Designing the New: Lessons in Building New-Category Products
Robert Barlow-Busch, Mark Connolly, Primal Fusion
Session Type: Demo
Designers are EXCELLENT at finding flaws. Want some proof? Ask anyone who has posted their work to the IxDA discussion list, and they’ll have some battle scars to show. Indeed, we can be a critical bunch. But it’s a designer’s job to spot flaws and respond with solutions. We get a lot of practice with design critiques.
Occasionally, though, we’re faced with challenges that force us to exercise our design muscles in unfamiliar ways. For example: being asked to design a legitimately new, truly unique product or service. Something that nobody would mistake as an improvement upon existing products. Something that pioneers a new market. That has no competition to learn from. Yet simultaneously, it must be something that people desperately want, but didn’t know they needed.
Sound like fun? It certainly is! Sound like a tough challenge? Well, that too. In this demonstration, the design team from Primal Fusion will share our experience in facing this challenge head-on. We’ll discuss:
- How new-category product design demands a different and sometimes counter-intuitive mindset.
- How Clayton Christensen’s theories about “disruptive innovation” can guide design strategy.
- How your definition of “good enough” may need to drop to an uncomfortable level.
- How to define constraints and guideposts that keep you on strategy.
We’ll illustrate these ideas through demonstrations of Primal Fusion’s new-category products for “thought networking”. Thought networking enables people to express abstract ideas in concrete, machine-readable forms that computers can act upon. It’s a big idea and a great design challenge — so we’ve learned some lessons on how to imagine, design, and build new-category products.
Robert is Director of Product Design at Primal Fusion, a semantic technology company in Waterloo, Canada. Robert’s thoughts about leveraging user research to drive product design have been published in books such as “User-Centered Design Stories” and “The Persona Lifecycle”. He co-founded IxDA Waterloo and is an experienced speaker, having presented at conferences across North America, Europe, and Asia. You’ll find him online at www.chopsticker.com or as @becubed on Twitter.
Co-presenting is Mark Connolly, a user experience designer who is also Director of Application Development at Primal Fusion. He has previously created the user experience for products at Platform Computing and Maptuit Corporation. Prior to that, Mark was a partner in Convivia Interaction Design, a consultancy with a wide range of clients. Mark thinks there are few careers that are more rewarding than designing cool products and putting them out in the world.