To survive and thrive on the other side of the economic downturn, companies are going to have to take innovation to a whole new level—even companies like ours that have a reputation for innovation.
There are a lot of ways we enable innovation here. We work with leading designers, explore new materials and how they can be used in our products, and use ethnography to understand people and the way they work in the real world.
As part of our effort to continuously improve innovation, Jim Long, Director, Research and Development, began working with the NewNorth Center, founded by Nate Young as a nonprofit educational organization, which offers classes on innovation methods and helps companies bring discipline to their creative processes. The result is three workshops created specifically for Herman Miller. Each is built around a specific tool, including “A Day in the Life,” which puts participants in a customer’s shoes and helps them understand the customer in a very detailed way. It often reveals where that customer’s needs are not being met.
“Over time, these workshops will give us new insight into our own innovation process,” says Long, “which we can use to make something that’s already very good, even better.”
Pictured above: Nate Young, President of the NewNorth Center . Courtesy of MiBiz.