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IBM Total User Experience Innovation

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Check out the July 22nd BusinessWeek: Innovation of the Week podcast:

  • R&D: The D Is for Design. "How research and development must change. Monty Montague, a principal at innovation consultancy Bolt, discusses how incorporating design into traditional R and D departments has led to major innovations at companies ranging from IBM to Herman Miller."

The basic question: "What is the relationship between research and innovation?" A few overall notes:

  • Innovation defined as "invention that gets out in the world" (debatable: "and provides value")
  • Do demand-driven research, not supply-driven (e.g., "outside-in" not "inside-out" which is the more traditional way)
  • Colt 45s and individualized blender examples
  • Key is "making connections" with the outside (customers, users, other industries)
  • The "D" is becoming more than just "development", including "design" (and design thinking)
  • Product, service and process innovation (not just products)

At about 6 and a half minutes into the interview. Monty starts talking about IBM. I may have transcribed some of the words wrong, but here is the basic quote:

Total user experience is how IBM has, not only through research and through revamping of their business model, developed innovative products, but they are innovating the user experience. And that is part of what R&D needs to do today. It needs to not consider itself a "product R&D group," but an "experience R&D group." And look at not only the development of the product, but the development of the user guide for the product, the service center for the product, the call center, the people calling to get information about the product, the selling environment in which the product is sold. All of those are touchpoints for the consumer that are as important as the product and the R&D team can be the facilitator of the innovation around all of those. And IBM has done that.

He does not mention specific examples or sources, but it is a very nice thing to say about IBM.

Since Monty seems like such a smart guy, I did a little searching for other things he has written. I only found a few: