Ahead of our World Usability Day open house event we ran a short survey to uncover more around this year’s theme of innovation, and what it actually means to our clients and colleagues. Questions focused around the meaning of innovation, its relative impact within companies, who and what were considered innovative and how different sectors were dealing with innovation.
The results of the survey are partly shared here and in a following blog post after WUD (full results can be seen at WUD to which you are all warmly invited to come along and have your say).
Today I’m going to focus on the results of what innovation means and what’s stopping it.
So what does innovation mean?
The majority of respondents stated that innovation was a good thing, something that formed part of their daily mantra and a technique that should be fostered in their workplace. There were, however, others that said it was nothing more than an overrated ‘adherence to trends’ – this year’s buzzword.
Despite the mixed opinion of its value, the general association with innovation was something ‘new’, a ‘fresh perspective’ pushing at the sterile boundaries within an organisation. Ultimately, a new process, new deliverable…a new way of thinking, that should actively be encouraged.
It is often thought that Usability practitioners seek to merely meet user expectations and eliminate surprises, and as such may perhaps been seen as against innovation. We however see our role as pushing the boundaries. If we didn’t strive for something better than what we have, we wouldn’t have the likes of Apple; User Experience designers have the opportunity to be advocates of innovation.
How innovative is your company?
Despite the majority of people thinking that innovation should be encouraged, it was interesting to see the bulk of respondents felt that their company fell more in the middle in regards to its innovative stance.
What’s stopping innovation in your company?
It wasn’t a lack of management buy-in, nor budget holding people back from being innovative. The main barrier appears to come from a lack of resources and no clear structured innovation processes/procedures.
It’s clear that innovation certainly has its place in all companies, and that your staff / fellow colleagues want to think innovatively. To do this, more needs done to encourage supporting the team to think ‘outside’ the box, to define what the best methods are for creating new ideas. This will certainly be unique to each organisation and will be a process that requires iteration to define what works best for you.
Innovation wasn’t seen as a bad word. Yes, I would agree it is perhaps a tad overused at times. But certainly not a bad word. In the UX sphere to me innovation is about creating user experiences that bring additional pleasure to the user in ways that hadn’t previously been thought about…it’s about putting existing things together in new ways that add value to users’ lives. And that, is certainly something we strive for.
I’ll be writing about the rest of the results after our free WUD open house day, including who and what you think has been the most innovative companies / things. Our WUD event on 12th November will be a chance to see the rest of the survey results and have your say.
Let us know your thoughts on innovation.