23 August 2010

Innovation and Human Centred Design

An excellent article in today's Globe and Mail discusses the relationship of human-centred design and the business of innovation. In "Extreme affordability: Why we must wear the user’s shoes," Neil Seeman and Kenneth Lam illustrate how important it is to foster a user-centred perspective when designing any innovation and its ultimate integration into practical use. Theirs is a case study in the need for applied research and experimental development - the two latter phases of research according to the OECD Frascati Manual - where low cost solutions are found by putting ones self into the everyday experience of the end user of a particular product or service.

There are many examples of this approach around George Brown College. From Jamie McIntyre's (CCET) innovative approach to New Product Development using a quasi experimental/retrospective approach to user inclusion, to RJ Clements' (CSHS) experimentation with the Wu Casting Technique to lower the cost of prosthetics for third world applications, many GBC programs such as the Institute without Boundaries and the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Community Innovation (BA&D),  integrate this approach. The Research Commercialization and Innovation teaches this explicitly because we understand the necessity to equip our graduates with an innovation literacy that includes the ability to understand the end-user experience as a foundation for building future innovative products, services, and processes.

As I've noted earlier, our expertise in human centred and participatory design informs our approach to collaborative problem solving with our partners.

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