Innovation

Innovation

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6130-1.ch015

Abstract

This is the third chapter looking at the bigger picture of eAccessibility and inclusion technologies. In this chapter, issues dealing with innovation and how this can be boosted in the next years are discussed. More specifically, this chapter discusses how the organization of research and innovation can affect future innovation, how open innovation-led users, living labs, and DIY can have an impact on how innovative solutions are achieved in the future. It also discussed the effect of platforms in boosting innovation in specific areas give the recent lessons from mobile and how prizes and competitions can help even more in that direction. Finally, it looks into issues of business model innovation and emerging market models of innovation while also looking at how design plays a role and how new financing techniques such as crowdfunding can have an impact on future developments.
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Open Innovation, Lead Users, And Living Labs

Professor Eric Von Hippel of MIT is generally credited with being the first to observe that innovation is often driven by users who take what is already available and adapt it to their special more demanding needs, sometimes in radical and unexpected ways, to create innovative products that respond to the needs of new and unanticipated markets. He came up with key concepts such as the locus of innovation and the lead-user of an innovative new product or service. These insights have spurred efforts by both the public and private sector to systematically organize innovation and research activities around the activities of diverse sets of people, not all of whom are engineers or scientists in the traditional sense of the word, many of whom are basically users, and all of whose involvement in the innovation process is important for rapid progress.

An important new aspect of this approach is that most new products and services are available as parts of complex constantly changing systems, their use must smoothly integrate into living and working, and aspects of use such as access, price, payment and ease of adoption are not easily studied in the laboratory, but must be systematically observed in situ in the laboratory of life, in the real world with all its attendant complexity and frustrating imperfection.

Many scientists work on the development of systems for use in hospitals or clinical environments, for example giving access to patient records. A lot of research takes place in the confines of a traditional research lab, designed to protect secrets in industry or for teaching purposes in a university setting. It is very difficult from such a stand-point to appreciate the conditions under which technology must be used. The fact that there are in reality many different users, often not just individuals but groups, all with different needs and many different venues where the application must be available under a variety of conditions. It is only really through the intelligent observation of users in their place of work that a real understanding of the design challenge can emerge.

In the case of smart clothing, an area potentially close to that of e-access and-assistive technology, the traditional laboratory environment provides few opportunities to understand and explore how to reconcile the benefit of electronics embedded in clothing, potentially involving elements for power, sensing, networking and processing with the fact that clothes get changed, the mechanical stress on clothing is different for sleeping, working, walking, swimming, jogging, or relaxing in the evening, that these are different in summer and winter, that clothes need to be changed, washed and may be shared by colleagues, friends of members of the same family. The living laboratory is the venue for discovering all of these issues and understanding the impact on technologies and its design as well as likely modes of adoption.

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