Ivo Dewit & Els Du Bois

Summary of the project:

The research focused on an ideation guide to support them in executing these sessions. Our research started from the idea to reduce the time to market in the context of innovation. In the process of product development, the focus is on how to control the ideation phase. We hypothesize that a better structuring and controlling methodology can lead to a better product, a shorter time to market and a higher firm success in general. Meanwhile, this phase is known by industry as a complex and hardly controlled process that is context-dependent. Most organizations lack the talent to find fresh and marketable ideas in the fuzz, because this stage is poorly understood. The research focuses on how to give people the advantage to become moderators, who can organize and support these ideations sessions and consequently stress the importance of it in industry.

Nowadays, mapping the number of tools onto the logic of the innovation process gives an overload of possibilities and reveals the following important difficulties: (i) which tools should be used in each specific situation, and (ii) how to implement the possible tools in the right manner. This research also focuses on the success factors and the conditions to deploy supporting tools in a given innovation process in order to obtain a higher success rate in generating ideas and obtaining the necessary buy-in for it. The arguments are based on literature research and a series of five workshops with experts from academia and industry. In the first part of the research, the key problems in the use and implementation are brought to light. The second part focused on possible solutions for these key problems and results in a moderator guide supporting the ideation process. In the third part, the possibilities of the Idea2Market instruction manual, were examined by describing tests with students and with industry.

The research showed an added value in improving the efficiency of the ideation process through following solutions: (i) Firstly, the preliminary scoping of both the tool and the creative problem or opportunity raises the efficiency and effectiveness of the process. It gives the opportunity to anticipate on contingencies during the creative process. (ii) Secondly, the process needs a plan or layout that gives the opportunity to align the different process steps and to elaborate on prior results. In each step an overview of different existing applicable tools is required and different success and failure factors should be known. (iii) Thirdly, the approach needs a system with different levels according to the experience of the team involved. Working on a higher level could bring in the aspect of role playing. (iv) Roles add complexity but also the opportunity to look at each problem from different angles. The confrontation of these different angles might result in a higher quality of the outcome.

Future research and refinement, by experimenting in educational and industrial contexts, should focus on the improvement of moderator support through the implementation of the above mentioned solutions, using the I2M box, in the product design educational and industrial innovation context.

Extra information about the project

Financed by: Flanders InShape

Starting date: 2009, October

Ending date: 2010, September

In cooperation with: Verhaert New Products & ServicesRecticel, VRT Medialab

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Dewit, I., Du Bois, E., Moons, I., and Jacoby, A., (2012), “Idea²Market: Implementing an Ideation Guide for Product Design Education and Innovation”, Proceedings of the 14th international conference on Engineering & Product Design Education, Antwerp, Belgium.