Creating innovations that inspire
Helbling Innovation Blog
“From a user research perspective, innovation is always something an end user says they want – without even knowing they wanted it beforehand,” says Sandra Bischof, who has been a senior user researcher in the ideation team at Helbling Technik for two years. And it is precisely these user wishes and needs that user research needs to understand in order to develop viable innovations.
At Helbling Ideation, innovations are developed in interdisciplinary teams of experienced engineers, designers, and user researchers. Sandra provides support on projects from start to finish and plays a critical role in the design thinking process, especially at the beginning where it’s important to observe and understand users’ needs. To find out their motives actually are, Sandra uses different methods depending on the initial situation. People are very good at knowing what they’d like to have. But their ideas are based on their experiences and what they already know, and this block them from thinking in new ways, i.e. outside of the box.
So it’s important to approach people methodically and ask them the right questions to understand their background and motives. This is demanding work as you always have to switch off your personal filter and not make any of your own assumptions. “Time and time again, we find out things we never expected. And these are key moments for me every time.”
The knowledge Sandra gains from the users’ needs analysis is used as a springboard for the actual generation of ideas. She also provides support for the innovation projects during this phase and later on when the prototypes are validated. She always represents end users’ concerns and brings her outside perspective to the table, just as each team member brings their own perspective. The outcome is in mature complex solutions that meet customer needs and are technically feasible and economical.
Sandra is of the firm conviction that good innovations can only achieve a breakthrough if they inspire. “Only the end user can judge whether this is the case. That’s why we always focus on people and their needs and why it’s so important to get to the bottom of finding out what their motives are before we start generating ideas.”
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