Rachel Jones of Instrata reflects on the recent “People-Inspired Innovation” conference organised by Chimera* at Adastral Park, Ipswich, UK.

When she was last year part of the DTI mission to the west coast of the US (see earlier post), she focussed on the integration of user research in the innovation and design process and looked at such companies as the BMW DesignWorks innovation group and Intel‘s research in China.

At the “People-Inspired Inovation” conference there were several new examples, including the smart mailer for SME’s that Pitney Bowes developed through user research, and BBC Creative R&D broadening innovation in a similar vein to Flikr by opening up data assets, providing tools and cultivating communities.

* Chimera is a spin-off of the University of Essex that combines the social and technological sciences to generate insights into personal and social use of information and communication technologies by understanding people; what they do, how they do it, and how this changes over time. They believe that only by doing this can we design and build successful products and services or accurately inform corporate strategies and public policies.

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