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Module 1: Understanding Design in Innovation

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Innovation by Design

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Hello there, welcome back to understanding design, this is the 7th and last session ofour course.By now we have had discussion on various aspects of design and we have seen how design interactswith human activity in diverse ways.It is concerned with users in their context, it makes technology accessible to all.It impacts society and the environment and is often a collaborative effort.But beyond this there is something intrinsic to design, something that brings design intoexistence.That element is innovation.Innovation is the buzzword today and everyone speaks of it as an absolute necessity forsuccess, just like design there are many ways that innovation is defined and perceived.Every organization talks about bringing in innovation not only to products they create,but processes by which they manufactured and sell their products.Creative people think of innovation as new ideas, as a way of making new connectionsbetween materials, as ways of using and reusing them, or new ways of communicating.Some talk of innovation as something new, a novelty, as something that never existedbefore like a new technology or a new application of an existing technology.Take the internet, the technology existed for many years in research organizations andlabs way before it became the place for anyone seeking some information and getting it instantly.Or wanting to share with the world that thoughts, feelings, photos, work you know, so many things.Today we cannot even imagine the world without the www dot, can you?So now we come to our theme for the day innovation by design.We need to understand innovation and how design enables innovation.We have with us once again my colleague Professor Chakravarthy who will speak to us about thisvery crucial aspect, he works in the field of product innovation, so that is what hewill talk about.Welcome back to understanding design, could you elaborate on the meaning of the phraseinnovation by design, I mean is not all of design innovation?Well, innovation by design is a practice of using design tools, and methods to createuser centered novel products.At the core of this process is empathy for the user and innovative use of technologyto arrive at solutions, the process is widely recognized as design thinking.The key elements are empathize, observe, ideate, prototype and test right?Yes.So, would you say ideas are the most important after empathy?Yes they are, but it is hardly enough to have an out of the box idea unless we are ableto give it a concrete shape.Anyone can come up with ideas, many of these ideas may have the potential to radicallychange our surroundings.I read somewhere that every seed is a promise of a tree, but not all seeds become treesthey need to be nurtured.Exactly, for a product design idea to be successful, it has to be manufactured and distributedand it has to reach the hands of a large number of users for its potential to be realized.Yes of course, innovation actually comes into its own when it makes an impact, when we seea large number of delighted users we can say we have an innovation.The satisfaction of these many users is the ultimate test of innovation in design isn’tit?I am sure, that you appreciate how challenging innovation by design is.And also why every idea that sounds good may not turn into an innovation.In order to translate ideas into tangible products what the designer requires is a comprehensiveunderstanding of the needs of the users and how they could be satisfied.Users again we have already spoken about different kinds of users, now let us talk about differentkinds of innovation.Yes, there are many types of innovation; we could have radical innovations, where a completelynew technology replaces an old one.. Like what we saw with the coming of solidstate audio players, like the iPods, that swept away all our old walkmans.Now, we do not even need a separate music player it is all on our phone and the musicis available online.It could be innovation at different stages of product development, for instance therecould be innovation in manufacturing to reduce the cost of a product.A good example is the Tata Nano car where innovative manufacturing reduced the costdrastically to make an affordable small car.You will find material on this in the resources tab of module 7 on the course platform.Another category of innovation could be in the distribution chain, a packaging idea ofmaking miniature packs at low cost makes several products accessible to consumers of lowerincome groups.Like the miniature stashes of shampoos, coffee, masala, chutneys you know we see them hangingall over local shops and roadside stalls.These reached all over the country even in areas that were not regarded as potentialmarkets for such products.As the idea caught on, a number of other household products became available in affordable smallpackaging.Like the chota recharge for your mobile phones.[luaghter].[luaghter].Yes, we can see how innovation traverses across various domains, we also have business processinnovation in the popular supermarket chains in our cities and small towns.They make purchases in bulk and keep the prices low by taking support of special sofwares.They sell in large quantities through special offers and promotions across different consumersegments all of which result in brisk business.And if I may add there is also user centred innovation.Take for example, the gaming consoles that use motion sensors that detect human gestures,such games compel players to respond with body movements in order to play.As they keep playing the players developed greater skills and precision and that takesthem through the next level.Sports, dance and fitness are other popular workout games, these benefit users in multipleways because they let them stay fit even as they are playing indoors.