strategic design & innovation

Design Driven Innovation Strategy

design insight value creation value propositions

Much of the current conversation about innovation is heavily skewed to that delivered through the application of new and scalable digital technologies. Whilst this captures the headlines, it is but one of three distinct strategic approaches to innovation:

1. the aforementioned focus on delivering radical or disruptive innovation that delivers quantum leaps in product or service performance. This is almost always driven by a 'technology push' approach.


2. focusing on improving currently available solutions to better meet customer needs - so called incremental or sustaining innovation. This approach is grounded in 'market pull' and is most effective when underpinned by the robust application of user centred design.


3. focusing on the radical innovation of meanings that delivers products and services that people love, but never knew they needed or expected. Distinct from user centred design, this strategy delivers innovations current users cannot imagine, and indeed the process is more akin to technology push than market pull. Sometimes referred to as 'design push', this is design driven innovation.


This third path involves taking an interpretive approach to innovation that is native to the design industries, but remained shrouded in mystique to industry outsiders until Roberto Verghanti published his widely acclaimed book 'Design Driven Innovation' in 2009.

The creative industries thrive through their understanding of what people could want; through their ability to realise radical innovation in meanings through identifying and leveraging emerging cultural paradigms. 

The interpretive process requires close collaboration with a highly selective cohort of talented individuals across a diversity of disciplines and industries. These networks are often many years in the making, the relationships that underpin them the result of heavy investment, and their quality dependent on the reputation of all parties involved.

Quite distinct from unbounded 'open innovation', design driven innovation requires organisations to develop a finely tuned external focus that considers and understands with whom they might derive valuable interactions, how they might attract those individuals and organisations to collaborate within their ecosystem; and what form the interaction should take.

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