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Innovation
Thriving in the realm of uncertainty

Alastair Lee
April 2015
This chap’s name is Daniel Kish.
He’s blind. His eyes wereremoved when he was threeyears old. And yet he managesto ride hi...
… I was amazed by Daniel’s
story when I heard it on the This
American Life podcast.
Daniel is a master of moving
through t...
@docket
Expectations
Method
Support
1. So I thought it would beworth looking at what hasenabled Daniel to succeed,in the h...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
What do you expect?
So lets look at each in the
context of innovation in
product or se...
@docket
Despite qualitative and quantitative
differences between individuals, the
neurobiological principles of creative
b...
@docket
When one says of someone that he or
she is 'thinking creatively', one is
commenting on the outcome of the
process,...
@docket
Furthermore
• we have the perspective
• we have the skills
• we know what’s possible
Expectations Method Support
3...
@docket
Innovation distinguishes
between a leader and a follower
Steve Jobs
Expectations Method Support
If we want to thin...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
How?
@docket
flickr.com/photos/
Expectations Method Support
Innovation is like sleep - if you
focus hard on it, it becomes
illu...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Design Thinking - IDEO
We need to do what wealways do. Understand theproblem, come up ...
@docket
Research Concept prototype Design
Damien Newman - Central Office of design
Expectations Method Support
Doesn’t mat...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Discover Define Develop Deliver
Double Diamond - UK Design Council
Or this one…
@docket
Expectations Method Support
I’ve chosenIDEO’s DesignThinking model
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Let’s start
with the
research
phase
@docket
Insight is the raw material of
innovation
Alastair Lee
Expectations Method Support
I am sure I am not
the first to ...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
James Lang from
cxpartners knows a
thing or two about
research techniques
@docket
James’s
Expectations Method Support
Learn from his advice,
for example on depth
interview techniques
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Think of yourself as a
detective uncovering
the truth about what
makes people do
what ...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Remain sensitive,
even us old hands
must remain alive to
new insights each
time we eng...
@docket
SensitiveDetectiveFresh eyes
Expectations Method Support
So in
summary…
@docket
SensitiveDetectiveFresh eyes
Expectations Method Support
On to defining
the problem…
@docket
If I were given one hour to save
the planet, I would spend 59
minutes defining the problem
and one minute resolvin...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
So after we have
collected our data
we need to make
sense of it, in order
to work out ...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
At cxpartners we
often do this with
experience maps
@docket
Expectations Method Support
And we can find
ourselves focussed
on a particular
moment in the user
journey, perhaps ...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Our recent work on this
online supermarket is anexample of that
(confidential)
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Or we can look at
ways to enhance the
experience across a
number of steps
within our c...
@docket
(… make me feel)
Expectations Method Support
Steve Krug rightly
asked us not to make
people think… but
there’s not...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Mailchimp does a
great job of making a
boring product feel
fun to use
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Slack has character.The concept of
Slackbot adds a
different dimension
and enables a f...
@docket
How might we…
Expectations Method Support
Opportunity statement
IDEO’s idea
redesign ice cream to
be more portable...
@docket
How might we…
Expectations Method Support
too narrow
create a cone to eat ice cream
from without it dripping?
Oppo...
@docket
How might we…
Expectations Method Support
too broad
redesign dessert?
Opportunity statement
IDEO’s idea This is to...
@docket
How might we…
Expectations Method Support
just right
Opportunity statement
IDEO’s idea
redesign ice cream to
be mo...
@docket
SensitiveDetective
Opportunity
statement
Expectations Method Support
@docket
SensitiveDetective
Expectations Method Support
Opportunity
statement
Having defined the
problem it’s time to
come u...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Here’s a puzzle: Link
all 9 dots using 

4 straight lines or
fewer, without lifting
th...
@docket
1
2
3
4
Expectations Method Support
Here’s the solution.
This puzzle is the
origin of ‘Thinking
outside the box’
b...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
We like these sorts ofsolutions to
problems… like thisclever mouse catcher
@docket
Expectations Method Support
The Hippo watercarrier
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Or the Soccket Ball,that charges as youkick it around andthen provides
electricity
@docket
Expectations Method Support
This one is a littlesilly, but still genius
@docket
Soft focus
Expectations Method Support
So, how de we allow
ourselves to come up
with these new
ideas?
Firstly you ...
@docket
Soft focus
Expectations Method Support
Secondly, it pays to beinterested in a range oftopics, industries andideas....
@docket
Fast and loose
Expectations Method Support
There are different schoolsof thought on brainstorms.IDEO are big fans ...
@docket
toolbox.hyperisland.com
Expectations Method Support
Workshop
formats
@docket
Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.
Most inventors and engineers
I’ve met are like me — they’re
shy and...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Steven Johnson talks
about ‘slow hunches’
being the source of many
major breakthrough’...
@docket
SensitiveDetective
Soft focus
Share hunchesBrainstorm
Expectations Method Support
Opportunity
statement
I think th...
@docket
Soft focus
Share hunchesBrainstorm
SensitiveDetective
Expectations Method Support
Opportunity
statement
Moving on ...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Tom
Chi
prototyped
Google Glass
Tom Chi gave an amazing
talk at Mind The Product
confe...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
His team were considering
input mechanisms to
Glass and gestural was an
option.
So he ...
@docket
Tom Chi at Mind the Product 2012 https://vimeo.com/55741515
Expectations Method Support
Within 45 mins he had
buil...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
http://www.slideshare.net/mindtheproduct/tom-chi-rapid-prototyping-at-google-x-mindthe...
@docket
Soft focus
HunchesBrainstorm
SensitiveDetective
Expectations Method Support
Maximise learning
Broad + fast
Constel...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
What do we need?
So Daniel had is mother
fighting off the neigh-
sayers. What do we nee...
@docket@docket
Expectations Method Support
Firstly, we need the bike -
i.e the means to do the
work.
We need the space, th...
@docket
Clients
Expectations Method Support
We need clients that can
be persuaded to try new
things. There are lots of
the...
@docket
Expectations Method Support
Projects
E
X
P
E
R
I
M
E
N
T
We need projects that
don’t prescribe the
solution, but o...
@docket
Expectations
Method
Support
So, with the right
expectations of what we’re
capable of.
The appropriate method
and s...
@docket
We too can do
amazing things
@docket
Thanks
@docket
productpanda.com
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Innovation - thriving in the realm of uncertainty

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To be successful innovators we must be content to operate with limited information. A master at this is Daniel Kish - a blind man who can ride bikes, climb trees and go for hikes in the woods un-aided. What can we learn from him?

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Innovation - thriving in the realm of uncertainty

  1. 1. Innovation Thriving in the realm of uncertainty
 Alastair Lee April 2015
  2. 2. This chap’s name is Daniel Kish. He’s blind. His eyes wereremoved when he was threeyears old. And yet he managesto ride his bike on the streetsaround his home. How? By ‘clicking’ with hismouth and sensing the reverberations off the environment around him. It’s likesonar. He’s sometimes called the‘real Batman’
  3. 3. … I was amazed by Daniel’s story when I heard it on the This American Life podcast. Daniel is a master of moving through the world with much less information than most of us. A world peppered with unknowns. And it occurred to me that when we innovate, we are stepping into that same world. Away from what is known to work into what might work. And In order to succeed in this world we need to be comfortable with uncertainty, like Daniel is.
  4. 4. @docket Expectations Method Support 1. So I thought it would beworth looking at what hasenabled Daniel to succeed,in the hope that it can shedsome light on what we cando to be happier operating inthe this realm of uncertainty. For me three key elementsemerged from Daniel’s story. 1. Expectations - unlike other blind kids Daniel never expected anything less than to be able to move freely around the world 2. Method - Daniel developed this amazing ability to echo- locate himself through clicking 3. Support - Daniel’s mother was amazing. She bought him his bike, picked him up when he fell and refused to listen to those who wanted to limit his ambitions
  5. 5. @docket Expectations Method Support What do you expect? So lets look at each in the context of innovation in product or service design, starting with expectations…
  6. 6. @docket Despite qualitative and quantitative differences between individuals, the neurobiological principles of creative behaviour are the same from the least to the most creative among us Professor Richard Casselli, Neurobiologist Expectations Method Support 1. Everyone can be creativeFirstly, we all have it in us tobe be creative
  7. 7. @docket When one says of someone that he or she is 'thinking creatively', one is commenting on the outcome of the process, not on the process itself Robert Weisberg, Cognitive Psychologist Expectations Method Support 2. It’s not wizardry Secondly, the creativeprocess is nothing other thanwork. It’s not wizardry
  8. 8. @docket Furthermore • we have the perspective • we have the skills • we know what’s possible Expectations Method Support 3. We’re thechosen ones! And as designers we are well placed to do this.
  9. 9. @docket Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower Steve Jobs Expectations Method Support If we want to think of ourselves as a leading UX consultancy then it’s our duty to lead
  10. 10. @docket Expectations Method Support How?
  11. 11. @docket flickr.com/photos/ Expectations Method Support Innovation is like sleep - if you focus hard on it, it becomes illusive. Instead you need to create the conditions for it to happen naturally
  12. 12. @docket Expectations Method Support Design Thinking - IDEO We need to do what wealways do. Understand theproblem, come up withpotential solutions, test themand iterate
  13. 13. @docket Research Concept prototype Design Damien Newman - Central Office of design Expectations Method Support Doesn’t matter which design process you use. It could be this one…
  14. 14. @docket Expectations Method Support Discover Define Develop Deliver Double Diamond - UK Design Council Or this one…
  15. 15. @docket Expectations Method Support I’ve chosenIDEO’s DesignThinking model
  16. 16. @docket Expectations Method Support Let’s start with the research phase
  17. 17. @docket Insight is the raw material of innovation Alastair Lee Expectations Method Support I am sure I am not the first to say this! If you want to create something new to see the problem in a something new in new way
  18. 18. @docket Expectations Method Support James Lang from cxpartners knows a thing or two about research techniques
  19. 19. @docket James’s Expectations Method Support Learn from his advice, for example on depth interview techniques
  20. 20. @docket Expectations Method Support Think of yourself as a detective uncovering the truth about what makes people do what they do
  21. 21. @docket Expectations Method Support Remain sensitive, even us old hands must remain alive to new insights each time we engage in research.
  22. 22. @docket SensitiveDetectiveFresh eyes Expectations Method Support So in summary…
  23. 23. @docket SensitiveDetectiveFresh eyes Expectations Method Support On to defining the problem…
  24. 24. @docket If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it Albert Einstein Expectations Method Support
  25. 25. @docket Expectations Method Support So after we have collected our data we need to make sense of it, in order to work out where to focus our attention
  26. 26. @docket Expectations Method Support At cxpartners we often do this with experience maps
  27. 27. @docket Expectations Method Support And we can find ourselves focussed on a particular moment in the user journey, perhaps a pain-point or opportunity to gain competitive advantage
  28. 28. @docket Expectations Method Support Our recent work on this online supermarket is anexample of that (confidential)
  29. 29. @docket Expectations Method Support Or we can look at ways to enhance the experience across a number of steps within our control, perhaps by adding character to the experience in small ways
  30. 30. @docket (… make me feel) Expectations Method Support Steve Krug rightly asked us not to make people think… but there’s nothing wrong with making people feel good along the way
  31. 31. @docket Expectations Method Support Mailchimp does a great job of making a boring product feel fun to use
  32. 32. @docket Expectations Method Support Slack has character.The concept of Slackbot adds a different dimension and enables a fresh approach to on- boarding
  33. 33. @docket How might we… Expectations Method Support Opportunity statement IDEO’s idea redesign ice cream to be more portable? So once we have worked out what’s needed, it’s time express the problem in a way that enablescreative solutions. This is a key momentin the project. IDEO use Opportunity Statements to spur their designers into action, and it’s important to pitch these at the right level…
  34. 34. @docket How might we… Expectations Method Support too narrow create a cone to eat ice cream from without it dripping? Opportunity statement IDEO’s idea This is too narrow, too prescriptive. A cone may not be the only way…
  35. 35. @docket How might we… Expectations Method Support too broad redesign dessert? Opportunity statement IDEO’s idea This is too vague. Where would you start?
  36. 36. @docket How might we… Expectations Method Support just right Opportunity statement IDEO’s idea redesign ice cream to be more portable? The right level is broad enough to enable creative solutions i.e. not too prescriptive. But narrow enough tomake it clear what the solution should focus on… in this case portability
  37. 37. @docket SensitiveDetective Opportunity statement Expectations Method Support
  38. 38. @docket SensitiveDetective Expectations Method Support Opportunity statement Having defined the problem it’s time to come up with some ideas. This is an area whereUX we can easily falldown. It’s too easy towalk down conventional paths and not consider others. Partly because we’re often focussed on usabilityand certain patterns are familiar to users and are known to work, so why changethem?
  39. 39. @docket Expectations Method Support Here’s a puzzle: Link all 9 dots using 
 4 straight lines or fewer, without lifting the pen and without tracing the same line more than once
  40. 40. @docket 1 2 3 4 Expectations Method Support Here’s the solution. This puzzle is the origin of ‘Thinking outside the box’ because, in order to solve it, your lines need to go beyond the imaginary box we tend to put around the dots
  41. 41. @docket Expectations Method Support We like these sorts ofsolutions to problems… like thisclever mouse catcher
  42. 42. @docket Expectations Method Support The Hippo watercarrier
  43. 43. @docket Expectations Method Support Or the Soccket Ball,that charges as youkick it around andthen provides electricity
  44. 44. @docket Expectations Method Support This one is a littlesilly, but still genius
  45. 45. @docket Soft focus Expectations Method Support So, how de we allow ourselves to come up with these new ideas? Firstly you need to let your unconscious mind loose. Try and get that feeling of thinking in the shower.Suspend that part of your brain that’s saying, “just get on with it and do the obvious thing” Go for walks, meditate,think in soft focus.
  46. 46. @docket Soft focus Expectations Method Support Secondly, it pays to beinterested in a range oftopics, industries andideas. Read widely andexplore interesting ideas, stories, tools andapproaches that you can ‘import’ into your solution from somewhere else
  47. 47. @docket Fast and loose Expectations Method Support There are different schoolsof thought on brainstorms.IDEO are big fans andbase their whole approachon carefully orchestratedbrainstorming. Theygenerate lots of ideas,with a facilitator helpingthem to jump from onetrain of thought to another. The important thing is tobring people with differentperspectives together.
  48. 48. @docket toolbox.hyperisland.com Expectations Method Support Workshop formats
  49. 49. @docket Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team. Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me — they’re shy and they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone Steve Wozniak, Co founder of Apple Computer Expectations Method Support …But there are other schools of thought, and other perspectives on brewing creative ideas…
  50. 50. @docket Expectations Method Support Steven Johnson talks about ‘slow hunches’ being the source of many major breakthrough’s from the pendulum clock to the world wide web
  51. 51. @docket SensitiveDetective Soft focus Share hunchesBrainstorm Expectations Method Support Opportunity statement I think there is a place for both - two tracks of thinking with different rhythms that can exist in parallel.
  52. 52. @docket Soft focus Share hunchesBrainstorm SensitiveDetective Expectations Method Support Opportunity statement Moving on to the laststage in the cycle…
  53. 53. @docket Expectations Method Support Tom Chi prototyped Google Glass Tom Chi gave an amazing talk at Mind The Product conference in 2012 about prototyping google glass
  54. 54. @docket Expectations Method Support His team were considering input mechanisms to Glass and gestural was an option. So he wanted to prototype a Minority Report - type experience to see if it would work. How long did it take for him to get it up and running?
  55. 55. @docket Tom Chi at Mind the Product 2012 https://vimeo.com/55741515 Expectations Method Support Within 45 mins he had built this contraption which mimicked the interaction. And through playing with it they realised that it was uncomfortable to keep your arms up high in front of you for more than a few minutes. It didn’t work. So they moved on
  56. 56. @docket Expectations Method Support http://www.slideshare.net/mindtheproduct/tom-chi-rapid-prototyping-at-google-x-mindtheproduct-2012? They produced 15 prototypes per week in order to explore different solutions. Tom advocates this broad and shallow approach, before settling on a solution. Success is measured by how fast can you learn, not how fast can you make something that works. In UX we tend to donarrow and deepprototypes and discountcrazy ideas to early.Particularly in the agencyenvironment where wedon’t want to be seen to‘muck about with sillyideas’ that may gonowhere
  57. 57. @docket Soft focus HunchesBrainstorm SensitiveDetective Expectations Method Support Maximise learning Broad + fast Constellate Opportunity statement
  58. 58. @docket Expectations Method Support What do we need? So Daniel had is mother fighting off the neigh- sayers. What do we need in terms of support?
  59. 59. @docket@docket Expectations Method Support Firstly, we need the bike - i.e the means to do the work. We need the space, the tools and a culture that values experimentation and learning. We also need a little time to pursue and discuss those ‘Slow hunches’
  60. 60. @docket Clients Expectations Method Support We need clients that can be persuaded to try new things. There are lots of these, they will just need reassurance, which is where prototyping helps.
  61. 61. @docket Expectations Method Support Projects E X P E R I M E N T We need projects that don’t prescribe the solution, but offer the right Opportunity Statement. And project structures that allow for experimentation. (and yes I know this is waterfall)
  62. 62. @docket Expectations Method Support So, with the right expectations of what we’re capable of. The appropriate method and skills And the right culture and support within our organisation…
  63. 63. @docket We too can do amazing things
  64. 64. @docket Thanks @docket productpanda.com

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