Latest IN Looks At Innovation

The June 11, 2007 issue of BusinessWeek features the latest installment of IN (Inside Innovation), a special section dedicated to articles about innovation, design, creativity, and more. Articles in this special supplement to BusinessWeek include a look at the tension between efficiency and creativity at 3M, how companies are creating secure environments in virtual worlds, the impact of six sigma on innovation, and some re-design stories.

Those interested in keeping track of activity in social networks will find two charts of interest. One graphic shows that while the use of social networks and media is growing rapidly (an increase of 668% in web traffic at these sites in the past year) very few users actually create content. Another graphic illustrates what different categories of people are doing (creators, commentors, collectors, etc.)  in social networks and breaks down the participants by age group. Those under 26 (young teens, youth and genY) are the biggest contributors – no surprise there.

Illustrating The User-Centered Design Process

It always great to come across a well-designed graphic that clearly articulates a process that might other take some time to explain. I discovered such a graphic just recently at a conference (LACUNY) in New York City, and that it nicely captured a design process resonated with me. I saw this during a presentation by Nancy Foster and David Lindahl from the University of Rochester. More details on their presentation can be found here.

 U of Rochester Slide

The chart presents the core elements of the design-thinking process. It begins with empathic research designed to learn more about the users and how they use and think about the services and resources of the library. Next the teams analyze their data and brainstorm ideas about ways to resolve learning problems. Study subjects may be asked to perform co-design tasks in which they use pictures or objects to express their ideas. Then the teams will develop and prototype different solutions.

The chart offers a view of a team process – and how such a team might be organized – for design projects. Many thanks to Nancy Foster and David Lindahl (creator of the slide) for providing it and granting permission to reproduce it here for you.