A Proposed Method for Innovation
Chris V. Conley, Illinois Institute of Technology
While there are many helpful tools and techniques for business analysis and product development, there are few, if any, methods for creating robust new product concepts. This paper presents a methodology that responds to some of the common problems associated with how organizations currently try to develop new concepts. The method combines research and synthesis in an iterative cycle with a cross disciplinary team to define new product innovations. Product conceptualization is still considered a black box to many organizations trying to innovate. There are two primary mistakes made. First, organizations often think a primary challenge is to choose from the product ideas and projects that a company already has. The second mistake is to spend too much time in research, analysis, and specifying features and benefits without ever making something. The methodology proposed in this paper is called Integrated Definition and is a means to define new products and services that can be released into development. Key phases of the process are 1) Understand Context, 2) Create Concepts, 3) Architect Solution Directions, 4) Validate Directions, and 5) Finalize Definitions. Over the last two years, this method has been used with a series of organizations and has delivered clear and robustly defined new product or service concepts. A project to gather data from the organizations who have used this method is in the planning stages.
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