Module 3 Idea Refinement

April 10, 2019

By Hayley McLaughlin

Idea refinement iterations will lead to an innovative and implemented solution if indeed the design problem is initially understood. This is reflected in the article by Dorst et al. (2001) who investigated the creativity & design quality for a new litter disposal service on new model Dutch trains. They state “the more time a subject spent in defining and understanding the problem…using their own frame of reference in forming conceptual structures, the better able he/she was to achieve a creative result”.

The learning experiences that I have had with idea generation and refinement that have eventuated into a product or solution that have failed have stemmed precisely from a failure to truly qualify the problem and the user despite an attractive business case being presented before development. Floren and Frishammar cite the importance of ‘firms’ being able to ‘develop skills in probing and learning’ and in the refinement process be open to ‘changes to the idea and concept’ (2012). I have experienced the costly problem when testing and refinement comes too late in the development phase and leads to a solution being introduced to the market that customers do not see a need for and cannot be convinced to purchase. The same article also comments on the dangers of early screening that may ‘kill good ideas’ but with the use of the build-measure-learn methodology new idea concepts and their refinement are more likely to be successful also if the idea is complimented with its feasibility being evaluated constantly throughout the process and ensuring the business case is aligned with a company’s strategy and competency (2012).

I attempted to approach the idea generation process for our problem with improving the populations ability to think critically from my son’s perspective since I don’t believe the problem pertains to me and therefore the gaming approach. I think other ideas that were in some ways similar along with those that sought to develop the approach through the education system were complimentary but before additional refinement takes place I believe the basic idea concepts really should be tested.

One response to “Module 3 Idea Refinement

  1. Very interesting insights! I cannot agree more with your observation of the ‘problem of an illdefined problem’. This is a common problem because those who define the problem are often exterts or firm-internal professionals rather than the one who actually face the problem. The Design Council in the UK therefore use the Double Diamond where the first stage focusing specifically on exploring and re-evaluating the the orginal problem definition in order to critically reflect on “do we actually address the right proble”?

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