Platform for open collaborative exploration of product innovation opportunities
University of Art and Design of Helsinki, Finland; and Fjord, United Kingdom
This paper presents the design research based development of the ProspectBa platform, consisting of method and related tools for identifying future product innovation opportunities in an unfamiliar domain. The ProspectBa platform is a resource for exploring future business areas. It is also a solution to the common issue of distributed cognition in cross-organization innovation networks. The diverse body of knowledge about a domain, produced with the platform, has versatile application in the Front-End of product innovation and serves in the renewal of core capabilities. The three main platform components are the Prospect Mapping method, the Prospect Map system model and tool, and the online ProspectBa Studio blog. The Prospect Mapping method combines systematic design methods with a systems approach and scenario building for designing alternative systems of solutions to potential future needs in a domain. The Prospect Map system model defines design parameters and variables for creating a domain system image used in prospecting future needs and composing design briefs. The system model functions as a shared conceptualization of the domain; in this capacity it supports an emergent common understanding of opportunities among platform users. Common understanding is further supported by the systematic externalization of domain parameters and variables to the Prospect Map tool. The ProspectBa Studio blog augments the Prospect Map tool, enabling archiving, annotating and sharing its contents online. The adaptive design-based Prospect Mapping process produces meta-foresight about the impact of trends, macro-foresight about the impact of future concepts and micro-foresight about how to exploit identified opportunities. These outcomes are founded on the domain system image, which systematizes the monitoring of their relevance and simplifies new knowledge-creation. Ultimately, the platform is a potential unifying solution to the heterogeneous Front-End of product innovation.