Design Anthropology: Applied Interdisciplinary Research for New Product Innovation

Dr. Crysta Metcalf


Crysta Metcalf, Manager of Experiences Research at Motorola Mobility’s Applied Research Center came last Friday January 11th to the Sears State Street Offices in downtown Chicago and presented on Design Anthropology: Applied Interdisciplinary Research for New Product Innovation.

Dr. Metcalf leads a cross-disciplinary team of social scientists, computer scientists and designers.  They study human behaviors around media & invent next-gen compelling interactive media experiences.

Metcalf Presenting at State Street

Here are 7 recommendations for increasing your teams patent push throughs from the presentation.

  1. Stay within your domain – Because its what you know best, you know the areas ripe for innovation and can quickly find related art.
  2. Throughout the year keep an eye on trends AND consumer behavior.
  3. At a set interval of time look at the strategic direction of your company and the direction of your group and make conscious adjustments if needed.
  4. Innovation is key – Make it easy on yourself, so if you are going after IP you need to look at more unexplored areas of experience
  5. Ecological Validity – Get it into the people’s hands as quickly as possible.
  6. Every team must have at minimum 1 engineer, 1 designer, and 1 research person.
  7. Use Grounded Theory Affinity technique because it is inductive, facilitates constructive arguments about what the data mean, and provides a basis for brainstorming while bringing different perspectives together and is tactile.)

Another theme throughout the talk and questions was about the importance of speed. It caused me to wonder when we might cross the point where speed to patent could be faster and more valuable than speed to market.

A very informative presentation and we thank Dr Metcalf from coming downtown to present on a Friday evening.


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