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.