The Diamond Lifecycle of Innovation

August 6, 2018

Apologies for the hiatus the UX blog has taken over the past several weeks. I have been quite busy attending conferences, preparing for grad school next month and getting my research career off the ground.


This month’s articles will discuss two concepts which at first seem to be polar opposites to one another, exploring possibilities and focus which is known in the design community as opening and closing the diamond. However as we'll see they actually complement one another. You cannot have a competitive product offering if it does not offer a differentiated and superior experience, just ask Nokia and the countless other phone manufacturers who continually made a smarter flip phone only to be caught flat footed by an innovation Apple! At the same time, you can’t build a successful product unless you nail down the specific of what needs to be worked on. There are countless examples of products that fail to launch and be successful due to the organization being unable to nail down the specifics needed for engineering to know what they need to build, marketers to make the compelling pitch to the public and product management ensuring what is being built matches the concise vision. In many ways the diamond represents the ying-yang dance all successful, innovation organizations go through to develop compelling expelling which solve real pain points on time and on budget.


If we look at any mature organization we’ll see that product development follows a lifecycle starting beginning with problem definition and ending in product support. Here’s my idealize notion of what makes a successful experience organization:



Each phase of the product development lifecycle is designed to answer a different question:

  • Problem : What problems are we trying to solve?

  • Solution : What are some ways to solve a given problem?

  • Prototype : What could a given solution look like/behave?

  • Product Development : How do we make the vision a reality?

  • Testing : Did what was built meet the vision and customer expectations?

  • Launch : How do we communicate the value our product delivers to get front in centre in customer minds?

  • Support : Were there items missed during design and development that were exposed from day to day use of our product?

As you can see each of these phases is its own diamond requiring the organization to explore the possibilities, narrowing them down to focus on the specific details needed to proceed to the next stage (represented by the interlocking diamonds). For instance, you cannot come up with a solution to a problem unless you understand what the problems are and prioritize the ones that need to be solved. Every stage in the product development lifecycle answers a different question.


This month’s series of articles will walk you through the entire product development lifecycle to see how their unique perspectives can be used to not only come up with new ideas and potentially a more innovation product but also one that’s experientially sound.

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