Increasingly we are asked to present our research in innovative, creative and accessible ways and Mai Khanh Tran (Mika), one of our PhD students has done just that. Mika is not just a talented researcher but her contribution in Birmingham Museum’s ‘Images of Research’ exhibition showcase her artistic talent. She first submitted the Innovation Ecosystem in 2015 and followed this up with being placed as the winning runner up in 2016 with Composer of Ideas. Below you can find art work as well as a short paper to support the images. We look forward to seeing what Mika will produce in 2017!
CAPTURING PHENOMENON OF CO-INNOVATION THROUGH A SINGLE IMAGE.
MARCH 2015, BIRMINGHAM, IMAGES OF RESEARCH EXHIBITION
AUTHOR: Mai Khanh TRAN (Mika)
Images of Research Exhibition is an annual event for postgraduate researchers in University of Birmingham to capture their entire research project in one image. Organised in Birmingham Museum and Arts Gallery, this event has opened a venue for Art meets Research and engagins a public audience. Works are displayed amongst an internationally important art collection and entries to the event will then tour around the city, such as being displayed in Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum or The Library of Birmingham. The images are also disseminated in digital forms as some can be found in magazines including National Geographic and Slovenian Bird Life. As a unique way to upgrade profile of researchers, this event is also a big challenge to the researchers in terms of creativity and capability to transform their academic knowledge into visual material accessed by bib-specialists. Participants are encouraged to be inventive and creative as they want with their entries’ forms. The image can be created from various approaches, from a photograph representative of their works, a depiction of data extracted from the research, or an artwork of their own creation.
Joining the Images of Research Exhibition 2015, the author has submitted a freehand sketch illustrating a collaborative innovation environment in product innovation. Using the structure of the Earth and ecosystem analogy, the author transfers the concept of Innovation ecosystem and its importance in expanding sources of development. The innovation ecosystem also highlights the complexity and necessity of different actors and the interactions between them in aiding the firms in achieving innovation purpose.
Sketching the image, the author placed the firm seeking for product innovation as the inner core of the Earth, covered by the crust constituted by different co-creator groups. Customers can be found as the dominant component in the image to highlight their pivotal roles in innovation for many reasons. First, customers are known for their contribution in inventing radical product innovation and generating improvements for new product development (NPD). This can be found in a record of the primary role of customers in 82% of major functional improvements in scientific instruments, 85% major pultrusion-processing machinery innovation (von Hippel, 1999) and other product improvements in various industries, from medical to consumer products. Second, extant research has suggested that deeply integrating customers into innovation process could decrease the failure rate (Piller & Lindgens, 2011). Third, the evaluation of a product or service innovation relies on how customers evaluate its attributes with certain use purposes and situations in mind (Vandecasteele & Geuens, 2010; Gardial, et al., 1994). With this respect, an innovation is perceived to be successful and meaningful only when they are adopted by consumers (Hetet et al., 2014). The emergence of NPD literature has witnessed the shift of notions of innovation towards a customer-centric approach. If traditional viewpoint classifies innovation into radical and incremental stages (Cooper, 1998), recent studies have shown a broader perspective with commercially attractive innovation, positive societal impact, or technology dependency (Schweizer et al., 2014; Garcia & Calantone, 2011). Whilst the term innovation is deemed notoriously ambiguous, the current approach focuses on the core value of NPD, which is helping customers pursue a better quality of life and adding value to customers (Lee et al., 2012, O’Sullivan & Dooley, 2008). This has construed the notions of user-friendly and user-experience enhancement in product innovation.
Emphasising the role of customers as a critical group in the innovation ecosystem, the image also depicts them with different portraits. This stems from the author’s epistemology of the heterogeneity of customers in co-creating values differently in an innovation process. Besides theories explaining customers in their co-creation activities based on their lead-user characteristics (Piller et al., 2011, von Hippel, 1986) or high expertise in technology (Hoffman et al., 2010; de Bont & Schoormans, 1995), recent studies have proposed using personality traits as a theoretical lens to gain insight of the customer co-creation in NPD literature (Stock et al., 2014; Boeddrich, 2004). To respond to their call for empirical research, the author contends that the types of new product will be suggested by types of idea owners and each personality traits can be pertinent for different co-creation activities. The Big Five theory with five personality traits, as depicted in the image, has become the main body of knowledge which is deployed in conducting the research.
The image of the author’s research can still be accessed through the page of Birmingham Museum and Arts Gallery as one of the exemplified images in 2015. After the exhibition event, the idea has been further improved and brought the author to other conferences of Innovation management and Marketing, where her research proposal was accumulatively polished. The objective of research is expected to be achieved through ethnographic study to fully explain the customers’ behaviours and performance during a collaboration process. Findings are aimed to bring contributions in stimulating new ways of thinking of a ‘customer journey’ and innovation notions. In addition, established mind-set of customers’ competence will be challenged to open venue for further research, such as leveraging customers’ creativity and bringing “human flourishing” whilst joining innovation project.
The image can be accessed via this link: http://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/whats-on/images-of-research
Boeddrich, H. J. (2004). Ideas in the workplace: a new approach towards organizing the fuzzy front end of the innovation process. Creativity and innovation management, 13(4), 274-285.
Cooper, J.R. (1998), “A multidimensional approach to the adoption of innovation”, Management Decision, 36 (8): 493-502
de Bont, C.J.P.M. and Schoormans, J.P.L. (1995) The Effects of Product Expertise on Consumer Evaluations of New-Product Concepts. Journal of Economic Psychology, 16: 599–615.
Donna L. Hoffman, Praveen K. Kopalle, Thomas P. Novak (2010) The “Right” Consumers for Better Concepts: Identifying Consumers High in Emergent Nature to Develop New Product Concepts. Journal of Marketing Research: October 2010, Vol. 47, No. 5, pp. 854-865.
Gardial, Sarah Fisher, Scott Clemons, D., Woodruff, Robert B., Schumann, David W., & Burns, Mary Jane (1994). Comparing consumers recall of prepurchase and postpurchase product evaluation experiences. Journal of Consumer Research, 20, 548−560 (March).
Hetet.B, Jean, M., and Jean-pierre, M. (2014). A better understanding of consumer’s perception of an innovative brand through perceived novelty. [Access at http://www.marketing-trends-congress.com/archives/2014/pages/PDF/245.pdf]
Lee, S. M., Olson, D. L., & Trimi, S. (2012). Co-innovation: convergenomics, collaboration, and co-creation for organizational values. Management Decision,50(5), 817-831.
O’Sullivan, D., & Dooley, L. (2008). Applying innovation. Sage publications.
Piller, F. T., Ihl, C., & Vossen, A. (2010). A typology of customer co-creation in the innovation process. Available at SSRN 1732127.
Piller, F., Ihl, C., & Vossen, A. (2011). Customer co-creation: Open innovation with customers. Wittke, V./Hanekop, H, 31-63.
Stock, Ruth M., Eric A. Von Hippel, and Schnarr, L. (2014). Impacts of Personality Traits on User Innovation Success.” Available at SSRN 2467152.
Schweitzer, F., Gassmann, O., & Rau, C. (2014). Lessons from Ideation: Where Does User Involvement Lead Us? Creativity and Innovation Management, 23(2), 155-167.
Vandecasteele, Bert, & Geuens, Maggie (2010). Motivated consumer innovativeness: Concept, measurement, and validation. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 27(4), 308−318.
Von Hippel, E. (1986). Lead users: a source of novel product concepts. Management science, 32(7): 791-805.
Von Hippel, E., Thomke, S., & Sonnack, M. (1999). Creating breakthroughs at 3M. Harvard Business review, 77: 47-57.
THE COMPOSER OF IDEAS: THE ROLE OF ART IN INNOVATION MANAGEMENT
FEBRUARY 2016, BIRMINGHAM, IMAGES OF RESEARCH EXHIBITION
AUTHOR: Mai Khanh TRAN (Mika)
People have predominantly seen art and science with strict binary divisions viewing “art on one hand and science on the other”. However, this perspective has been recently challenged by the shift of study of the interplay between art and science within the field of marketing. Therefore, in February 2016, I participated in the fourth Arts & Science festival by University of Birmingham and won a prize with an art submission related to my research.
Designed as a week-long celebration of research, culture and collaboration, the event “brings together leading artists, thinkers and scientists for a free programme of concerts, exhibitions, performances, screenings, talks and workshops” (www.birmingham.ac.uk). This time, the organisers highlighted the “art meets science” phenomenon through a string of collaborative events including: VIVID PROJECTS which presented the culmination of a two year collaboration between six leading biomedical scientists and six animation artists; THE NEUTRINO PASSOIRE transferred the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which won 2015 Nobel prize in Physics, to non-specialist audience with performance by two contemporary dancers; or PERMISSION TAKEN exhibition by artist Antonio Roberts brought together digital technology, copyright issues, and the university’s own collections. Apart from that, the festival opened the Image of research exhibition to invite researchers present their works through a single image. I have submitted my hand-sketch “The composer of ideas” to communicate my research message to the audience. The hand drawn picture captured a pianist playing her chords, releasing the notes floating in the air, transmitting to the brain neurons, then sparking hundreds of idea bubbles. When some of the ideas grew brighter and bigger through the connection with each other, a few aborted. This was an ordinary process of idea generation and development.
Interested in product innovation and unconventional emergence of inter-disciplines, I am conducting research on adopting a musical mind in generating ideas for new products and services. Whilst new ideas are critical in distinguishing a genuine product from copy-cats, the journey of creativity is not so clear cut and new recipe of novel ideas is unfound. Research on music composition, on the contrary, has provided valuable findings including pathway of idea development and positive psychological impact of music on creativity. By immersing myself into real project initiated by renowned organisations, one is a city symphony orchestra and the other is a world leading technology corporation, I develop my research to see how blending aesthetic and technological expertise can enhance the journey of idea development, spark new ideas, and offer intrinsic values for consumers. This ongoing study is expected to enhance personal creative minds and assist each person to be a composer of ideas.
The image can also be found in the online catalogue accessed via this link: http://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/whats-on/images-of-research