Hybrid Design Research Method: Roundtable Review

Peter Jones Design research, Wu Wei

[110] in the Methods You Don’t Use Yet series Expert Roundtable Review Problem:  For a product or service inquiry, we often see the need to rapidly gather highly relevant feedback and informed opinions on a new concept. A similar problem is noted when a project team is identifying the opportunities for innovation and must conduct a rapid but deep scan of the current products or competitors in the field. When the problem necessitates access to highly informed professionals, the focus group, field study, or survey methods are not feasible, at least within the timeframe necessary to make an initial business decision. Solution: The Expert Roundtable Review, based on the Heuristic Evaluation [35] and Videoconference Focus Group [42], provides a dialogic tool for engaging a small group of informed participants online and by teleconference at a time convenient to their schedule. Use When: Useful for collecting responses, opinions, and insights from busy professionals and respondents that may be difficult to recruit for focus groups, interviews, or even surveys. Also useful as a technique for convening an online focus group supported in …

The persistent persona

Peter Jones Wu Wei

I have to admit not getting the fuss about personas. With a raft of new UX books out in recent years, including 2 books on personas in 2006 alone, I am always amused at the extent to which we (in UX, but also in design generally) believe we must re-invent everything. As if its better than some previous generation. Personas are tools for describing the users attending to the products and services we are designing for. They are basically user profiles, succinct depictions of the salient characteristics of a given user type. Personas capture a set of meaningful properties around a given user categoru, with a name and fictitious background that personalizes it as a representation of a customer. They have somehow become a big deal. Forrester conducted an international consultant’s study on the best practices in personas in 2007, and now they even offer a persona design course. There are blogs just about personas, such as this one that promotes the Forrester study. Scott Berkun’s (oops – Joshua Porter’s, of course – and thanks for visiting, that’s one more …

Semantics of Innovation

Peter Jones Innovation

“That’s a great deal to make one word mean,” Alice said in a thoughtful tone. “When I make a word do a lot of work like that,” said Humpty Dumpty, “I always pay it extra.” Lewis Carroll (1872) Through the Looking Glass What twists and turns we put to the word “innovation .” We make it mean everything from original invention to “good design,” to creativity, to product development. We all think we know what it means, from our own experience. But we rarely do the rather churlish academic thing of stopping someone and requesting “What do you mean by innovation?” I like primary research, so I tend to go with definitions that support Rogers’ (1962) Diffusion of Innovations. Innovation differs from invention in that adoption is implied. An intentional invention must end up somewhere useful to qualify, or at least be “overlooked” by the market of the time – the implication being that its adoption failed due to poor timing. In 2002 I wrote in the DMI Review: When Successful Products Prevent Strategic Innovation First, let’s define innovation, a …

IDEO Smart Space – A transformation of what?

Peter Jones Transformation Design

IDEO’s Urban Pre-Planning Can its “Smart Space” practice shake up the lumbering world of infrastructure, zoning, and public process? IDEO gets so much press on their approach to architectural projects – perhaps because its a relatively new space for design, and few other firms are taking it on in the way they can. They have the size, the rep, and a diverse mix of design disciplines. They have balls, you have to give them credit – their developing practice in urban planning, land use, and housing planning is taking on a complex, hyper-sensitive, “sprawling” territory where results will be hard to measure, because cities and new initiatives in urban spaces take time and community commitment to happen. IDEO does not have to care if they design it, and nobody comes. So they can reach far with ideas and aim for excitement and inspiration. But it is not innovation of urban planning, it seems to be a innovation of urban packaging. This has implications for design strategy, because IDEO gets to set the top bar for the profession. If conceptual design …