6 Processes for Generating Ideas for Radical Innovations–Design Thinking Series

Radical Innovation - Design Thinking SeriesOrganizations and groups are clamoring to learn more about Design Thinking. I’m continuing a series investigating Design Thinking by discussing insights with contributors to the PDMA Essentials book titled “Design and Design Thinking.” Design Thinking is often turned to when radical new product concepts are needed. I interviewed Michal Herzenstein, PhD, who discussed six ways product innovation teams can increase their ability to create breakthrough products.

See link for podcast interview below.

Creating Ideas for Breakthrough Products

Product innovation teams that wish to create radically new products can use six processes to help them. Large companies are better off implementing these six processes in ascending order and focus on communicating the goal of achieving a breakthrough product to the innovating team. Smaller organizations and startups can pick any process that they feel will help them learn more about developing breakthrough ideas.

The 6 Processes

  1. Communicate the Challenge Goal Toward Radically New Products – Share the expectation of creating a “10x” product. A product that is a magnitude better than what is currently available requires breakthrough product concepts. At the same time, you want to create a culture within the organization, and especially within the product innovation team, that taking risks and failing is part of the learning required for new products.
  2. Shift Time Frames to Future and PastTo free the mind of the constraints of the present time and open your thinking to new possibilities, examine what could be possible in the future and how that impacts product concepts the team envisions. Science fiction stories are frequently good examples of shifting time frames, such as technology portrayed in Star Trek that became a reality (e.g., communicator = flip phone).
  3. Promote an Emerging Technology Focus Across the Product Consumption Chain Combine existing technologies with any step in the sequence of product consumption to create new solutions to current problems. This helps to generate ideas for radical solutions by using available technologies.
  4. Promote the Use of Analogical Thinking – Describe the true function and goal behind a product by comparing it to a more common item or idea – an analogy. It helps product innovation teams think about how they can import superior qualities from an existing product or service to address a different problem.
  5. Look for Novel Ways to Solve Simple Problems – Pay attention to the simple problems we face on an everyday basis and explore possible solutions to those problems, producing breakthrough ideas.
  6. Leverage More Ideators Via Crowdsourcing – Use crowdsourcing to motivate new ways of thinking. Companies can invite suggestions from outside of the organization to help generate ideas for breakthrough products. Sometimes innovation teams need someone from the outside to stimulate their thinking.

Listen to the interview with Michal Herzenstein on The Everyday Innovator Podcast.

image credit: depositphotos.com

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Chad McAllister, PhD is a product innovation guide, innovation management educator, and recovering engineer. He leads Product Innovation Educators, which trains product managers to create products customers love. He also hosts The Everyday Innovator weekly podcast, sharing knowledge from innovation thought leaders and practitioners. Follow him on Twitter.

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