The HCI Innovator's Dilemma

Generating ideas and solutions, evaluating and refining them, and hopefully putting them into practice is the essence of an HCI professional’s life, whether it be in software or hardware. It is why we’re always armed with Post-it notes and dry erase markers — brainstorming, affinity diagramming, and sketching our way to a better future. As inventors and problem solvers, innovation is our game, and for this reason it is interesting to consider the lifecycle of HCI ideas. At first we might think that HCI, as a fundamentally technology-driven field, would largely follow along with other technology trends. Fortunately, many people have written extensively on the business and history of technology, creating a cornucopia of curves and charts to draw upon. In this article, I pull together a few notable ones to make the case that HCI does not follow a standard innovation lifecycle.



Harrison, C. 2018. “The HCI Innovator’s Dilemma.” Interactions, 25, 6 (October). ACM, New York, NY. 26-33.

© Chris Harrison