–9, and had made several assumptions about the value proposition, how their audience would respond to the info, and what parents wanted. Instead of working from these assumptions and just beginning to design, we suggested to the client that it would be a good idea for us to go out and do a deep-dive into this audience, their attitudes and behaviours. Our thinking was if we were going to design this ezine, we needed to know more about how it was going to fit into these parents' lives. How accurate were the assumptions? We made 16 site visits—going to see parents at home with their kids asking questions and observing behaviour about thing like: • How ‘physically active’ these children are How they connect to the internet and what type of social media tools they use
What kind of mobile devices are common and how they are used
How they assess the progress of their children in physical activities or sport if they help their children with skill development The types of online/offline information resources they use
Whether they know about physical literacy The fact is that even though our client who is a sports psychologist, a community hockey coach and a dad, and who had been talking to almost everyone he’d met about his idea of this ezine—and everyone had told him that they thought it was an awesome idea, very compelling content and something that’s so timely… We observed almost the complete opposite:
The two assumed segments are not distinguishable

The children of parents in this segment are 'activated'

Scheduling is a challenge, but not to activation

Once explained the concept of physical literacy was not embraced and parents did not easily distinguish it from physical activity—and they are doing plenty there

Parents are primarily concerned with their children's overall happiness or contentment with an activity, not their achievement

While some parents may act as influencers, typically this is not a role these parents see themselves in

Parents have, by and large, given up on parenting magazines by this age and want very specific, community based information

The babycentre.com model does not apply for parents with children in this age range—the parents feel they children are very diverse This is a cautionary tale. Our client had done his ‘research‘ but the point is what people say they think they would like, is often not what they will actually like, use, need, or respond to. Innovation is a process driven by a Sherlock Holmes level of observation—listen to what your users are saying, but more importantly look at how they behave, and listen for what they are not saying. Instead of waiting for divine inspiration to strike, get your Holmes on. How much is that costing you? ADGi tested dozens of smartphones in 05, 06 and 07 and this was the prevailing wisdom. These were the phones that were state-of-the-art just prior to the iPhone launch. This is what the interfaces looked like... ... and a few more. please contact karyn@analyticdesigngroup.com How parents chose and scheduled physical activities for their children This is also a story about innovation.

Based on the findings of the research we recommended that the client pivot and create a community-based app that would give parents the help they need scheduling and registering for physical activity.

We could then leverage information about physical literacy in the tool by:
a) packaging the content about physical literacy with the tool

b) using a recommendation engine to guide parents to suggested complimentary activities that will then support improved physical literacy in their children
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