Ingredients for innovation

How can you translate the unpredictable, abstract and complex attributes of a innovation process into tools and guidelines, in such a way that entrepreneurs in emerging markets can use them to create new products and services?

Over the past months STBY worked with the Inclusive Business Accelerator on a toolkit for Inclusive Innovation in Base of the Pyramid markets. The Inclusive Business Accelerator (IBA) is a partnership between several NGOs, such as BoPInc, SNV and VC4Africa.

There is no recipe for innovation, but there are certain ingredients that can help make your activities more effective. The Inclusive Innovation toolkit captures the experience, insights and methods of practitioners in emerging markets. It contains tools for market assessment, human centered design, rapid prototyping and crowd-funding, that can be used as ingredients for innovation processes. In addition it highlights real life case studies where the tools and principles have been applied, like in the development of biofuel briquettes (see image).

This toolkit forms the basis for the training of local business consultants who will support SMEs in Bottom of the Pyramid markets to innovate their business offering and operations. The toolkit will be launched and used in IBA trainings as of this spring.

In this project STBY had the pleasure to collaborate with a great team of professionals. Several partners from the IBA consortium brought in their expertise, in the form of proven and tested tools that had been adapted to the specific context. In other cases we co-created new tools from scratch, based on shared experience, and tips and tricks. The STBY team, including our associated editor Jim Boekbinder and design intern Ylja van Miltenburg, successfully took up the challenge to bring this all together into a comprehensive, visual and engaging result.

Rigorous documentation: A research superpower

When research activities get going in earnest, a lot is produced. If treated too casually, the mass of audio files and transcripts, flip-overs and mini-posters full of post-its, photos, interview notes and feedback mails can quickly turn into a massive hairball that no-one can unpick.

Where do people fit into the Internet of Things?

There are now more things connected to the internet than the number of people in the world. Many of these devices are inside our home, from Bluetooth speakers to smart coffee machines and fridges. In the future, even our plates and curtains might be hooked up to the internet. The house will then resemble a lab, in which we are the studied subjects. How much alcohol do we drink? How often do we wash our hair, or cut our nails? Are we snacking more than usual? Spending longer in front of the mirror? Maybe the homes of the future will know.

Imagining More Walkable Cities

What does ‘walkability’ mean? Exploring more walkable cities could help us envision streets that can be used and enjoyed by everyone. Much…

What Design Can Do For The Climate

How can designers tackle a problem as complex as climate change? That was the question we were faced with when we partnered with What Design Can Do…

Lead… and let go

In our projects we often help clients to innovate by doing design research together. This usually includes qualitative research and co-creation…

Pushing the Boundaries

The following is an excerpt from our forthcoming publication Viewfinders: Thoughts on Visual Design Research (2016).

Visual design research…