The article focuses on interesting and difficult theme of innovating based on user-research. “User-centered innovation” is problematic area of design and engineering since traditional user research methods seem to produce basis for incremental improvements instead of new and novel ideas and out of the box concepts.
The article includes apt critique about different user research approaches as well as using affinity diagramming as user research data analysis method. However, the approach and methods selected by the authors for their design project do not seem to differ much from the criticized ones. All in all, the Interactions article is a good start but it would be very interesting to see more broader research results of the topic instead of experiences and examples from a single design project. For example Donald Norman has commented on the same topic on his Interactions column (volume 17, issue 2) so this article does not seem to contribute as much as it could.