Design Innovation Blog

Design Innovation Blog

Archive for 'Prototyping'

Down on the Farm

A fantastic example of design innovation, from a pig farm in Canada!

Mary Haugh versus 3,000 pigs in a barn. Her husband indisposed though ill health and she had to herd all their pigs. Now, traditionally a “chase board” is used to a guide and angle those pigs, too heavy for her and too short to be of much effect alone. Mary needed something new to be able to manage and set about solving the problem. Her solution cuts the time required to move the hogs by 70%, has won two prestigious innovation awards and become a commercial success.

She noticed that the pigs hesitated whenever they passed by the bright red chase boards. She wondered if the colour itself affected the pigs and whether a length of red fabric could be used as a long, flexible chase board. The pigs turned every time. Prototyping the idea with her brother she developed a roller based system that weights 14kg, extends to 15m and can be hooked into a gate post to be operated by one person.

All the classic hallmarks of the design innovation process are present; observation, imagination, experimentation, prototyping and delivery of the idea as a product. The innovation process may have happened far from a design studio and Mary never attended design school but the LongArm, her trademarked invention, is a good as it gets.

Check out the National Hog Farmer article for more

Posted by: Edward Savage

Evolving prototypes on the web

via Work Matters

Bob Sutton uses Guy Kawasaki’s latest project, Truemors, as an illustration of the shift between the first dotcom boom where VCs opened up their wallets for a great idea in a Powerpoint, to today, where even the smallest team with an idea can launch an idea on the web to the masses. The big idea here is certainly real-time prototyping, done cheaply, and evolving quickly with user feedback online.

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Posted by: Justin Knecht

Why Apple is the best retailer in America

I remember the first time I walked into an Apple Store and my first impression was the amount of open space given to the products. This went against the grain of typical retail maximising every square foot. Apparently breaking the rules, or inventing them, has worked for Apple with astonishing sales of over $4000/square foot.

Apple Store Interior

However, it was Apple’s approach to designing the store that lead me to this post. They treated it like designing a product and prototyped an entire store before launching it and discovered some key insights before going to market.

“One of the best pieces of advice … was to go rent a warehouse and build a prototype of a store, and not, you know, just design it, go build 20 of them, then discover it didn’t work,” says Jobs. In other words, design it as you would a product. Apple Store Version 0.0 took shape in a warehouse near the Apple campus. “Ron and I had a store all designed,” says Jobs, when they were stopped by an insight: The computer was evolving from a simple productivity tool to a “hub” for video, photography, music, information, and so forth. The sale, then, was less about the machine than what you could do with it. But looking at their store, they winced. The hardware was laid out by product category – in other words, by how the company was organized internally, not by how a customer might actually want to buy things.”So we redesigned it,” he says. “And it cost us, I don’t know, six, nine months. But it was the right decision by a million miles.”

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Posted by: Justin Knecht

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