Interdisciplinary Innovation

Course reflection

Together with three others, I worked on a new concept for the topic of shape change and haptics. The initial concept we came up with was a haptic controller for a microwave that would be easy to use by visually impaired users. During the course, we changed the concept to a haptic smart home controller that brings tangible interaction into IoT. The new concept fits the technology better and has a bigger market as it can be used by all sorts of users, not just the visually impaired.

Learning goals

One of my goals for this course was to get a better understanding of the value proposition and the business model canvas. During the course, we made a number of value propositions and filled in the business model canvas a number of times.
Making the value propositions is something we usually did as a group. We looked at the unique features that our concept had to offer and to whom. Based on that we would draft the value proposition. When making the business model we started with the value proposition that we made earlier and would work our way through the canvas step by step.
This course has given me a lot more experience with making a value proposition and coming up with a good business model. I am confident that I can make a value proposition and business model when I need to in the future. I am planning to further develop on the skills learned in this course in the future. I want to familiarize myself with the Lean Start-Up Method as I feel it is a great addition to the value proposition and business model canvas. All this knowledge might already come into practice during my internship to show people the value of recycling materials.

The Design

Based on the value proposition and business model from our first concept came the design concept we presented during the final presentation and on the Kickstarter page. This concept was born from the previous one and improved on it in a number of ways. The new concept had a bigger target audience and could provide value to a number of people for different reasons. The design was less complex than the first concept making it easier and cheaper to manufacture and thus more viable.

By changing the concept from a haptic interface for the visually impaired to a haptic smart home controller we greatly broadened the scope and possible impact of the design. This was also in the feedback we got based on the first design concept. The initial concept had a very small target group even though the idea behind the concept would be useful to a much broader audience and could be used in a lot more situations.
The feedback we got on the final design had mostly to do with the physical appearance of the prototype and the interaction. Users loved the squishy ball on to of the prototype. It is nice to fidget with and invites to interact. Once people touched the prototype they would immediately start pressing and squishing it, showing us that the interaction was natural.

Teamwork

I feel that we worked well as a group and we all contributed to the result in equal measures. We did a lot of the work together as a group and could build well on each other’s expertise and skill. Two members of the group are Industrial Design students and the other two are software science students. This made for a team with a wide range of skills and that has definitely contributed to the success of the project. I think that we actually have the skill to further develop our concept to make it a reality although that is completely outside the scope of this course.