how innovation happens
Being a lead on an innovation team inventing future technology consists of taking part in many roles. There is no single-way of how to invent something. Especially when you are working on something that has no precedence in this world to learn by example. Some days I am a business strategist, other days I'm a designer, sometimes a researcher, a storyteller, a design sprint or "Feelings meetings" facilitator, a relationship-builder, a patent filer, a manager, a mentor and then there are days that I am an actress in a video.
Below is a framework for the creative process we use but sometimes tweak it, repeat steps and do anything necessary to identify new concepts, user scenarios and strategic business opportunities for differentiated, transformational experiences.
I work with key stakeholders which includes the Leadership Team, Business Strategy, UX Designers, Researchers, Storyboard & Motion Artists, Video Directors, Engineers, Project Managers & Key Partners across the company and together, we define the areas of opportunity. Then, we set clear goals to ensure we have the right resources, are working towards realistic, timely schedules and that we are in alignment on a clear, human-centered goal.
Research provides guidance to discover new opportunities that inspires us to build purposeful, differentiated products. For the Research phase, we involve UX Designers, User Researchers, Business Strategy and Developers. We conduct extensive research, looking at user research, market research, experimentations, customer interviews and technology investigations. We discover insights that drives us towards innovating new, differentiated experiences. We create a One Line Concept (OLC) which is a project mission statement and we list 5-10 customer promises. This helps align our focus as a team as we move on to the Ideation phase.
The Ideation phase is when we experiment and brainstorm to identify and visualize scenarios. Depending on the size of the project, I will lead company wide design efforts, facilitate brainstorms and design sprints. I also work with Developers on ideas for tech prototypes and mentor other designers so that they can also lead their own brainstorms effectively and efficiently.
The ideation sessions I facilitate consists of healthy brainfood, a playlist I've curated for creative brainstorming, a non-intimidating & very inclusive invite to a diverse handpicked group of individuals and a schedule where each minute is intentional and purposeful. By focusing on the OLC & Top Customer promises and having clear outcomes for each brainstorm session is key so you are getting the most value from your time with such brilliant, amazing (and busy) people. By the end of the Ideation phase, we have an abundance of ideas. I work with Designers and Developers to document and narrow down the top high-value scenarios.
The Validation phase is where we evaluate, learn and receive direct feedback from users. I work with Designers, Engineers and Researchers to test our concepts, experiential and technical prototypes.
Once we have strong conviction after our concepts have been validated and tested, we summarize the work we did by telling our story in a deck or video format. This gets shared with our key partners, leadership team and corporate executives.