design processes - refine or innovate?


Mark Bernstein has an inzeresting view on how his design process differs from a more 'sociological' approach: "[H]ow do you move from research to action? I like to try to make things better by making better things -- to look at that things like weblogs want to be, and then to make tools that try to bring out new facets and new affordances, tools that help people do new things. Those tools are always going to be challenging and quirky and strange, at least at first, because their new tools to do new things.
If you innovate from sociology, you get polished tools that help people do what everyone is already doing, but that use new shapes and new techniques to make things simpler and more comfortable."

Stepping outside the comfort zone is what innovation is about. Doing what is already being done, only better is refining things. I would not even call it evolution, although refining is a part of evolution. But innovation - trying new and now uncomfortable things - is just as important.


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