Bringing Clear Vision to 1 Billion People

Dave Volger has a great post over at Fuel Your Product Design about AdSpecs.  They’re glasses that allow you to adjust to your own prescription and lock them down permanently once you get it right.

More than half the people in the developed world use some kind of vision correction.  Glasses.  Contacts. Surgery.

We can see.  We can be productive.  We enjoy life.

Generally, glasses aren’t particularly expensive–unless you go for something really special.  But, just to get a clearer view of the world isn’t prohibitively expensive.

In the developing world, the problem isn’t so much the glasses–although the cost is great.  It’s also a startling lack of optometrists (sometimes one for well over a million people) who can figure out what correction you need to even order the glasses.

Josh Silver, saw this problem and postulated that glasses people could adjust for themselves would eliminate the need for a medical professional and bring glasses to millions that would previous just had to live with bad vision.

Here’s Josh Silver’s talk on the idea.  He’s created a foundation called Centre for Vision in the Developing World to help make his vision of bringing clearer visions to one billion people happen.

It’s a great example of an elegant solution to a problem.  Many would think the solution would be more optometrists, cheaper glasses or some other more straightforward, resource-driven solution.

Instead, Silver found a new way to deliver what people really needed, clear vision, in a way that they can do for themselves.

The Role of Storytelling in Innovation, Part 4: Putting on a Production

If customers seek great experiences, how do you deliver?  You can’t just limit yourself to thinking about the physical product, the piece of software or the service you’re trying sell.  You have to consider the whole experience.  It’s more than commerce; it is an encounter with your company.  From your side that encounter can be like a telling a story or putting on a play.  You assist in the creation of an experience that will be the basis for their opinion about your company and your product.

We’ve talked about how you can use the idea of storytelling to better understand your audience and to make it easier for your team to create products and services that your customers will actually want.

(Previously: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

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The Role of Storytelling in Innovation: Part 2

Observing isn’t enough.  Anyone can just sit and watch a story unfold.

With innovation, we must actively tell the story.

In part 1, we discussed getting the story of the customer by being a sort of armchair  anthropologist. A few weeks ago we introduced the idea of context.  Now it’s time to get beyond the theory and talk about what we should actually do with all of those observations.

We’ve got to move from passively observing the customer’s story to actively telling it.

(Rest of the series: Part 1, Part 3Part 4)

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Making Magic: Is There a Trick to Really Good Innovation?

As a designer, I frequently deconstruct products in my mind.  Why this particular material or manufacturing process? Why this color? Did they do studies to decide how big or small it should be? How much time did they spend actually studying the end user?

As a designer, it’s also necessary to shut some of this off and stop looking behind the curtain from time to time.

I don’t always care how the products and services I use create the experience I have with them. I’m more concerned about how well they actually deliver. Continue reading

Rapid Prototyping for Faster Innovation

We talk a lot about prototypes in innovation–rapid prototyping, experience prototyping, visual prototypes, and many others. But the more meaningful conversation revolves around how we actually use those prototypes as a learning tool to quickly get information.

We often create a ‘primitive form’ of something, just to get it out of our heads and actually “experience” it. Bringing an idea or sketch into the three dimensional world changes it. The key is to find out how it changes and to do so sooner rather than later.

You can prototype just about anything. In most cases, you can make a first attempt at a product using whatever you have laying around. At Bright Innovation, we have a giant trunk of LEGOs that has really come in handy when we’re working on ideas. Creating something you can tear down and recreate in seconds is powerful not to mention fun. Continue reading

All Product Ecosystems Aren’t Created Equal

How do people relate to your products? Think for a second beyond their intended purpose. After all, it’s always more than just “listening” to music or “arriving” at a destination or “hammering” nails.  Those are just tasks.  And tasks are only a part of the overall experience people are having with your products.

Do they love the experience?  Does the product help them fulfill a need or solve a problem?  Are they actually getting the experience they envisioned?

A product doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

How do people buy it? How do they learn to use it?  Is it flexible enough to work for a variety of users at a variety of stages of expertise?  Will a beginner sing its praises and an expert roll their eyes, or do both feel great about their purchase–the novice with how easy it was to adapt to and the expert with how it grew with them? Continue reading