Framing Innovation: Understanding design team framing
My PhD thesis is about how New Product Development (NPD) and design teams can successfully make products that people want. It is partly motivated by the reality of 30,000 new products hitting the shelves each year but only 10-30% of them lasting into the second. The vast majority of new products, in other words, fail. Assuming that companies don't manufacture and release products that simply don't work, a major cause of these failures is making products that people don't really want or need. To help avoid this an NPD team needs to frame the design challenge based around real user needs. I set out to find out how to do this better.
Yet while most NPD and design research focuses on process, I found that process alone didn't account for the difficulties NPD teams encounter. The second challenge was getting a diverse team of engineers, marketers, industrial designers and more, to agree on what it is that people want; the team needs to be on the same page about what people want.
These two goals, figuring out what people want, and getting on the same page, are intertwined in the design, research and sharing activities that a team performs. In my thesis I investigate the process of design team framing, piecing apart design practices and activities that both help teams build empathy with their target market, framing the situation based around real user needs, and help teams build shared understanding about this framing.
Design Team Framing: Paths and Principles, Hey, J. H. G., Yu, J., Agogino, A. M., Submitted to the Proceedings of the Design Theory and Methodology Conference, part of IDETC 2008
Framing innovation: negotiating shared frames during early design phases, Hey, J. H. G., Joyce, C. K., Beckman, S. L., Journal of Design Research, JDR, Undersciences, Vol. 6. Nos. 1-2, pp. 79-99, 2007. ISSN 1748-3050. Special Issue on Fostering Creativity and Innovation during Early Informal Design Phases: Sociotechnical and psychology studies. (pdf)