Go Crazy In Grad School?

One of my classes ended early March. One feedback that was given to everyone was why not go crazy with concepts and ideas when you are in a grad program. There is no risk you are taking.  I’v been thinking this quiet a lot recently. I’ve been preparing for summer internship position and going through projects I’ve done past 7 months. 

As a interaction design student, I would say probably 99.99% of the projects come from doing research. Whenever I go to a new class, almost every course has a slide with the famous Henry Ford's quote.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Then, what is the balance between taking in the research and the customer’s need versus going for something totally new? Where does research start for that? How do you validate that? Or does ‘go crazy’ mean have an extensive research done and brainstorm concept with your hunch that the crazy concept will be the one the users need?

It is really confusing to me. As a person who has a fine art background, I was all about expressing myself with my intuition. I came to this program for validation. Supporting ideas with research. 

I am guessing this ‘going crazy’ feedback can be taken in very differently in real life situation where there are money involved with each decision you make with your hunch. But shouldn’t preparing for those situations be part of graduate school? Also what about apple when they first launched iPhone and app store? I am pretty sure they did ton of research and knew what they were doing, but as a leading company in HCI and UX, how much of those were supported by the research?

Now as I write this down, I think I was using the word ‘research' somewhat confused with 'user testing’. Thinking back, crazy things don’t always arise from research but could be from ah-ha moments. Those projects may lack in research, but they get user tested and get validated. 

Well, I have about a year left with doing something crazy and trying new things that could be risky to even try in real life (maybe not). I am going to push myself to go outside the boundaries of what people wants rather than what people may need.