The Radical Piece in the R&D Puzzle

As stated in the previous blog, with the possible second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, business management can no longer afford to play in the same way as in the first wave. Business must resume for companies to be able to survive in the future. Short-term adjustments are a must – but how to do it without sacrificing the long-term strategic approach?

In a time of crisis, there is an overwhelming temptation to fall back to iterative, in-house product development. In it, the R&D process focuses primarily on technology development, and secondarily on finding suitable applications for the technology and for improving its user experience. Industrial designers’ efforts are focused on making the final products aesthetic, usable, and desirable.

But there is a built-in flaw in the traditional R&D process. It fails in generating radical and disruptive innovations which challenge familiar operating models.

At ED Design, we have created a method for putting the innovation factor into R&D. Our solution is the Design Puzzle, an internationally scalable toolkit. The Design Puzzle reverses the traditional product development process. The method systematically examines the goals, needs and aspirations of the products’ and services’ users, identifies innovation opportunities based on them, and develops novel and disruptive solutions. The method is user-centric and inclusive – and can be run fully remotely.

The Design Puzzle process consists of the following steps –

  1. Exploration. Discovering what is already known. (Duration 2-5 days)
  2. Design Puzzle Workshop. An expert-led co-design workshop that systematically identifies users’ goals and needs, identifies innovation opportunities, and develops preliminary ideas. The co-creative workshop taps into knowledge and insights from both company’s own specialists as well as representatives of the intended user groups. (Duration 0.5-2 days)
  3. Conceptualization. Creation of 1-3 holistic, innovative product/service concepts. The concepts can be used to assess their business potential and as a well-defined starting point for developing products and services. (Duration 1-2 weeks)
  4. Product development and design work.

The Design Puzzle method is fast and efficient. It does not require long-term or financially heavy commitment.

The Design Puzzle is a modular toolkit. At its lightest, only steps 1-3 above are included. At its most comprehensive, the process is started with a user study (which can be conducted remotely and internationally) and continues with ED Design’s Total R&D offering  – from first idea to design, engineering and manufacturing.

The Design Puzzle is an adaptive and scalable solution that can be customized for different needs. It is not about reinventing the wheel – it is about creating radical and disruptive products and services that change the future.

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