Eric Lars Holmquist -Grounded Innovation: How Do We Invent The Future and How Do We Make it Useful?

Erik Lars Holmquist

I attended a lecture on Monday 19th February 2018 by Professor Eric Lars Holmquist (Professor of Innovation).

Professor Holmquist reflected on his past projects and talked about the best ways to produce useful research results. He presented the notion of “grounded innovation” as a strategy for creating new digital products.

The presentation began talking about the ‘Bubble Badge’ a concept he developed in 1998 that prototyped a wearable digital pin badge that was a digital screen. The user could control or program by an external device the information or picture they wished to display and then it could match their fashion sense or beliefs for however long they wished. Holmquist then went onto outline the ‘Drucker’s 5 principle steps of innovation’. 1) searching for opportunity 2) Analysis 3) Listen 4) Focus 5) Leadership. He talked about how the standard innovative product could take up to 20 years for a company to  take from concept to final product design and prove its viability in a market opportunity. A key example being touch screen actually invented n 1984 but only truly came into effect – reached the ‘slope of enlightenment’ by companies like Apple in the late 21st century.

He then reverted back to his ‘Bubble Badge’ concept and how in this current day on Kickstarter a similar product is receiving large levels of funding entitled ‘Pins Collective‘ .

The learning point here is that with time and the development of technology it takes innovative minds or the appropriate business approach for a concept to be viable. Its also about the right way to market. Something being designed to appear futuristic now or consider technology in a more compact fashion that could appear far away, could soon come into possibility in the near future with the development of manufacturing technologies. It is interesting how the pin and technology inside is very similar to that of the wearable laser scan device I am designing. Although not incorporating the laser scanning tech in the pin, my monitoring device could be very similar in size, just as compact and visual in appearance.

A very interesting lecture that motivates an innovative perspective for design.