DESIGN AS THE AXIS OF THE INNOVATION STRATEGY/DIFFERENTIATION


  • USER-CENTRED DESIGN AS A GUIDE AND NUCLEAR ELEMENT OF THE INNOVATION STRATEGY
  • IT CONTRIBUTES RIGOUR TO INNOVATION PROCESSES
  • IT MAXIMIZES KNOWLEDGE OF THE USER AND HIS OR HER NEED
  • IT ENSURES THAT THE ENTIRE PROCESS IS USER-ORIENTED
  • AND IT GENERATES OPPORTUNITIES FOR DISRUPTIVE AND HIGH IMPACT INNOVATION
Design is most powerful when it is integrated into the corporate culture of a company, not only throughout the design and product development process, rather also when it becomes the guide for its innovation strategy aimed at finding a space of competitiveness because of the differentiation of its value proposal. Companies that employ design in an integrated manner with their competitiveness strategy are ready to discover new opportunities and to create products, services, brands or business models that are radically disruptive.

Design, as a nuclear element in the innovation strategy, offers possibilities for opening up new markets in which there is no competition, for launching highly differentiated products that are more attractive to the consumer and for strengthening brands that are close to commoditisation. Moreover, it can represent an added value for any organisation, whether it belongs to the industrial or the service sector, whether it is small, medium or large…

Considering Design to be the driving force behind the innovation process ensures that the user remains firmly in the centre; thus, by placing the individual at the centre of the process, Design humanises the innovation strategy and, through that strategy, the company itself.

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This approach confirms the value of User-Centred Design throughout the innovation process, from the Conceptual Design phase, passing through the Technical-Functional-Aesthetic design phases (design, prototyping and manufacturing/implementation) until the innovation process is completed with the design of a solution-service-experience-interaction product.

Compared to the stereotypes of total freedom and chance linked to innovation and design, design processes, structured with clarity and even coded, provide product/service innovation processes with the necessary rigour and targeted approach.

Design can be used in 3 ways:

  1. As a service: treated as an operational function, with a strictly defined task and designers who act as mere technical experts and who fulfil predefined tasks.
  2. As a key perspective in the development process: design and designers are involved in the process of developing a new product/service from beginning to end. In this case, Design plays a much more influential, even strategic role, at the same level as other functions such as marketing or advertising.
  3. As a strategic perspective: Design shapes the business strategy and often designers act as leaders of the strategic processes

Design is most powerful when it is integrated into a company’s corporate culture, not only throughout the design and product development process, but also by becoming the guide of its innovation strategy aimed at finding a space of competitiveness by differentiating its value proposition.

The “Ladder of Design,” presented in 2003-2007 by the Danish Design CENTRE explains the process whereby companies incorporate Design as a central activity in their structure:

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At the lower end of the ladder are the companies that do not employ Design or at most, use it within their product styling (final phase) or in their marketing materials (we might well say that a large majority of Spanish companies are at this stage). They derive limited benefit from this.

On the contrary, on rungs 3 and 4 we would find companies that employ Design in an integrated manner with the company’s competitiveness strategy. By doing so, they obtain two clear benefits:

They create better products, services, communication and brands. With Design applied to processes and strategy, user experience improves because the perspective of the user is taken into account from the outset. The company’s communication, as well as its products and/or services is carried out in an integrated and coherent manner, making it more attractive to the consumer. By placing the individual at the centre of the process, Design humanises the innovation strategy and, through it, the company itself.
Radical innovation. The design process helps to discover new opportunities and to create products, services, brands or business models that are radically disruptive. It applies to both the launch of new activities and to the revitalisation of commoditised sectors. Design can be used to challenge widespread assumptions and to devise concepts for completely new products, based on research that takes the user’s awareness beyond the obvious (or what the user himself can recognise and express).

Design, as a nuclear element in the innovation strategy, offers possibilities for opening up new markets in which there is no competition, for launching highly differentiated products that are more attractive to the consumer and for strengthening brands that are close to commoditisation. Moreover, it can represent an added value for any organisation, whether it belongs to the industrial or the service sector, whether it is small, medium or large…

This approach confirms the value of Design throughout the innovation process:

  • from the conceptual design phase, during which the real need of the user (Insight) is identified and the best incremental or, better yet, disruptive solution is put forward for that need (Vision),
  • passing through the simultaneous and mutually dependent Technical-Functional Design and Aesthetic Design phases that include the tasks of Solution Design and Prototyping, along with support for Manufacturing/Implementation,
  • until the innovation process is completed with the design of a solution-service-experience-interaction product (objects, people, space, time, movement, change…) optimised for the real need that was detected.

Considering Design to be the driving force behind the innovation process ensures that the user remains in the centre.

In addition, the stereotype says that design and innovation require total freedom and that the creative results are the product of inspiration and, often, chance. The reality is totally different: design processes, structured with clarity and even coded, provide product/service innovation processes with the necessary rigor and targeted approach.