How To Choose The Best Solution

Earlier this week I heard a Marketplace Tech Report about the U.S. winners of this year’s Imagine Cup, Team Note Taker. What inspired me so much about the interview was not only the amazing innovation they designed to serve a true social need, but the way that the team captain, David Hayden, described how the team ruled out ways to NOT implement that resulted in them coming up with the best way TO implement this innovation.

David has been legally blind since birth, and wanted to design a tool that would enable him and other low vision or legally blind people to take notes in class as well as in the workplace. Existing solutions had the following negative features:

  1. Delay when using magnification or switching between the board and the notes being taken
  2. Require infrastructure or support personnel, that may not be available when the person needs them
  3. Social alienation – head mounted displays that make one look like Darth Vader

By looking at these “unfeatures” as David called them, the team came up with a better solution: a split screen tablet with a digital notepad and camera that can zoom in on a board. The team defined success by ruling out everything that would make an unpalatable design – key criteria we should all look at when defining what our future world should be!

I wish Team Note Taker the best in the Worldwide Finals later this year!

About Michelle Smeby

Michelle Smeby is CEO of wHolistic Change, Inc. with more than 10 years of experience implementing enterprise solutions at Fortune 100 companies. Michelle specializes in helping corporations deliver transformational change.
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