Challenging Ideas, Sparking Innovation


Date: Friday, February 2, 2018

Software development and user interface design, like most disciplines, requires individuals to make progress by stretching the current realms of knowledge or expectation. This pushing of the boundaries can enhance the way we perform our day-to-day actions and empower greater productivity, or generate whole new paradigms altogether. Think along the lines of concept cars, which to ordinary folk look futuristic and 'out of this world'. However, under the hood these alien vehicles house the innovative technologies which will surely shape the future products of the automotive industry. Just over a decade ago, we didn't even have cars with automatic pedestrian detection, speed sign recognition, automatic wipers etc. Software development and user interface design is no different and we need not stay where we are...

Challenging Ideas

When a new customer approaches Village, we are often presented with a broad specification of a product that they want. This can often be different to the product that they (or their customers) actually need. Whilst it is nice to embrace the visions of our customers, challenging ideas and exploring different avenues is another part of our skill-set which can spark innovation and new thinking, both internally as developers and externally with our customers. I would liken this to sessions held by counsellors, who open up discussions with their clients in a self-reflective manner. By analysing all requirements and asking questions such as 'what are the benefits/downsides?' or 'who will benefit/be at a disadvantage?' we can really explore the product that people 'need'.

We should remove any negative connotation surrounding challenging ideas and no longer see it as a vote of no confidence in original ideas - it's simply alternative thinking. This step should be a pro-active process which engages all key stakeholders, including the end-users to formally recognise and understand the rational behind system specifications. This step can help projects in ways such as:

- Increases relevance
    - Delivering a product which is leaner and potentially more-fit for purpose without unnecessary bloat
- Improving understanding
    - The process naturally involves deeper thinking into the choices made, ensuring the problem is clearly understood and resolved correctly
- Prompts thinking outside of the box
    - Looking at things from different angles prompts new ways of thinking, sparking innovation

Prototyping

Prototyping (or concept work) can be an invaluable way to test ideas before bringing them to market / introducing them to your business. This allows you to challenge your own ideas to make sure that they will work, whilst providing the benefit of not investing a huge amount of time, money and effort into a product which may be doomed to fail. Prototyping also allows you to discover new avenues and approaches to problems by fully understanding why original ideas may not have worked as expected.

Village Software always respect the goals of our customers, providing our own insight and knowledge to ensure your product reaches the market in the best way possible.
    
Do you have ideas of a technology-based product that you need assistance implementing? We're always on the lookout for new customers to work along side, to help provide a wealth of shared experience and help build the product you dream to have.

Drop us an an email on info@villagesoftware.co.uk or visit out contact page to fill out our contact form!

Photo: Light Bulb by Andrew E Weber is licensed under Creative Commons 1.0

Mike Banner

Mike enjoys providing the analysis for solutions to the client and leads teams to deliver the highest quality of work. Mike's solutions are on big screens in factories, on ticket-vending machines around the country and on tablets in the hands of salespeople in the field. He brings understanding and practical innovation to solutions and provides a deep technical knowledge of Smart Card technologies and payment systems for our Integration projects.

Read more posts by Mike Banner