Miriam will be facilitating the Open Design workshop at the PICNIC Innovation Mash Up.

Meet...Miriam Reitenbach, Design Researcher, Waag...

If you have to pick only one trait or characteristic that distinguishes innovative companies, what would it be?

An important characteristic of an innovative company is its culture, that gives enough freedom to its employees to encourage creativity throughout the company. A creative company has the right mix between providing structure and leaving space for out-of-the-box thinking without hierarchical borders.

What companies do you most admire and why?

I am very inspired by IDEO and its innovative design and research methods - being able to understand their clients and users and translating these insights into great ideas.

What's the biggest mistake companies are making which is preventing them from innovating effectively?

The biggest mistake is the fear not to share their ideas with others, being open and willing to share ideas (but also failures) with others in order to be able to learn from each other.

What is the favourite innovation project that you have worked on? Why does is stand out?

My favourite innovation project in our company is called StoryBOX. It consists of tangible, technologically enhanced objects that facilitate language-learning by playing. StoryBOX engages pupils to explore language in an educational format that bridges formal and informal learning. We developed StoryBOX together with children, teachers and educational experts that were involved throughout the whole development process. By involving them, solutions are much more likely to be accepted and to fit the needs of their end-users. 

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