Colombia

Innovation + People

By Santiago Gonzalez – –

It’s all about the people

When the polymath team was being assembled, I was told several times: “The success of the project is all about the people involved in it” just now I really understand what they meant. A multidisciplinary group of successful people from different parts of the world was created. Each person was willing to give part of their life for the project; providing knowledge, energy and effort.   The common bond was our motivation to develop innovation-mechanisms to solve real problems in a simple and efficient way and hopefully make meaningful changes to the world.

It is an honor for me to meet with such talented people and it is exiting to work with them as we bring together our ideas, knowledge and creativity to create something great. Business people, lawyers, designers and engineers working together every day to make people’s lives easier is a dream come true for me.


Implicit Rules of Engagement

Despite (or maybe because of) the different cultural backgrounds and fields, we have some implicit rules that have developed. These rules do not need to be written or even said – but emerged naturally as we push the projects forward:

  • Be humble,
  • Do not judge,
  • No one has the last word, no one is always right,
  • See and try to understand other people’s point of view.


Three weeks of intensive work and learning

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I cannot believe only 3 weeks have passed since we started, we have learned and done so much. I am sure that our unbelievable progress says a lot about the future, I cannot wait to show our ideas and insights to advisors and experts, and then to get our prototypes working.


What’s the real need?

To better understand the needs of our ‘future’ users, we have been conducting extensive interviews very early in our design process. I love going to people’s homes talking to them and understanding their life problems. It is important to get the difference between what people say and feel. We are always trying to go deep into people’s minds to get the real motive of behavior instead of their perception. While this is not always easy, as many people aren’t sure what they want, it is great to ‘get into their lives’ and start to understand their real needs.

The interviews are an essential part of our research, as we want to really know what extreme users want and feel., By going to our users early (in the first 3 weeks) we hope that at launch our product might solve real people’s needs (not the needs we imagined existed).

I believe the best way to work is first understanding the problem, and then developing the best possible solution with a much lower risk of failure. During the last couple of weeks we have had a great experience talking to people and understanding their points of view. There is so much we didn’t know, and there is a lot we are still learning. I am sure that after this phase of the project we are going to have a much wider view of the real issues on people’s lives.


Solving problems with an innovation process

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One other note –This is the first time that I see an established process to generate innovation – something that can be used to solve recurrent real world problems. Just having this knowledge is motivating. I am excited and do not see limits to what we can achieve.


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