Application of the Innovation Framework to an Innovation Approach to HCI Research

The research of Obrist et al. (2014), constitutes an Innovation Approach to HCI research. Their paper suggests how novel, emerging smell technology might be applied to develop smell-enhanced human-computer interaction. What potential does the Obrist et al Approach to HCI Innovation research offer the Innovation Framework, proposed here?


First, the Innovation Framework, as a basic support structure, is for a discipline, as an academic field of study and branch of knowledge.

Potential: Obrist et al’s Approach is not explicitly related to any particular discipline or field of knowledge, for example Science for the problem of understanding or Engineering for the problem of design.


Second, the Framework is for HCI, as human-computer interaction, as Innovation, that is, as novel.

Potential: Obrist et al’s approach does not reference novelty, although smell-enhanced technology itself is recognised as being novel.


Third, the Framework has a general problem, as innovation design, with a particular scope, as innovative human computer interactions to do something as desired.

Potential: Obrist et al’s Approach includes both the problems of understanding and design. However, the particular scope of the problems makes little or no reference to human-computer interactions or to doing something as desired. Further, neither problem is related to the general problem of any particular discipline or field of knowledge.


Fourth, the Framework supports research, as acquisition and validation, acquires, as study and practice and validates, as confirms.


Obrist et al’s Approach acquires by study new human smell data in the form of stories (that is, as a form of knowledge) and organises them intocategories of smell experience.  The implications of the categories for smell-enhanced technology design are explored.

Potential: There is no attempt by Obrist et al. to validate their findings, either with respect to understanding or design – the two problems addressed by the research.


Fifth, the Framework embodies knowledge, which supports, facilitates, practices, as trial and error and implement and test, which solve, as resolve, the general design problem of innovation design.


Obrist et al’s Approach presents smell experiences, expressed as stories, which might be used in design.

Potential: There is no address of design, as implement and test or to any other design practice. Further, the knowledge is only at a high level of description and so not directly applicable to design. There is no suggestion of how the research contributes to solving the general design problem of Innovation design.


Conclusion: Obrist et al’s Approach to Innovation design could be further developed with respect to: discipline relations of the two general problems of understanding and design; its level of description (needs to be lower); the explicit inclusion of innovation as novelty; and the validation of its claims, concerning design.

The Innovation Framework proposed here is considered to have potential for contributing to such developments.