Analysis and over-thinking dilutes creativity and new ideas, leading to outcomes that are mundane and lacking in emotional resonance and excitement. Reaching Design Stage 20 is a pretty clear indicator that what we have as a solution is no longer disruptive or differentiated. It doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that New Zealand ranks highly in the OECD in generating ideas, but New Zealand firms are investing relatively little, and performing poorly, when it comes to implementation.
“I’d say it’s not fast moving consumer goods anymore, I think it’s extra fast moving consumer goods” Mark Callaghan, Frucor
We’ve seen analysis add months if not years to a project. Not keeping up with the pace of change in the market puts businesses on the back foot when it comes to launching NPD or keeping up with consumers’ evolving expectations of experience. Data and analysis feel safer, yes, but this frequently comes at the expense of wins in market or true innovation. Businesses wanting to harness the disruptive and engaging power of creativity do need to get comfortable with a degree of risk and uncertainty.
In fact it is more risky not to change and progress. Tech giants like AirBnB, Facebook, Uber, Google and Silicon Valley have mitigated that risk by connecting innovation and development closely to users and their needs. Agile methodologies like Lean Startup and Design Thinking are based around ideas of failing faster, testing earlier, experimentation, and prototyping in close connection with users. This practice-based approach yields quick and practical insights while at the same time progressing projects forward.
However, the problem is not only to do with speed and efficiency. Traditional research deals purely in what exists or has been, and is at odds with the role of commercial design to differentiate and disrupt. Our job as designers is to deal in what could be, the imaginary, what does not yet exist - the new and compelling. As well as meeting needs, design connects, inspires, excites, and motivates. It is emotional and social, not clinical. Research relevant to design involves both establishing empathy with an audience to uncover needs, and sparking creativity through a collaborative, designer-to-human connection.
Do you speak human?
We have been prototyping a human-centred research solution that borrows from Lean Startup and Design Thinking. It connects with audiences on an emotional, imaginative, and below-the-surface level, delivering practical insights and revealed, not claimed, behaviour.