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Innovating for emerging markets: Confluence of user, design, business and technology research

Prabhu, Girish; Frohlich, David M.

External - Copyright Consideration

Keyword(s): user centered design; new business opportunity development; contextual invention

Abstract: This paper describes a new research methodology, which brings together ethnographic, business, design and technical research in a focused way. The aim is to do this in a principled user-centered way, by using a deep understanding of user and cultural needs to drive design ideas, business modeling and technological investigations. This approach can be seen as an extension of Contextual Design in which social and cultural factors are considered in the deployment of an existing technology. We call this approach Contextual Invention, a process of using ethnographic data to generate new technology and business ideas in an interdisciplinary team. To develop and test this new approach, HP Labs India initiated a project towards understanding user needs and deriving concepts, at the same time providing sustainable business models for the end customer. Techniques used in the study include the collection of inspirational materials, the explicit discussion of new product concepts, the feed-forward of new concept ideas, and the circulation of user need and concept sheets. The project was successful in creating business opportunities and design concepts that were at the intersection of user needs, design, business models and technology feasibility. Notes: David M. Frohlich, Digital World Research Centre, School of Human Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK

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