Innovation Approach

 

The Innovation Approach is expressed as a set of requirements:

Requirement 1: An innovation approach to HCI is a way of addressing the problem of designing human-computer interactions, by introducing a new idea, a method or a device, which constitutes a significant positive change, adding value.

For example, different innovation approaches have resulted in novel forms of human-computer interactions, including: virtual reality; voice recognition; gesture sensing; force feedback; wearable interfaces; whole-body sensing; spatial interactions; and transparent interfaces. Some of these novel forms of human-computer interaction are only at the invention stage of development; but have innovation potential, for example, wearable interfaces. Other forms are moving from the invention to the innovation stage of device development, for example, virtual reality, especially in the domain of simulation.

Requirement 2: An innovation approach to HCI involves the research and development of innovations for the design of human-computer interactions.

For example, the ‘graphical user interface’ (GUI) in the form of ‘windows, icon, menu, and pointing device’, (WIMP) and ‘what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) is a break-through innovation, resulting largely from different Xerox and Apple research and development (R+D) projects. Note the GUI interface remains an innovation, notwithstanding the original direct manipulation invention of a light-pen to control screen data in World War II radar systems. Incremental innovation best characterises the development of icons as part of the GUI interface from the Apple Lisa onwards. Both types of innovation are associated with R+D groups (for example, Xerox; Apple etc) and members of those and other groups (for example, Engelbert; Kay etc).

Requirement 3: The research and development of an innovation approach to HCI constitutes a way forward in  addressing the problem of designing human-computer interactions.

For example, the innovation of the GUI resulted from a range of different (and even hotly disputed) patents, emanating from Xerox, Apple and other R+D organisations. The innovation also resulted from many different ideas and the experience afforded by their exchange between such organisations. For example, Apple engineers visited the Xerox Parc facilities and Parc employees subsequently moved to Apple to work on the Lisa and the Macintosh. Patents, expert advice, experience and the design of other innovations supported both preliminary and final steps, as well as the manner for taking such steps, addressing the problem of designing innovative human-computer interactions.

Requirement 4: An innovation approach to HCI has ways of establishing how and  whether the problem of designing human-computer interactions has been addressed or not. For example, the Apple Lisa, released in 1983, featured a high-resolution, stationary-based GUI. However, the most significant, positive change, adding value, is the Apple Macintosh, which was the first commercially successful product to use a multi-panel user interface. The Macintosh used trial-and-error design to build on the experience acquired from the earlier design of the Lisa. The success or not of patents, expert advice, experience and the design of other innovations also indicates, whether the problem of designing human-computer interactions has been addressed or not.

Examples of  Innovation Approaches to HCI

Obrist et al. (2014): Opportunities for Odor: Experiences with Smell and Implications for Technology

This paper suggests how novel, emerging smell technology might be applied to develop smell-enhanced human-computer interaction:

Innovation Illustration – Obrist et al: Opportunities for Odor: Experiences with Smell and Implications for Technology

How well does the Obrist et al. paper meet the requirements for constituting an Innovation Approach to HCI?   (Read More…..)

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Requirement 1: An Innovation Approach to HCI is a way of addressing the problem of designing human-computer interactions, by introducing a new idea, a method or a device, which constitutes a significant positive change, adding value.

The paper claims to address the problems of engineering and understanding novel smell-enhanced human-computer interactions, which apply new smell technologies to interactive systems (Comments 1 and 2).

The address is more invention than innovation at this stage, as a significant positive change, adding value, needs to be made, before smell-enhanced human-computer interaction can be considered an innovation. It is certainly a new idea; but not yet a method or a device.

Requirement 2: An Innovation Approach to HCI involves the research and development of innovations for the design of human-computer interactions.

The research reports the use of story-collecting as a means of acquiring human smell data. The data are organised into categories of smell experience. Data and categories are assumed to aid understanding of smell-enhanced human-computer interactions (Comments 3 and 4).

Requirement 3: The research and development of an Innovation Approach to HCI constitutes a way forward in addressing the problem of designing human-computer interactions.

The paper suggests that implications for the engineering of smell-enhanced human-computer interactions can be based on their use of envisioning and brain-storming techniques (Comment 5).

Requirement 4:  an Innovation Approach to HCI has ways of establishing how and whether the problem of designing human-computer interactions has been addressed or not.

The paper does not attempt to assess explicitly how well the problems of understanding and engineering smell-enhanced human-computer interactions have been met by the research.

Address of both might at best be considered preliminary at this stage.

 

Conclusion: Obrist et al’s research should generally be considered an Innovation Approach to HCI, as it relates to smell-enhanced human-computer interactions. However, the Innovation Approach is currently at an early stage of development, more akin to invention than innovation; but with potential for becoming the latter over time.