Design Innovation: Step 3 Inventing New Product Solutions

Diagram of the design innovation continuum: Step three - inventing a new product solution
The design innovation continuum: Step three - Inventing a new product solution

Design Innovation: Step 3 Inventing New Product Solutions show cases the creation of a new type of cookery book. You might have been expecting a mobile or web design innovation, but I experienced such delight receiving an innovative new cook book, I chose to make this post about “The Family Meal” by Ferran Adria to illustrate the invention of a new product solution in a crowded field.

People have new ideas for products all the time. If you live in a creative melting pot like Silicon Valley it is not uncommon to see something you thought of coming to market by someone else. As Steve Vosniak said “As a tinker and inventor my whole life I have learned that getting to market place as as difficult as inventing the thing itself. “

Culinary innovator Ferran Adria is not shy about inventing new culinary product solutions. He closed his three star Michelin restaurant, elBulli to spend two years focusing exclusively on culinary innovation, specifically exploring the relationship between physics and cooking and developing an entirely new restaurant format.

Farran Adria is famous for inventing new food solutions with his “deconstructionist” approach to food preparation and producing signature dishes like freeze-dried foie gras, atomized martinis and edible hibiscus paper. His goal is to “provide unexpected contrasts of flavor, temperature and texture. Nothing is what it seems.”

The process Ferran and his team go though to deliver these innovative creations reminds me of the business development processes taught by the likes of Founders Lab, Steve Blank and Eric Ries. He takes a step-by-step strategy, informed by customer insight to successfully organize and invent a new product solution.

With the release of “The Family Meal” documenting the food his staff eats whilst inventing the future of gastronomy, Ferran Adria takes his deconstructive approach and re-invents the cookery book.

Cookery books, like cars, have been around for a long time, but it took Henry Ford to see something no one else did – “lets make a car for everyone”, was his great contribution that led to the Model T Ford and the assembly line. With the arrival of “The Family Meal” we have a cookery book for everyone.

Like a car assembly line, “The Family Meal” takes the components of making a meal and puts them in the right order and makes it possible for anyone to perform all parts of the cooking process from menu planning, shopping, prepping, cooking and plating. There are seven design innovations I particularly admire about this cookery book

7 Design Innovations of the “The Family Meal” Cookery Book

  1. 31 complete three course menus are provided so menu planning is not required.
  2. Shopping for lemon grass in London’s China Town 20 years ago, it took me a long time to find what I was looking for since the signs were in Chinese and the ingredient was new for me. Once at home, the recipe I was following made no reference to how to prepare lemon grass, so it ended up in the rabbits cage. In “The Family Meal” all the ingredients are photographed which makes shopping a breeze and encourages the adventurous to try cooking with unfamiliar ingredients.
  3. Photos of all the completed meals plated on white flatware helps you to ow what you are aiming for. Food plating wasn’t taught at my school.
  4. A visual story board of the entire cooking process is provided making it easy to refer to and pick up techniques during the cooking process. No steamed up reading glasses required.
  5. A visual timeline from start to finish solves the problem of knowing what to do when to ensure the meal arrives on time.
  6. Ingredient quantities are provided for cooking for 2, 6, 20 of 75 people, which is an incredibly generous detail for amateurs and chefs alike.
  7. The recipes consist of simple, affordable every day Mediterranean  dishes – no physics degrees, bank loan or molecular gastronomy techniques required.

I may never eat in his restaurant but I can nourish myself and my friends from this book. I have just read the recipe for Romesco sauce and I could taste it in my mouth by the time I had finished looking at the photos on the page. Now that’s design innovation of a new product on the virtual and physical plains.

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