Design Innovation

Design Innovation

Design Innovation Jonathan Poland

Design innovation refers to the development of designs that represent a significant advancement. This can encompass innovation in fields that are traditionally associated with design, such as visual design, as well as the application of design principles and design thinking to innovate in areas such as architecture, engineering, and software development. Design innovation involves the creation of new and original designs that push the boundaries of what is currently possible and have the potential to make a significant impact. The following are common types of design innovation.

Structure

Structures such as architecture of a building. For example, a building that is a leap forward in terms of earthquake resilient design.

Environments

Environments both physical and virtual such as a game environment that invents a new law of physics in a virtual world.

Experience

Designs that change user experience in some meaningful way. For example, a new way to navigate complex information structures.

Usability

Making things more usable. For example, a holographic user interface that is easier to use than a tradition screen-based user interface.

Productivity

Designs that allow people to be more productive. For example, a search engine that displays the highest rated items that are a reasonable price such that customers often find exactly what they want on the first page of results.

Engagement

Making experiences more interesting and stimulating for users such as gamification of business software that makes work more enjoyable and creative.

Accessibility

Making things more useful for as many people as possible. For example, a design for a living street that improves things for people with disabilities, children, seniors, people carrying large items, bicyclists and emergency services.

Safety

Designs that are safer than the current state of the art such as an innovative design for a child safety seat.

Quality

Making things more fit for purpose such as a design for a kite that is easier to launch and control.

Reliability

Reliability such as an aircraft engine that is better at handling bird strikes without being damaged.

Performance

Performance such as a high speed train that can be safely operated at a higher speed than competing models.

Efficiency

Getting more output for each unit of input. For example, a passive technique for transporting sunlight to the center of a building that reduces the use of electric lighting.

Sustainability

Designs that reduce environmental damage or improve quality of life. For example, a plastic bottle that quickly biodegrades into harmless elements. Product designs are commonly produced in millions of units. As such, product designers are in a unique position to save the world.

Capacity

The ability to hold more such as an innovative rechargeable battery that stores more energy that any other comparable technology.

Aesthetics

A revolution in the way that things look and feel.

Differentiation

Designs that differentiate products in some extremely valuable way. For example, innovative use of shape, form and materials that generates demand and publicity for a product.

Durability

Designs that are more difficult to break. For example, a valve for a soccer ball that doesn’t allow the ball to be overinflated.

Complexity Hiding

Making interfaces simpler without making the product simpler. For example, an aircraft that has extremely complex safety systems that are relatively simple for pilots to use.

Integration

Things that are better integrated with other things. For example, a child car seat that is easy to anchor in any model of vehicle.

Modularity

Things that can be deconstructed and customized with modules such as a mobile device that is infinitely upgradable with hardware components that click into each other. For example, the ability to add nearly infinite memory units to the device as you need them.

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