7 – reflections on methods

In this section, you can critically reflect on what you’ve read so far and embed this within your own experience and knowledge.

see page 77 of BDI.

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  1. G3

    Our overall thoughts on the Brand driven Innovation method is that it is presented well and there is a clear thought process behind the method. Also, the literature review in Chapters 1 and 2 indicate that the BDI method is well founded and that it was formulated by experienced practitioners.

    However, during our discussion several criticisms are raised. The first is that, ‘at a glance’ the method does not provide much information or structure for the reader to use. This may deter the application of the method for a human-centered branding project. Additionally, we agree that; since the method takes a year to complete, little competitive advantage may be gained by the brand as the market environment would have shifted and developed within the year. The brand may merely stay in the same position relative to the competition.

    Finally, and most importantly, the connection between the method and a brand evolving to a human-centered brand is unclear. What is clear is that the process of the BDI method is purely ‘user research’. However, BDI method detaches this from a singular product/service project and applies it to the brand as a whole.

    Oct 17, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

  2. Paradox 20

    In general the process is clear. The structure makes sense and the order is logical.
    The input of specialists and the cases underline that the 4 phases flow naturally from the preceding theory. During our discussion we found that the process really depends on the brand or company itself. There is a major difference between an FMCG company that sells a large number of brands instead of a one-brand company with large focus on the product itself.
    FMCG companies are very focused on the brand identity and the brand image. Massive marketing communication is essential to be successful in the business.
    The brand is leading and the brand driven innovation process is a useful process to innovate the products in line with the brand. However quick movements always takes place in this business. So when the brand driven innovation process takes to much time it could happen that changing market environments overtakes the strategy.
    Companies that are much more focused on the product itself will go through the process complete different than a FMCG company. For instance the big green egg company delivers superior quality barbecues. Their brand is built on the product itself: the big green egg. Innovations had to fit the product portfolio and thus fit the brand. Design and quality is leading for this brand. In our opinion this is a quite different approach than in the FMCG case. In this case product users will become brand ambassadors. The product quality is essential to be successful in this business.
    There are a lot different ways of innovating thus the situation of the company; their portfolio, brands and products should be leading in adapting the best innovation approach. For example sometimes it could be necessary to shorten the approach in case of the FMCG brand to prevent be overtaken by changing market conditions.

    Oct 18, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

  3. Team EFCOM

    We think that the phases of BDI do not flow naturally from the first 2 chapters but they make sense. The relevance of innovation and design were already explained before and now they are involved in a method. The first two chapters were a discussion about the context where the BDI method is applied. Probably for someone from a different background it is more difficult to understand the innovation idea and the need for design in a brand, so in this case the 2 first chapters are very useful.
    The human centred branding is more related to the brand and its perception by all the stakeholders. That’s why the stakeholders are so important for the BDI. In BDI the steps are not in a timeline because they are interrelated and this is clearly depicted in the graph of the method.
    For us it is difficult to find ourselves in a specific role in this method, since we are not professionals at this point. We have some examples of using methods literally during our studies because of assignments which were forcing us to use a method, even though another method could possibly be easier or more effective for us. In professional practice though, it is nice to be aware of the methods and of course be flexible to modify them according to each different context.

    Oct 20, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

  4. 6MINUS1

    Governments as brands?

    [img]http://www.branddriveninnovation.com/wp-content/Government NL.jpg[/img]

    Governments are becoming less powerful and have less money to spend. Simultaneously, society demands more and more from them. In a TED talk, David Cameron poses the question how governments can improve under these conditions and can be of better service to their people.
    He suggest to think about success not only in terms of money, but also in terms of all things that lead up to well-being, such as: friendship, environment, values, fulfilling work, etc. He also dives in the ideas of behavioral economics (use social, cognitive and emotional factors to understand economic decisions) and thinks about how this can lead to smarter policy. By thinking of national success in a broader sense than just financial and economic performance, he invites design thinking into the arena of policy-making.

    David Cameron is in line with Tim Jackson’s ideas in his book “Prosperity without growth”. Coming from an economic background, Tim Jackson suggests measuring prosperity and success by more than only quantitative data, such as GDP or growth percentages. He looks at opportunities for achieving a lasting prosperity in terms of relationships, meaning, values, etc.

    I believe that most of the elements in the BDI method can be used for the development of nations in terms of:

    – creating a shared understanding of the values that drive nations and aligning society towards a common purpose(human-centered brand).

    – envisioning a future of lasting prosperity and finding focus points for directions that enable that future(innovation strategy).

    – bringing to life the future by making concrete plans (design strategy).

    – aligning these efforts and making them visible to the public (touchpoint orchestration).

    It is obvious that the BDI methodology needs some adjustment and fine-tuning to gain maximum leverage from its ideas, but the application of the method on the level of national (and perhaps international) policy may be interesting and promising.

    Maybe, the core message of brand-driven innovation can be used transform our societies towards a more meaningful, prosperous (from a wider point of view than just money and growth) and sustainable future.

    Definitely, design thinkers can play a role in facilitating this transformation.

    Oct 24, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

  5. GROUP 18

    We as a team do not agree that the BDI method flow naturally from the first two chapters. This does not necessarily imply that the method cannot be suitable for the theory of chapters 1 and 2, but the method really needs the explanation given in chapters 4 to 6. This is generally caused by the fact that the steps within the model include terms that are not included in the first two chapters, such as ‘touch point orchestration’. We do stress the fact that the first two chapters give great insights and urge the need for the BDI model.

    Moreover some issues on the input of the model are not clear. A first glance on the model leads to the interpretation that this model is a closed cyclical loop, suggesting no external input. The model merely shows that the previous phase will be the input for the upcoming phase, which is only partially true. The model is not showing the moments where external input is desired for the model.

    The model gets a little bit too blunt when going from step 4 to step 1 (Model at page 72). According to our team, the model should somehow show the implications of one cycle towards the market- and company environment. The model suggests that you go directly from step 4 to step 1, with 4 as an input for 1. We urge the fact that the results of step 4 will change the market and company and will therefore not directly serve as an input for a new cycle.

    As mentioned by other posts on this blog, we also stress the applicability of the model on every company. The method would need some major adjustments in order make it work for every company, but Roscam Abbing neatly points this out himself, unlike many other innovation methods. We appreciate the humbleness of the author and like the fact that he puts the BDI method as a real method (not the absolute truth).

    On page 74, Roscam Abbing states that ‘If brand usability is low, an organization should first work on its brand before using it as a driver for innovation’. We argue whether an organization with low brand usability has the ability to make itself innovative, since they have a traditional mindset. This means they need to intrinsically change to a brand usable to innovation without knowing what innovation stands for within the company. We think external help of a consultancy is much more effective to create a transition away from the ‘opportunity-driven innovation’ segment from the table of page 75.

    We are also interested in the way the BDI model could be used at FCMG brands holding a lot of subbrands, such as Unilever or Henkel. Are brands like Unilever and Henkel considered separate brands unconnected to the subbrands, or do they also influence the subbrands? And how is this then considered within the BDI model?

    Oct 25, 2011 @ 11:46 pm

  6. Group 11

    Reflection on methods

    Regarding the prior chapters, the first three steps are logical and easy to understand and follow from the theories. Nevertheless, the fourth stage, orchestrating touch points should in our opinion be considered earlier in the process; it seems to be something that should not be discussed at the end only. Those touch points will be created while building a brand, developing your strategy and designing, but not at the end of all of this. However, it is good to have a last step as a checklist that provides all of the touch points with harmony.

    As a designer, we can easily picture the contents of four phases. For example, for the first phase, a number of internal and external people should be gathered to make a one big team. A brand is not created by a small number of people, so we need as many people from various kinds of background as possible. With an interdisciplinary team, more issues will be addressed from different points of view.

    Scrutiny is needed to apply those in more proper situation since each innovation process is different in terms of context and complexity. Furthermore, in the beginning of the process, we cannot guarantee that the result of the innovation will be totally positive. So careful research is needed to increase the chances of succeeding. In addition, using the method in a flexible way is important. If you stick too much to the method, you have small chances of getting a creative result. Therefore, it is important to use the method relying on your own specific situation and context.

    Oct 26, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

  7. Group 15

    We feel that the four phases presented here flow naturally because that was how they were presented in the preceding theory: from branding to innovation, design and lastly connection between these. It went from being one big process into four elements (four smaller processes). What also makes this flow naturally and logically is how the four phases belongs to different abstraction levels; branding as the most abstract level and finishing with touchpoint orchestration as the most concrete level.

    What we have learnt is that to be successful in the brand-driven innovation process, it is important for the organisation to involve as many people (stakeholders, co-workers etc.) as possible. Thus, we could imagine ourselves playing a role in all of the four phases, as long as the organisation lets us to get involved.

    Though, sometimes even if the opportunity to play a role in the phases is available, co-workers might not want to get involved because of lack of motivation, maybe because their work doesn’t motivate them. But after discussing about this, we concluded that if one wants a motivating working experience, one has to put some effort and make a change. Getting involved in the four stages of BDI is a great way to make a better working experience!

    The critical reflections on methods presented have been proved to be useful, since they show that different methods are useful in specific situations, even the BDI-method! It’s also interesting to know when to use the method and when it can be misused. An example of a method that can be misused is the Harris profile (or other similar methods and matrices) used for evaluating and eliminating concepts. This method is a systematic way to evaluate the concepts, comparing them to criteria. But it is also a very subjective method since it is the decision-maker him- or herself decides on what criteria to include and how to score the concepts regarding how they fulfil the criteria.

    Many designers have already choosing a concept for themselves, he/she then choose criteria and scores that benefit the wanted concept. The chart is then presented and used for explaining their choice of concept to stakeholders. They use it not because the method helps them make the actual choice of concept, but because it has the ability to convince other stakeholders to accept the concept.

    Oct 26, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  8. leCON7

    The brand-driven innovation method, which is presented in this chapter, follows the theory presented in the first chapters of the book. However, opportunities for firms with a low brand usability or with a low innovation potential are excluded from this model. Adding the options for these firms within the model makes it applicable for a larger audience. In addition, the BDI model can be seen as an generalized model which combines the principles of ‘technology push’ and ‘market pull’, business principles which are still being used. Through the addition of the user/context driven innovation (related to market pull) and innovation driven branding (related to technology push) the model is less closed and open for companies which increase their brand usability or their innovation potential, see the figure.

    Oct 27, 2011 @ 10:10 am

  9. Group 12

    We as a group think the BDI-model is very complete. For its purpose, innovating with a brand and design as guidance, the four stages of the model are presented clearly and efficient (we can’t figure out why the arrows aren’t placed in an eternal direction, though). We agree with most groups above that the structure and the process is very clear.
    However, we do not agree with group G3 where they say this method has little competitive advantage. They say that if the method takes a year to complete, and the market environment has changed in that year, the brand stays in the same positions as its competitors. We think, because designers have the ability to shift modes of thinking and follow iterative loops, this change in market environment is taken into consideration during the year of the method. Also it is about thinking ahead, thinking what the market will look like in five years or so. In this way the shifts in market environment needs only small adjustment during the first year.
    We like the graph that ‘The Twentyones’ made. It shows the purpose of all four stages and its main input, design thinking.
    We can definitely see ourselves playing a role in every stage. There are all very interesting phases in which design thinking is a essential asset.

    Team Coffee-Break (group 12)
    ‘Get set for fresh perspectives…’

    Oct 30, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

  10. powes of then

    We felt like the method was adequately supported in the theoretical aspect in the preceding chapters. And that is really important in the presentation of a method mainly because the terms mentioned can be rather controversial, meaning that they can be perceived and applied in various ways in the corporate context.

    Of course we can imagine ourselves working with such a method because in many aspects it embodies what we are trained to do. Furthermore, the more we know about all the different stages the more we will be able to instill design thinking in the process. We think that it is really important nowadays for a designer to be able to cope with the complexity of the corporate context and be able to have input in the many different stages of the innovation development process. So, he/she must have the practical experience and the theoretical background to support such a complex process and in the end make it look easy and accessible.

    We really felt that the writer’s opinion of the applicability of different methods is quite honest and even rare to find in academic literature. It is really important for designers and corporations to realize that methods are not “problem solvers” on their own. They are just a facilitator of a process, a thing that has stemmed from other people’s experience and knowledge and are aimed to help companies or designers to solve certain paradoxes (as the writer pinpoints on page 70 “You are not the first person…. result has been achieved”).

    It was really interesting that through our conversation we came to the conclusion that most of the designers know that a method does not provide an error free road to a successful result, but we are hesitant to admit it in fear that we might diminish the value of design methods. But that is not the case. It’s somehow disheartening when you realize as a reader of a book/article or as a student that a writer or professor just wants to “sell” his method and is afraid of admitting its faults or even its incapability of being applied under certain circumstances. Methods are just tools in a sense, the user should be creative in the way he uses and applies them so that they can fit into his way of working and of course in the context or the problem at hand. Although, that doesn’t mean in any way that methods are not useful, they can be a major help in situations when the designer is “stuck”, can decrease significantly the stress level, reveal solutions that could have been lost and so on. Methods are a very important aid but are not custom made, and they cannot be, they provide guidelines that can very efficiently help in dealing with complexity.

    Oct 31, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  11. Team Nine

    Reflections on methods

    The four phases presented in the BDI-model are a good representation of the theory presented in chapter 1 and 2. However, to understand this model it is necessary to have read the stage description as opposed to reading the model alone.

    We believe designers are trained to play a role in any phase of innovation. Some designers are more interested in participating in certain stages and have more experience and expertise in specific stages, e.g. an SPD student might be interested in and have some knowledge of the design strategy, but might be more experienced in human-centered branding. IDEO calls these people T-shaped people.

    Designers can participate in the different design stages because:

    •Stage 1: We are trained to understand the user’s needs and to be visionary in designing.
    •Stage 2: Designers are used to develop strategies by using methods and therefore make them suitable for innovation strategies.
    •Stage 3: Building a design strategy is one of the core expertises of a designer.
    •Stage 4: In this stage all the previous stages come together. A designer is trained to combine all the steps of a design process and to finalize the project. He or she can bridge the gap between the stages and orchestrate the BDI-process. Therefore a designer subconsciously has experience in participating in this stage.

    We think that by projecting this method on our profession as a designer, we will have a deeper insight in the brand and its innovation strategy. In future situations we can apply this insight in more specific professional situations.

    Nov 02, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

  12. Synergize & Co

    Pause for thought:
    Reflections on methods

    When reading and analyzing the 4 stages in the innovation model, and comparing them to the chapters before, at least the first three stages seemed to be a logical consequence on the theory in the first chapters. However, it also seemed to be surprisingly applied all of a sudden. Where the first chapters are very theoretical, and it is hard to see how they can be applied, this is quite suddenly changed into a very directly applicable method. This transformation of the matter seems to be a logical consequence but is still difficult to understand in its applied state.

    Surprising is the fourth stage of the model. It is obviously the most directly applied state of the four, as it is all about creating and operationalizing touchpoints with a company. This has not gotten a lot of attention in the first chapters, but this is quite easily explained by the fact that it is the logical result of the concretisation of the first three stages. These concrete stages need a practical way in which their results are attached to the company.

    A further interesting development in the group was the higher recognisability of the first stage (Human Centered Branding), compared to the others. As it turned out, the step from the human centered theory to an applied model was easier in this field, as most of the group has had a lot of human centered education.

    The brand driven innovation method is followed by some critical notes on the use of methods in general, and this method in particular. These notes seem very applicable in many situations and are definitely covering the main pitfalls in using methods. On the other hand, as all group members have used many design based methods for some years now, these criticisms on methods are mostly warning for problems that are by now often intuitively avoided. This is a pity, as we assume that most readers of this book will be at least as experienced as this group.

    It is a pity that the limitations stated by mr. Roscam Abbing are not always specified into a directly applicable way. It stays a bit unclear where their limits actually are. With a clearer view on the bounderies of this method in particular, it could provide a guideline that would help designers also in those cases that intuition or experience fail to warn them.

    Synergize & Co

    Nov 02, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

  13. 3plus3

    What we have learned from Chapter 1 & 2
    Human centred design
    This stage is all about the brand’s promise of the company, which has to be conveyed not only externally through communication marketing, but also internally through the brand’s vision. The company has to have a ‘shared foundation of norms, values, beliefs and vision’ (Ch. 1.3), to enable the employees to innovate ‘with the brand’s vision as a guide and the expectations of the users as a goal’ (Ch. 1.5), in order to fulfil the brand’s promise. The brand’s promise can be described as an abstract direction about what the user can obtain from the company’s products or service.

    We believe the first stage is well explained in the first two chapters of the book.

    Innovation strategy
    This is the strategy that will fulfill the brand’s promise and describes the relation between branding and innovation. In our opinion, the innovations that flow out of this strategy (or strategies), will be more of the proactive kind than reactive, because the innovators have taken both the brand’s promise as the brand’s vision into account. ‘It has to be able to respond to the triggers of the brand promise, and it has to meet – and preferably exceed – the expectations in the user’s mind, that are set by that promise.’ (Ch.1.5)

    The second stage could be more introduced in the first two chapters. In these chapters, the innovations are more described as the result, the final products or services from the company, rather than a strategy or a plan, that states what, how and why the plans are of the company.

    Design strategy
    As explained by the book, design is involved in various aspects, situations and methods. The most important one would be design thinking, which is the core of using design. What we found interesting is, how design can integrate silos and communicate the brand to the consumers (with a little bit distorted meaning though) (Ch.2.1 and 2.4). Design can turn abstract ideas into concrete solution, make technology accessible to everyone and turn vision into value. In this strategy, the design research is also of importance.

    This third stage flows well from the theory described in Chapter 1 and 2. However, maybe it is because we did not obtain a clear understanding of the innovation strategy through support of the first two chapters, we believe this design strategy is more of the innovating side than the designing side. To make sure that the plans, products or services see the light of the day can be a design process, but it is according to us more of an innovation process.

    Orchestrating touchpoints
    The theory behind this stage has not been mentioned in the first two chapters at all. However, it is a very obvious step that has to be executed, which can also be derived from the given theory. Therefore, this final step still flows well from the preceding theory.

    Naturally, a company, brand and more specific information of these stages from this book are required to enable our roles. But, with these requirements fulfilled, we believe we can play quite a significant role in all of the stages, because this brand driven innovation method has parts of IPD, DfI and a larger amount of SPD related theory integrated.

    The methods described in the part II chapter, are recognizable in the innovations we encounter in our daily lives. The Senz Umbrella, for example, is an innovation or a design driven innovation, whereas the Senz Mini is a brand or a user driven innovation. The (small) explanations of the methods are very useful, because it provided us an overview of the available methods, categorized and divided per situation. We believe it would be a nice idea to create a method to determine the positioning of your brand in the sentence of brand driven innovation. So, a method that gives you an indication of how strong your brand is and how high your innovation potential is.

    The three pitfalls that are mentioned are very obvious, but also very important. Because these pitfalls, will remind you that methods will not provide you a guaranteed success, but a route to walk along and guidance to success (if implemented well).

    Nov 02, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

  14. Group 23

    We think the four phases of brand driven innovation model flow naturally
    Because it shows clear and logical process on what chapter 1 and 2 explained.
    In those chapters this book explains from the basic fundamental of design driven innovation perspective to the implementation. This book explains how the branding and innovation could be connected followed by how design could shape the connection. These perspectives are implemented quite clearly especially in the first 3 stages. Even though all four stages are flows naturally, in our opinion the 4th stage should be well defined in the first two chapters also.

    We can see our self playing a role in these steps. We as a group have different picture on how we sees our self in the future as a designer. And each of this stages represent different strong points for each person. The design methods that this book presented are useful for us, because now we see design in a new way. And what is more important thing in our opinion is how design can be a tool to shape strategy.

    Nov 03, 2011 @ 12:27 am

  15. - shiqi -

    Chapter one is not entirely new to us. It feels a lot as if we already know this; however it is good as an introduction to make the method’s foundation clear, and understand how to interpret the terms. The justification of the method in chapter one makes also a lot clear at this point.

    In part one of the book the user & user centered design isn’t really mentioned while stage one of the method is about human-centered branding. It feels as this term is suddenly popping up in the book. Moreover, chapter one makes more sense after reading a part of chapter two. Thus, the four phases in the model doesn’t naturally flow from the theory in chapter one and two, particularly because the user-centeredness isn’t emphasized before. But if you have read more than just part one, it becomes clearer and the structure seems logical.

    Not all phases are already clear, because we haven’t read the other phases in detail yet. From this model, it looks like all that is needed for innovation is formed from a human-centered brand and made possible by design. The interpretation of the loops within every stage is however not very clear at this point of reading. It implicates that the phase is a recurring one, or that there is some sort of reflection loop within the stage.

    Furthermore, it’s not entirely clear if maintaining quality is also integrated in the book. We presume that this is discussed in the 4th stage in the model, however we haven’t read about it so far.

    We as master students are obviously aware of the fact that methods have their limitations and that they need to be interpreted in particular situations, which has complications for them to be used. The first part of the book didn’t really add a lot to the existing knowledge; however for a reader who is totally new to anything it probably adds something. It’s obvious that a method is generalizing, simplifying and chopping up as far as we know.

    The mentioning of other methods is done in the book, which we think is very good, however there is not really stated how they could relate to this method and where we can find more information about these methods.

    Nov 05, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  16. [PENTAGON]

    The preceding chapters provide a foundation that is easy to understand and provide a clear overview of terms on which brand-driven innovation is build on. Although terms and definitions presented in chapter 1 and 2 were obvious for some of our team members, other members of the team with no (educational) background in innovation or strategies really felt the benefit of it. We all agree, though, that it is essential to explain the ‘obvious’ to know on which foundation the BDI-model is build on.

    The main message of presenting brand-driven innovation in the four phases is very clear. The way the innovation process is chopped up in the four phases makes the BDI-model look like a ‘simple’ model, although we know that “Brand-driven innovation is a complex process”. It is obvious that the information in the remaining chapters needs to be read to get more grip on the stages of the model.

    The mindset that is created in the critical reflection on methods is really honest; don’t go blind on using BDI only, make your own method using ingredients of other methods that fits your company the best. Because we all have a educational background in (industrial) design, we are familiar with the use of many kinds of (research) methods and solving complex problems, as well as in building strategies. Therefore we think that graduates of our design faculty are capable of playing a role in every phase that is drawn in the BDI-model.

    Nov 09, 2011 @ 1:20 pm


three + = 5

about this blog
this is Erik Roscam Abbing's blog on topics relating to the synergy between branding, innovation and design. Erik is a consultant (www.zilverinnovation.com), teacher (www.io.tudelft.nl), and frequent speaker on the topic of Brand Driven Innovation. He is also the author of the book by the same title, to appear in autumn 2010 at www.avabooks.ch. For inquiries, contact erik at erik at zilverinnovation.com
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