Innovation.  At PlusD2 it’s a word we pride ourselves on.

It goes into our work with great care and expertise in the hopes of providing you with an end result that is just that…innovative.

I’ll be sharing over a series of eight articles PlusD2’s theory and process of innovation as it relates to the product development and industrial design world.

Part Five – Why

Anyone who is a parent with young children or has witnessed this kind of interaction between parent and child has most likely seen a scenario in which the parent asks the child to do something and the immediate response is, “why?”

This dialogue then continues on with either the repetition of the same directive or a slight variation, to which the response is once again, “why?”

This verbal dynamic can continue on for several more iterations before any action actually takes place. What does this behavior have to do with the innovation process?

Modern life is filled with information overload. Everything around us attempts to capture (and hold) our attention. In order to be able to rationally navigate this environment and digital onslaught, habit patterns of behavior, daily routines, get established in order to cope with all the demands placed upon us. This eventually leads to habituation (the diminishing of a physiological or emotional response to a frequently repeated stimulus). This numbing effect, while practical to successfully deal with the everyday stress and pressures related to both our personal and public lives is detrimental to identifying latent needs discovering atypical behaviors that potentially lead to innovation.

This where the child-like line of questioning is important – when conducting human-centered research into a specific topic domain. Users cannot tell you what they don’t know, and most of us are not even aware of what we don’t know (you don’t know, what you don’t know). Repeatedly asking “why?” is a simple technique that forces someone to continue to consider the answer provided. It can potentially dig deeper into the issue beyond the surface level and provide that moment for reflection and reevaluation. It provides a format for the investigator to replace judgment, with curiosity.

PlusD2 is an Innovative Product Development Company based out of Chicago and Columbus.  Our motto – The Art of Creation and the Science of Imagination.

If you’d like to speak to us about a product development project we’d love to hear from you.  Email my team at info@PlusD2.com.

What is your take on innovation within the design industry?