N2T ‘Need to Tech discovery’ tool: enabling interaction with scientists in CBI students’ projects


  • Bernardo Balboni University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
  • Clio Dosi University of Bologna
  • Silvia Marchini Almacube
  • Giuseppe Mincolelli University of Ferrara
  • Matteo Vignoli University of Bologna




Human-Centred Design; Open Innovation; Design Tools; Need to Tech


The ‘Need to Tech discovery’ tool (N2T) is a design tool aimed at improving the interface between the scientific community and the market-driven innovation community. N2T embeds technological and scientific inputs into human-centered design processes. Once the design team has inputs from the human-centered research, it iteratively applies a divergence map and tech functional scenarios to interact with researchers. The output is a situated list of technologies that could be embedded in the solution concepts. N2T was developed using an Action Research Innovation Management Framework during four iterations of the Oper.CBI Open Innovation Program in connection with IdeaSquare, CERN. Results show better outcomes of the design team in exploring the potential applications of technologies and a higher engagement of scientists and researchers in the challenge domain.


Beale, R. (2007). Supporting serendipity: Using ambient intelligence to augment user exploration for data mining and web browsing. International Journal of Human- Computer Studies, 65(5), 421-433.

BenMahmoud-Jouini, S., & Midler, C. (2020). Unpacking the notion of prototype archetypes in the early phase of an innovation process. Creativity and Innovation Management,29(1), 49–71.

Chesbrough, Henry. "From open science to open innovation." Institute for Innovation and Knowledge Management, ESADE (2015). https://www.fosteropenscience.eu/sites/default/files/pdf/1 798.pdf

Cocchi, N., Dosi, C., & Vignoli, M. (2021). The hybrid model matrix: Enhancing Stage-Gate with Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and Agile. Research Technology Management, 64(5): [In press].

Dosi, C., Mattarelli, E., & Vignoli, M. (2020). Prototypes as identity markers: The double‐edged role of prototypes in multidisciplinary innovation teams. Creativity and Innovation Management, 29(4), 648-666.Guertler, M. R., Kriz, A., & Sick, N. (2020). Encouraging and enabling action research in innovation management. R&D Management, 50(3), 380-395.

Hatchuel, A., Le Masson, P., & Weil, B. (2005). The development of science‐based products: Managing by design spaces. Creativity and innovation management, 14(4), 345-354.

Kumar, V., 2012. 101 design methods: A structured approach for driving innovation in your organization. John Wiley & Sons.


Chan, L. K., & Wu, M. L. (2002). Quality function deployment: a comprehensive review of its concepts and methods. Quality engineering, 15(1), 23-35. GEFO

Moehrle, M. G. (2005). What is TRIZ? From conceptualRMA basics to a framework for research. Creativity and T 9 innovation management, 14(1), 3-13.

Mahmoud-Jouini, S. B., Fixson, S. K., & Boulet, D. (2019). Making design thinking work: Adapting an innovation approach to fit a large technology-driven firm. Research- Technology Management, 62(5), 50-58.

Mäkinen, S., Steinert, M., Vignoli, M., Birkinshaw, J. and Nordberg, M., 2015. Inaugural Editorial: Experimentation in Innovation Studies.

Makri S, Blandford A, Woods M, Sharples S, Maxwell D (2014) “Making my own luck”: Serendipity strategies and how to support them in digital information environments. J. Assoc. Inform. Sci. Tech. 65(11):2179–2194.

Mincolelli, G., Cocchi, N., Dosi, C., & Vignoli, M. (2020). “OPER. TEN” Transform Emergency Now! -facing Covid-19 with Open Innovation and Human Centered Design. Strategic Design Research Journal, 13(3), 658- 668.Moultrie, J. (2015). Understanding and classifying the role of design demonstrators in scientific exploration. Technovation, 43, 1-16.

Peirce, C. S. (1998), The Essential Peirce, Selected Philosophical Writings, Volume 2 (1893–1913), Peirce Edition Project, eds., Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN, 230-231.

Sarpong, D., & Maclean, M. (2011). Scenario thinking: A practice-based approach for the identification of opportunities for innovation. Futures, 43(10), 1154-1163.

Van der Bijl-Brouwer, M., & Dorst, K. (2017). Advancing the strategic impact of human-centred design. Design Studies, 53, 1-23.

Von Hippel, E., & Von Krogh, G. (2016). Crossroads— Identifying viable “need–solution pairs”: Problem solving without problem formulation. Organization Science, 27(1), 207-221.



How to Cite

Balboni, B., Dosi, C., Marchini, S., Mincolelli, G., & Vignoli, M. (2021). N2T ‘Need to Tech discovery’ tool: enabling interaction with scientists in CBI students’ projects. CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation, 5(1), 22-31. https://doi.org/10.23726/cij.2021.1289