A Controlled Democratic Design Process Gets Every Cubical Involved

I recently read a really insightful interview with the members of the Griffin product development group on how they go about creating their wonderful accessories for the iPhone and iPod. One comment, in particular, struck a chord:

How does the process begin?
TC: Regardless of where the idea originates, the front end of the process is wide open; any one at Griffin can pitch a new product idea by writing up a one-page concept summary and presenting it to the team in a weekly product development meeting. That group bats it around, beats it up and decides whether it has enough potential to warrant further exploration.
TC: A great product idea can come from anywhere. We all use and love the technologies that we build products to support, so sometimes we’re just creating solutions that let us use our iPods and iPhones to do the things that we want to do. We also interact constantly with our customers to learn about their needs and pain points. Other times, we find an exciting technology and come up with unique, innovative ways to apply it to create solutions.

I was really happy to see that this manner of generating ideas during their product development process was something that I also suggested in my post “Innovation is Everyone’s Responsibility“.
Another way to look at it is to consider this as a “Controlled Democratic Design Process”. While a true Democratic Design process engages the masses with Crowd-Sourcing, in this case you only cast your net only as far as the members of your organization.
As a result, rather than a free for all “shotgun” approach of ideas from Crowd Sourcing, engaging your non product development colleagues can get you a more controlled but fresh perspective of ideas that are based on their view of your business.
Via: Steve Portigal’s blog.

1 Comment
  • Ingo

    May 28, 2009 at 7:34 pm Reply

    Nice to read about it here es well. I’m just about to finish “The Game Changer” by AG Lafley & Ram Charan. In the book the describe a similar process. One where people within the company can propose/develop an idea and they have something like an internal venture capital department and a process to evaluate these ideas and bring them to life. They also mention other companies with similar approaches such as HP.
    The book shows how cross department teamwork can work and how development might benefit from it. It’s nice to see that at least some companies have those possibilities in place.

Post a Comment