Norms are widely shared, often implied, rules for expected behaviour. With norm creative innovation we analyse norms, to find our blind spots and understand how we can master and use norms to our advantage, rather than be controlled by them. When we succeed, we create better, more innovative and more inclusive solutions, products and services.
Using norm critical analysis we can systematically help industry and society to identify the unwritten rules that limit and control our innovation ability. This may include, for example, preconceptions about who should participate in the innovation work, whose contribution we consider to be innovative, and what it is that prevents us from thinking big and new and to find those risky and brilliant solutions.
We ask questions such as Why is IT more often seen as an innovative industry than home health care? or Why do hand drills and handheld electric mixers look so different when they are both made to fit comfortably in the user's hand and make metal pieces spin? to identify room for innovative solutions.
In addition, we look at society from a system perspective and ask why we so easily think that poor system design is the same thing as people being deficient.
By closely studying how norms affect us, we support our partners and customers to combine the findings with design methods to develop norm creative solutions that are then based on a greater understanding of the users and customers and therefore lead to better, more innovative and inclusive products, solutions and services.
The video (in Swedish) presents how norm critical analysis was used in norm creative practice, leading to new understanding about the design of a municipal waste management system. Here we discovered that the system was based on the assumption that every citizen would have access to a car for transporting waste.
With a deeper understanding of the issue at hand Borås Energi och Miljö (waste and energy company), Borås stad (city), AB Bostäder (housing company), Högskolan i Borås (academia) och Devrex AB (IT company) could work together with RISE to develop a norm creative solution that better met the needs of the Borås residents. As a bonus the solution also contributed to a reduced dependency on cars.