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Posts in category 'Co-creation'

30 September 2010

Crowdsourcing: turning customers into creative directors

Threadless
Is turning your customers into both creative director and chief of research the ideal low-cost model for business? The BBC reports on the role of crowdsourcing in business:

“Not everyone is so sanguine about the benefits. Jaron Lanier is a US computer scientist, virtual reality pioneer, and author of You Are Not a Gadget. He made Time magazine’s 2010 list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

His concern is that by “mining” the crowd in this way, the wealth that results from the work done remains concentrated in the hands of the people who put out the call – ultimately endangering jobs and the economy. Lanier also believes that crowdsourcing threatens creativity. “

Read article

30 September 2010

What does the Internet of Things mean for UX people?

Design beyond the glowing rectangle
Last week, the Sixth European Information Architecture Summit took place in Paris, and all the presentations are already online. Here are a few that caught my attention:

Design Beyond the Glowing Rectangle: User experience design and research implications of the Internet of Things
Claire Rowland & Chris Browne, Fjord, UK
The key challenges we think UX designers will have to be prepared for, and some suggested ways to do things differently. Or, as Bruce Sterling said said, “It’s a good conceptual exercise to ponder “glowing screens” as a transitional technology. Just like “film” and the “boob tube.” What “film.” What “tube.” Where are they. We no longer have ‘em. We still talk about ‘em, but they don’t exist any more.

Beyond Co-Design: how open collaboration formats can enhance your design process
Johanna Kollmann & Franco Papeschi, Vodafone, UK

15 September 2010

Eric von Hippel and 2.9 million British innovators

Measuring user innovation in the UK
Ethan Zuckerman reports on yesterday’s Berkman Center lunch talk by Eric von Hippel, where he discussed what he called the “Household Sector” innovation.

Eric von Hippel, a long-time affiliate with the Berkman Center, leads off our 2010 season of lunch talks with a discussion of “Household Sector” innovation. To explain his body of work, von Hippel explains that he’s tried to bring thinking about the communications space into the world of physical things, examining how processes we think of as affecting digital media can also apply to other forms of innovation.

Today’s talk introduces a [UK] survey of innovation carried out by customers – there’s 2-3 times more innovation from consumers than there is from the industry. This counters our traditional thinking about innovation. We generally believe that manufacturers dominate innovation – users satisfy their own, personal needs, but manufacturers can spread costs across customers, allowing for innovation that serves wider audiences. As a result, our understanding of intellectual property tends to protect manufacturers, not users.”

Read article
Watch video

21 August 2010

Finland’s user-driven innovation policy

Finland innovation
The 2010 Finnish National Innovation Strategy contains an important section on demand and user-driven innovation, with user-driven innovation being described as:

“User-driven innovation makes use of information on customers, user communities and customer companies. It engages users as active participants in innovation activity. The key aspect of user-driven innovation is information on user needs, whether these needs are already identified, still hidden or potentially emerging. Information and communication technology in particular, offers various new opportunities and means of acquiring information on users and engaging them in innovation. The aim of user-driven innovation policy is to raise market actors’ awareness of new innovation tools. It also seeks to create a social infrastructure supporting user-driven innovation while removing obstacles to and boosting incentives for innovation activity.”

As part of the implementation of Finland’s national innovation strategy, the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy has outlined a policy framework laying down the key elements of a demand and user-driven innovation policy.

More info:
User-driven innovation policy
ICT and user-led innovations
Design as a user-driven innovation policy instrument
Demand and User-driven Innovation Policy – Framework (Part I) and Action Plan (Part II)

Downloads:
Framework and Action Plan (pdf)
Policy Framework presentation (pdf)
Action programme presentation (pdf)
New Nature of Innovation (pdf) – backgrounder

21 August 2010

Designing for the loss of control

Simpsons angry mob
The people at frogdesign have posted two long articles (the first one is really an essay) that we consider a recommended read:

Openness or how do you design for the loss of control?
Openness is the mega-trend for innovation in the 21st century, and it remains the topic du jour for businesses of all kinds. However, as several new books elaborate upon the concept from different perspectives, and a growing number of organizations have recently launched ambitious initiatives to expand the paradigm to other areas of business, Tim Leberecht thought it might be a good time to reframe “Open” from a design point of view.

100,000 Twitter followers and why it matters
@frogdesign passed the 100K Twitter mark recently. [...] Sometimes, [Sam Martin and his] marketing team are asked both inside and outside the company, “How are you doing this?” [They] even still get the question, “Why are you doing this?” They are necessary questions, and, of course, it’s not possible to point to one thing or effort or measurement when talking about either. Based on [their] experience over the past year, here are a few thoughts on the matter.

The following quote could also be the motto of this Putting People First blog: “Twitter is a reminder of the responsibility we have to be thoughtful curators of relevant news, trends, and debates, even when those debates involve our competitors.”

Great work, froggers!

23 July 2010

Taking co-production into the mainstream

Co-production
The conventional public services delivery model does not address underlying problems that lead many to rely on public services and thus carries the seeds of its own demise, argue David Boyle, Anna Coote, Chris Sherwood and Julia Slay in a new report by UK think-and-do-tank nef (the new economics foundation) and NESTA, the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.

These include, they argue, a tendency to disempower people who are supposed to benefit from services, to create waste by failing to recognise service users’ own strengths and assets, and to engender a culture of dependency that stimulates demand.

People’s needs are better met when they are involved in an equal and reciprocal relationship with professionals and others, working together to get things done. This is the underlying principle of co-production – a transformational approach to delivering services – whose time has now come.

Co-production has the potential to transform public services so that they are better positioned to address these problems and to meet urgent challenges such as public spending cuts, an ageing society, the increasing numbers of those with long-term health conditions and rising public expectations for personalised high quality services.

For over a year, nef and NESTA have been working together to grow a network of co-production practitioners. They have built a substantial body of knowledge about co-production that offers a powerful critique of the current model of public service delivery and a key to transforming it.

The discussion paper Right here, right now – Taking co-production into the mainstream (pdf) is the last of three reports ow is the right time to move co-production out of the margins and into the mainstream. The report provides the basis for a better understanding of how to make this happen.

The first report, The Challenge of Co-production, published in December 2009, explained what co-production is and why it offers the possibility of more effective and efficient public services.

The second report, Public Services Inside Out, published in April, described a co-production framework.

Read press release

20 July 2010

Social networking and public service provision

Lee Bryant
I very much enjoyed the reflection of Lee Bryant (Headshift), following the launch of the UK Government’s Big Society initiative.

In it, he argues that in the past, UK politics [and not just UK, I'd say] were dominated by two competing visions of the role of the state:

“One, on the left, saw state provision as the best way to ensure fairness and protect people form the vagaries of the market, and argued for increasing spending on public services. The other, on the right, saw state intervention as contrary to the liberty of its citizens and a poor substitute for market or community provision of services, arguing for a reduction in public spending and a rolling back of the state.”

“We badly need new ideas and new approaches,” he says, “especially since the gulf between rising demands on public services and available funding to meet them is growing ever wider.”

“More than anything, we need approaches that go with the grain of human behaviour and motivation, and which understand that society is comprised of inter-related complex systems, rather than reductionist management control methods.”

He then continues an in-depth discussion about the value of co-design and participation (supported by the PwC / IPPR paper ‘Capable Communities‘), social networks as tools, social networks as contexts, and the future new, socially-networked public services.

Read article

23 June 2010

The huge challenge of Nokia’s head of design and UX

Marko Ahtisaari
The acclaimed Italian journalist Luca De Biase recently interviewed Marko Ahtisaari (blogwikipedia), Senior Vice President, Design and User Experience of Nokia, for the Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

Here is what happened these last few weeks: A warning by Nokia on second-quarter sales and profits, a recent fall in the Nokia share price, yesterday’s news that Nokia runs a risk of being downgraded by S&P, and now the latest news that the iPhone is biting in Nokia’s European markets. But not all is bad: Nokia is making some gains in less expensive smartphones. Yet in all, this surely creates huge pressure on Marko, who was recently brought back to Nokia after careers at Blyk and Dopplr, to radically improve Nokia’s position in the high-end device market.

In view of this context, here is my translation of the story on Ahtisaari that was published in Italian:

Ahtisaari (Nokia): “My micro-sized social network”

Smart phones: After the blockbuster success of the iPhone, Nokia intends to write the sequel. Marko Ahtisaari, 41, was mandated to draft the screenplay. He first needs to to ask himself some basic questions: Who is the leader? The biggest or the most influential? Nokia or Apple?

Nokia’s new head of design knows that this is the key question making the rounds since about three years ago the charismatic Steve Jobs crossed the road which was once so securely in the hands of the Finnish phone giant. The question remains open, as Nokia continues to sell a dozen times more phones than Apple. But it only gains a fraction of the media attention. And of the market attention, as evidenced by the succession of iPhone imitations of the iPhone, launched by competitors. Peter Drucker once said: “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right thing.” Now Marko Ahtisaari plans to come up with a surprising answer: a giant can do the right thing. Ma deve ribaltare parecchie abitudini. But he has to overturn many old habits, because the issue is no longer to sell good products, but to regain the cultural leadership.

How? By changing the game. “I will have to tear down some dogmas,” says Ahtisaari, referring to the mobile phone world that now seems to only speak the language of Cupertino and Silicon Valley. “The leadership of Apple, Google, Facebook is American. We are a European company. And we have something to say.”

Yeah. But what? The challenge is immense: Apple has managed to redefine the mobile phone business, making it into a complex whole that builds on design quality, simplicity and number of functions, emotional contents, and usefulness of online services. Apple has brought its experience with internet-connected computers to the world of mobile devices, and started a whole new market of applications, often produced by small software houses all over the world, that provide the iPhone with a breadth of functions that no one company could ever design. Apple captured a central strategic position that has displaced the other handset manufacturers, has generated an earthquake in electronic commerce, and has even created problems for the operators.

Nokia has the opportunity to play on a much wider field than that of Apple: it can serve the end of the market that wants a good phone that is not too smart; can offer smartphones with all crucial functions at the lowest price on the market; but also has to play at the high-end of expensive and attractive smartphones like the iPhone. It is the high-end market where cultural leadership is defined.

So Ahtisaari spends half his time thinking about how to redefine the relationship between mobile phones and their users. “As I look at people in the restaurant, I see them bending over on their phones, no longer paying attention to the other diners. I think there is something to improve here. The experience offered by the current smartphone is “immersive”. It is persuasive technology, as BJ Fogg would have said. A phone that is controlled by touching the screen invites users to give all their attention to the device. “But for me it is more important that people can look each other into their eyes, and that the phone stays in its place.” It is a generous starting point for a designer: moving the products out of the way to leave the centre stage to people. “This is consistent with our identity: Nokia is not lifestyle. Nokia serves and facilitates communication between people. Now we have to bring this concept to a new level.”

Ahtisaari has all the fundamentals to move Nokia forward in the new millennium. His culture has been formed by a number of start-ups in the fast world of social networks. During the years when his father Martti worked with diplomatic patience in Kosovo, before being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Marko was CEO of Dopplr, a platform to share travel information. Now at Nokia he began by unifying the groups that deal with hardware and software design. And he works closely with the developers of online services, from Ovi – Nokia’s application platform – to the group that develops mapping services, which is in a bit of a refresh these days after having been taken from Yahoo!. He knows where to play his next game.

“Advertising-based social networks have to concentrate all attention on themselves and tend to confuse the boundaries between the private network of friends and public communication. They must grow, always gaining new users who themselves also have an increasing number of connections – as one can see with Facebook. “We [at Nokia] will always be on the side of small groups that communicate. We focus on the relationships that develop within the circle of trusted friends and neighbours. And we have to serve this small circle with a mosaic of services that do not intrude with people, by making their lives public. We will always be on the side of privacy even if this would slow down the growth of the service.”

In short, Ahtisaari’s project seems clear. A new approach for a number of emerging needs in a world that is increasingly hyperconnected and distracted by today’s smartphones. The implementation is still to be conceived. But already it is clear how right the questions are that Ahtisaari has raised and how potentially revolutionary the responses can be. Strong leadership has the effect that many will follow the guide. But it can have many causes: vision, credibility, power, authority, muscle, size, charisma. If in a few years time we will see less people bent over the displays, also Ahtisaari will walk tall.

Three stages

1. When everybody online knew everything about everybody
The premise. Privacy online? But it doesn’t exist, of course. The phrase is by Scott McNealy, then Sun’s head, and goes back some 10 years. It was a company vision and an ideological mantra. In the effort to reduce the world to a global village, the web knows down all obstacles in a euphoric pursuit of exchange. It is the zero level of the Internet, with sharing the banner word: everyone wants to know everything about everyone. Having to sacrifice a bit of privacy seems to be the least of problems. This approach finds its triumph in Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Born to trace the “classmates” who are out of sight, the social network soon became a must. You have to be there to be someone.

2. Facebook and Google run for cover
The rethinking. Google’s dizzying race turns into an obstacle course. Just a few days ago there were the Street View maps that show the faces of unsuspecting passengers. And they protest. The Mountain View giant decides to suspend the release of his new facial recognition software. It puts limits to Google Buzz, the new social network introduced to connect users directly to their most frequent Gmail contacts. Facebook decides to do the same. It is an attempt to staunch the decline of contacts and members. Social networks discover that privacy has value – not only philosophically, but also economically.

3. No secrets? Only for those who I say
The possible scenario. Social networks are shown for what they are: not a medium in which to cultivate “friendships”, but a house without doors and walls of glass. According to calculations made by SearchEngineLand, the number of active users is growing less and less quickly. Possibly because people have sensed this possible two path development: social networks that are restricted to few with a threshold of privacy tends to a minimum, and a broader use of the Web with fewer personal data ‘moving around’. This is the direction of the scenario drawn by Marko Ahtisaari: minimal social networks for “real” friends.

Disclosure: Experientia has worked with Marko in the past (while he was at Blyk), and we admire his competence, strategic insights and entrepreneurial approach. So good luck, Marko.

Also, you may want to check this article on the vision presented by Tero Ojanpera, Nokia’s Executive Vice President of Services, in London this morning.

17 June 2010

Collaborative consumption

TEDx Sydney
Rachel Botsman, co-author with Roo Rogers of the upcoming book “What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption”, was one of the speakers at TEDx Sydney, the conference which featured a selection of Australia’s leading visionaries and storytellers on May 22nd.

The book Collaborative Consumption describes the rapid explosion in traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping redefined through technology and peer communities.

From enormous marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist, to emerging sectors such as social lending (Zopa) and car sharing (Zipcar), Collaborative Consumption is disrupting outdated modes of business and reinventing not just what we consume but how we consume. New marketplaces such as Swaptree, Zilok, Bartercard, AirBnb, and thredUP are enabling “peer-to-peer” to become the default way people exchange—whether it’s unused space, goods, skills, money, or services — and sites like these are appearing everyday, all over the world.

In her talk she presents a strong case for 21st Century sharing.

Watch video

(This video can also be found on TEDx, a weird aggregator site containing thousands of TEDx videos, yet also featuring a very poor search engine and an “About Us” page that is beyond belief.)

15 June 2010

Improving patient safety by user-driven design

PSIP
In his talk “‘Improving patient safety by user-driven design of decision support” at the IIT Institute of Design, Christian Nøhr of Aalborg University described the ethnographic and participatory work conducted with doctors, nurses and patients in Denmark, as part of the PSIP European research project.

Christian Nøhr presents the participatory design games approach for Patient Safety through Intelligent Procedures (PSIP), a 5-country European Union project including Denmark. In this technology R & D project, the Danish team created video-ethnography documentation of interactions between doctors, nurses and patients regarding medication prescriptions and medication taking. Video clips were then used as material in design process in participatory workshops for rapid prototyping to support ‘collective intelligence’ for design of support for the complexity of medical work practices.

Christian Nøhr, M.Sc. Ph.D. Professor of health informatics and technology assessment at Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark. Director of he Virtual Centre for Health Informatics (V-CHI). Christian has worked with health care informatics for more than 25 years. His main research field is technology assessment and evaluation studies, organizational change, design and implementation of information systems in health care. He has been project manager of several national research projects, and participated in a number of European projects. He is currently a member of the E-health Observatory – an ongoing project, which monitors the development and implementation process of E-Health systems in Denmark.

Watch video [69:49]

11 June 2010

Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus

Cognitive Surplus
Clay Shirky’s second book, The Cognitive Surplus, “picks up where his stellar debut, Here Comes Everybody left off,” writes Cory Doctorow in his Boing Boing book review, “explaining how the net’s lowered costs for group activity allow us to be creative and even generous in ways that we never anticipated and haven’t yet fully taken account of.”

“Shirky’s hypothesis is that a lot of the 20th century stuff we used to take for granted — most people didn’t want to create media, people didn’t value homemade and amateur productions, no one would pitch in to create something for others to enjoy unless they were being paid — weren’t immutable laws of nature, but accidents of history. The Internet has undone those accidents, by making it possible for more people to make and do cool stuff, especially together.”

Read book review

8 June 2010

Rapid prototyping at UNICEF

UNICEF
On 10-11 May, UNICEF New York organised the Design Days, where they invited designers and engineers who have worked with UNICEF to discuss the organisation, the (rapid prototyping) design process, and recommendations for future design collaborations.

They have now produced a video that is a synopsis of the projects, themes and trouble-shooting expressed at the event.

“We have edited down a conversation between UNICEF sponsored rapid design prototypers to profile what they have created in order to respond to and alleviate actual needs of families and children. This video is intended to help make transparent the iterative process that development must undergo in order to create a new device that can respond to global concerns. Also touched on are ways for the organization to make the process of creating prototypes more streamlined, and to take what is developed and make it open source in order to create a sustainable and beneficial outcome to those that need it.”

Watch video

28 May 2010

Moving past user needs

IIT DRC
Tara Mullaney (and not Allan Chochinov as erroneously reported earlier) has published her reflections on IIT’s 2010 Design Research conference on Core77.

Although there were about 30 speakers, Mullaney focuses on the contributions by Donald Norman, Rick Robinson (Elab), Doug Look (AutoDesk), Tim Brown (IDEO), Martha Cotton (gravitytank), Heather Fraser (Rotman DesignWorks), Eric Wilmot (Wolff Olins), Kim Erwin (IIT’s Institute of Design), Usman Haque (Pachube), Kevin Starr (Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program), and Cathy Huang (China Bridge International).

“What has been and always will be true about Design Research is its consideration of people. The future lies not in ignoring needs, but in broadening our horizons. We need to think about more than just insights. We need to be collaborators and co-creators not only with the companies we are designing for, but also the communities and individuals we are researching. The increasingly elaborate tools available to us will enable these connections to happen in both traditional fieldwork and through digital interactions. The present calls for new business models where design researchers will function as the translators between society and industry.”

Read article

16 May 2010

Danah Boyd and the Facebook privacy discussion

Monopoly
Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd doesn’t need much introduction as her outspoken and well-developed analysis is frequently quoted on this blog. Two long articles — each with many comments — react to the current Facebook privacy discussion:

Facebook and “radical transparency” (a rant) (14 May)
The battle that is underway is not a battle over the future of privacy and publicity. It’s a battle over choice and informed consent. It’s unfolding because people are being duped, tricked, coerced, and confused into doing things where they don’t understand the consequences. Facebook keeps saying that it gives users choices, but that is completely unfair. It gives users the illusion of choice and hides the details away from them “for their own good.”

Facebook is a utility; utilities get regulated (15 May)
What’s next is how this emergent utility gets regulated. Cuz sadly, I doubt that anything else is going to stop them in their tracks. And I think that regulators know that.

16 May 2010

The trust economy: A world of P2P money-lending

P2P money lending
Wired UK has published a long article on P2P money-lending in its June issue:

The article devotes particular attention to Kiva.org, a San Francisco-based peer-to-peer (P2P) non-profit, which uses the principles of social networking to connect individual or group lenders to entrepreneurs via microfinance institutions (MFIs) around the world, and Zopa.com, a British matchmaker for borrowers and lenders.

“Just as eBay shook offline retail to its foundations, P2P lending models such as Kiva, though still marginal, threaten to disrupt high-street banking. Although the public’s faith in banks has been damaged and credit remains hard to come by, evidence suggests that a new trust-based economy is proving more efficient than traditional lending. [...]

If P2P finance has yet to prove scalable or profitable, it’s also true that, not so long ago, the same was said of other web ventures which went on to change the world.”

Read article

24 April 2010

Challenging the limits of open society

Anand Giridharadas
Anand Giridharadas is one of my favourite writers at the New York Times and this time his reflection on the merits of open societies is particularly thought provoking.

“A stunning idea has entered respectable American discourse of late: that China is not just an economic rival but also a political competitor, with a political system that, despite its own flaws, reveals grave flaws in American democracy and might be inspiring to wavering nations. [...]

The question the reappraisers seem to be asking is whether their belief in bottom-up, spontaneously ordering, self-regulating societies blinded them to other truths (as their enthusiasm for China risks blinding them to the cruelty and violence of autocracy). They are asking: Can openness go too far? Can public opinion be measured too frequently? Can free speech sow disorder? Is the crowd really smarter than the experts? Can transparency hamper governance?

Or, to put it in the terms of an influential 1997 essay, is the bazaar always better than the cathedral?”

Read article

22 April 2010

A new age of user-repaired devices

iFixit
iFixit launched today today a “global repair community” with the aim being user-level repairs of any device.

CrunchGear comments: “Such a project is well-timed; the relationship between user and manufacturer is becoming more one-sided. It doesn’t trouble you that the devices we use every day are so poorly documented, or constructed in such obscure ways, that one has to be an Apple-qualified technician or Dell customer service person to fix a simple problem? “

Read article

2 April 2010

Co-creation: not just another focus group

Twist
To launch Twist, a new men’s fragrance in its global Axe brand, Unilever turned to a preapproved crowd of eager young amateurs for help. Venessa Wong reports in Business Week.

“In July 2008, Unilever executives convened 16 regular young men and women from around the world at a meeting in New York. Why? To tap them for ideas for a new global fragrance for Axe, a brand of men’s body spray, antiperspirant, and shower gel. The company had previously experimented with consumer-driven product development for local launches, but never for one on such a large scale.”

Read article

> Related article

27 March 2010

Design for social innovation

CIDIC
Petz Scholtus reports in TreeHugger on presentations by Alastair Fuad-Luke, Gui Bonsiepe and Alfred Astort during the recent 1st International Congress of Design and Innovation of Catalonia (CIDIC) at the ESDi School of Design in Spain.

“Designers should get away from ego-design and concentrate on eco-design, or even better, on co-design as Alastair Fuad-Luke believes. Designer Gui Bonsiepe commented in his speech at ESDi School of Design in Spain last week that we need to amplify design from environmentally sustainable to socially sustainable. Can that be the way to post-crisis design? And, How do we balance industrial skills with the ability to work with other people?, is that Fuad-Luke asked. Bonsiepe stated that designers do not only need a sensibility to solve problems, but also to detect them.”

Read full story

18 March 2010

Creating new concepts, products and services with user driven innovation

Creating new concepts, products and services with user driven innovation
From the Nordic Innovation website:

User driven innovation is emerging as one of the successful ways of creating breakthrough innovations for companies and organisations.

In this project called “Create concept innovation with users“, a Nordic and Baltic consortium lead by FORA has been able to identify four generic methods of working with user driven innovation:
– user test,
– user exploration,
– user innovation, and
– user participation.

Even though these methods might vary slightly from one company to the other, they have some basic features which are common. When working with users, companies might choose to include the users either directly or indirectly in the innovation process, depending on what type of knowledge the company wants to obtain from the user. Users’ ability to communicate and express their problems and needs varies greatly and will also influence the user driven innovation method chosen by a company. Sometimes users are fully aware of what problems they face and which needs they experience, while in other cases they will not be able to communicate or articulate what they are experiencing.

Based on this framework, the project members interviewed companies in the Nordic and Baltic countries about how they work with user driven innovation, what innovation outcomes they achieved and how satisfied they were with the processes during the project. Furthermore the project members wanted to get an understanding of whether there were any differences among the Nordic and Baltic countries regarding the methods they used by mapping the user driven innovation activity among companies and organisations.

Download report