The focus of design studies has shifted from a product-centric perspective to a perspective in which value is defined by and co-created with the consumer, rather than embedded in the output. The reasoning hence focuses on the interplay between innovation and design processes. Moving from an earlier conceptualization of design-driven innovation, the attempt is to define the space of interaction between the different components of the innovation process. In this way a 3D innovation space can be sketched where different practices and experiences can be mapped. Through this exercise the key hypothesis of this work is empowered: no innovation is possible without design.
Infrastructure may also consist of digital platforms, physical spaces, public innovation spaces, information and logistic services (Manzini 2015) which support an ongoing alignment between contexts, cultures, attitudes and routines and the interaction among the several actors involved (including customers). In this sense, infrastructure is also related to activities of mediation, interpretation and further articulation of resources as proposed by Björgvinsson et al. (2010). According to this perspective, coherent with the Service Dominant Logic, designers propose the interface or the contextual conditions for the interaction to happen, and design the infrastructure, i.e. the processes supporting the interaction (Secomandi and Snelders 2011), but they cannot exactly control the outcome of the interaction happening through, as it happen in several services, in which value is essentially created by customers.
Starting from the seminal work of Verganti (2009), design driven innovation can be defined as a process of value production, creation, and development that adds radically new meanings to current functions (incremental innovation) or to new and possibly disruptive functions (radical innovation).
In his discourse, Verganti mostly refers to innovation in the industrial design field, and the examples he makes are mainly related to products (objects, however complex), which have been successful in the consumer market.
By so doing, alongside the contribution of technical experts, as in the traditional design concept, we will consider the role of creative people as well as the making of complex, distributed, interactive environments of crowdsourced creativity: a collective mind of creators (Castells 2017), the diffuse design agency. Introducing diffuse design as a relevant innovation factor implies that we capture opportunities for co-creation and co-creativity within the networks which are active or potentially activated in a specific context. In this view Design becomes a tool with which to envision the innovative potential to change practices and behaviours through new products, services, and platforms.
The 3D model of Design Enabled Innovation is based on two persuasions. The first considers there to be no innovation without design: however generative or adaptive the production of meanings may be, design keeps its innovation-enabling role by combining meanings with existing or new functions in order to develop conditions for value creation. This persuasion considers that many design activities take place in and for innovation, but we tend to ignore it when innovation is not disruptive or when its ability to conquer a wide large market is weak. When the creation of novelties does not achieve a large success, it is not due to the lack of design work in it rather for the huge, uncontrolled uncertainty and for the large amount of unpredictable factors. It is not possible to assert that design is involved only when innovation achieves a successful scale without incurring in a logical mistake of its definition.
Some writers use open and disruptive innovation in an ambiguous way. Looking at the 3D space we consider that open innovation can be supportive of disruptive innovation but it does not guarantee its occurrence. The openness in fact guarantees the introduction of potential innovation forces which may in turn introduce opportunities for innovation to be disruptive. Such innovation forces do not only contemplate expert design but also diffuse design agencies (Fig. 4.6).
In the literature, different concepts support the understanding of the interplay between design and innovation, thus underlying their reciprocity. This reciprocity is not only evident in the academic discussion but also in several public initiatives promoting design adoption in companies and institutions for guiding and supporting innovation (Table 4.2).
Diffuse design and expert design can support the preliminary activities of discovering opportunities and challenges, generating ideas and developing and testing. Expert design is then needed to further the innovation process through the activities of making the case and delivering and implementing. Finally, the perspective offered when design operates in a broader context helps for the activities to grow, scale and ensure their organisational adaptation/adjustment.
No residential collection for organic oil waste is carried out in Milan by the waste management agency. Still the organic oil waste has to be conveyed to dedicated waste collection centres in the city. In order to reduce the number of conferring activities, one family starts collecting organic oil waste in a bottle to be conferred less frequently. During a condominium meeting, the family suggests the collection be made for the condominium and a common decision is made to have a 5-liter pot used for oil collection. When the pot is full and one of the residents in the condominium goes to the waste collection centres, the pot is emptied and brought back and the cycle starts again. A small, local change which represents an innovation epiphany is achieved. This small, local change is fostered by diffuse design in the form of the ability of this group of families inhabiting this condominium to identify problems, generate ideas and prototype a solution.
The table below provides a summary on how design agencies can support various innovation activities in the Waste Collection story illustrated in the above box, which is mapped onto the three levels of innovation maturity (Table 4.4).
Small-scale and locally anchored innovation projects can be carried out by individuals or groups and their capacity to look at things from a critical perspective, to frame problems and imagine solutions (diffuse design). At this level, they select and aggregate resources in light of their wishes and needs and value emerges from their situated actions in the context of use.
As we have already discussed, expert design can bring innovation a few steps forward. Expert design can create infrastructures by pre-aggregating resources that come already structured in the form of products and/or services and, as such, it deploys resources that can be re-adapted, appropriated and tailored by individuals and groups. Innovation projects need design competences for a wider impact of the innovation itself, since design abilities are effective in reducing the gap between the development and the adoption of a solution by targeting the value creation process.
In the current world situation, more effective means, methods and solutions are needed to solve societal problems and challenges. Challenge-driven innovation is one of the most talked-about ways of achieving systemic change in recent years.
This working paper describes the tensions of challenge-driven innovation policy, as well as various trade-offs, which are negotiated in the planning, implementation, evaluation and financing of initiatives.
A central conclusion of the report is that there is no one right way to promote challege-driven innovation. Instead, decision-makers should be encouraged to discuss and highlight the methods they use when devising challenge-driven policies. Innovation is a process in which numerous value-based choices are made, which have an impact on how and what kind of innovations are supported.
The transparency of decision-making is one way to promote responsibility towards citizens and other stakeholders. The publication highlights four critical questions for future research and practice of challenge-driven innovation.
Sune Gudiksen has worked extensively with design, innovation management, future scenario design and strategic foresight. One medium of choice for him is play and game-based techniques to support stakeholder participation,high engagement, novelty in directions and quality learning outcome. He holds a PhD in co-design of services and business models through design thinking games and is currently associate professor in strategic design andinnovation management at Design School Kolding, Denmark. He has been a project leader of several projects at various national innovation networks. As well, he is project leader on international EU projects focusing on strategicdesign, innovation management and play and game techniques to support stronger development and learning. He has authored several international books over the years directed towards industries and practitioners, and published a number of conference papers and journal articles in design and innovation management.
Design-led innovation has recently emerged as an approach that assists companies to develop new capabilities to respond to changing markets. Previous research has shown that the application of design-led innovation to manufacturing businesses contributed to innovation across their business model, often repositioning the business and its offerings in the market. This article presents findings from a study where the researcher was embedded in an Australian firm, working four days per week for 11 months and using action research to apply design-led innovation. Deep insights from stakeholders were translated with the company staff into new value propositions for the company. This research demonstrates the largely untapped potential of an experienced designer as an innovation catalyst to help firms develop customer-inspired innovation as they use design-led innovation to overcome barriers and recognize opportunities within a changing market context. This study contributes new knowledge regarding benefits of design-led innovation in dynamic environments. 2b1af7f3a8