How good research can lead to great innovations

John Kolko at Thinktiv talks about how good research can lead to great innovations in an article from Fast Company’s Co.Design. I’ve pulled the paragraphs below directly from the article. You might also be interested in signing up for the newsletter (sign-up box at the bottom of the linked FastCoDesign and article pages).

“Design synthesis — the process of translating data and research into knowledge — is the most critical part of the design process. Yet in our popular discussions of design and innovation, we’ve largely ignored this fundamental role. We engage in debates and discussions about process methodologies (waterfall vs. agile, user-centered design vs. technology-driven design) and management techniques (topgrading, negotiation), yet we rarely engage in conversation about incubation and translation: making meaning out of the data we’ve gathered from research, as we strive for innovation. It’s as if this part of design is magical, and for us to formalize our techniques would somehow call attention to our sleight of hand.

Without a formal strategy and approach to synthesis, experienced designers rely on their intuition, built up over years of trial and error.

The approaches to incubation and translation can be formalized, and to do so offers a great service to designers who are struggling to work through increasingly complicated problems in business and culture. During design synthesis, truly revolutionary innovations emerge.”

Alix Co. thought: I’ve reached out to John and hope to learn more about Thinktiv’s interest in strategy. I also hope to share with him the Alix Co. Planner for Awhile (PFA) deliverable. Strategic planning IS this space-