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James Bender on Framing September 24, 2009

Posted by James Bender in Side Interests.

“Framing is, perhaps, the most difficult of the tasks in the innovation process. It requires taking in a lot of data, and making sense of that data.” This idea stuck with me. When I think of innovation, I believe many people just skip this step. They consider what exists, and try to tweak existing systems, structures, or products to better serve the end. However, in my mind, that’s not really innovation. My goal in this class is to be able to dissect challenges to the point where the heart of the matter is revealed: “the true challenge is?” Perhaps a new car bridge is not the answer. Perhaps placing my washer and dryer near the dirty clothes bin is the correct answer. Perhaps communicating via RF devices will not be as Orwellian as originally conceived. Framing is the step that allows a designer to truly understand the root of a challenge.

Finding the right framework, dissecting, and then taking time to think about the root of the problem are the most important takeaways here. Lastly, understanding the process potentially makes the path to the end goal less painful, but does not guarantee success.



1. Sara Beckman - November 28, 2009

Framing is indeed a step that many organizations seem to skip – dealing with the abstract question of “why” someone does something or wants something. And yet, that insight into “why” often leads to much more long-lasting and meaningful solutions.

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