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Innovation activities worldwide have been enhanced by the use of design, due to organizations utilizing it to create more e ective methods of problem solving. Though there is evidence to suggest the concept of design-led innovation (DLI) is gathering momentum – both within design practice and academia, little has been published to assist in undertaking such an activity. Recent studies have categorized DLI as a perspective rather than an evidence-based practice. This paper re ects on both extant literature and seven longitudinal DLI case studies to produce 20 best practice principles aimed to serve as a set of ‘ground rules’ for DLI practitioners. Its purpose is to foster a common understanding of DLI as a research domain and process. Arrived at in consultation with DLI Catalysts embedded within various organisations over a 12–24 month project implementation timeframe, these 20 principles represent a set of capabilities analyzed as being not only essential for the implementation of DLI, but of great assistance in overcoming its associated challenges. The author presents future work in this newly established area, as well as highlighting the principles themselves as a focus of future research. This is the rst paper which distils the principles of DLI from a non-literature perspective.
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International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation
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Principles and practices of a design-led approach
to innovation
Cara Wrigley
To cite this article: Cara Wrigley (2017): Principles and practices of a design-led approach to
innovation, International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation
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Principles and practices of a design-led approach to innovation
Cara Wrigley
Design Innovation Research Centre, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, Australia
Innovation activities worldwide have been enhanced by the use of design,
due to organizations utilizing it to create more eective methods of problem
solving. Though there is evidence to suggest the concept of design-led
innovation (DLI) is gathering momentum – both within design practice
and academia, little has been published to assist in undertaking such an
activity. Recent studies have categorized DLI as a perspective rather than an
evidence-based practice. This paper reects on both extant literature and
seven longitudinal DLI case studies to produce 20 best practice principles
aimed to serve as a set of ‘ground rules’ for DLI practitioners. Its purpose is
to foster a common understanding of DLI as a research domain and process.
Arrived at in consultation with DLI Catalysts embedded within various
organisations over a 12–24month project implementation timeframe,
these 20 principles represent a set of capabilities analyzed as being not
only essential for the implementation of DLI, but of great assistance in
overcoming its associated challenges. The author presents future work in
this newly established area, as well as highlighting the principles themselves
as a focus of future research. This is the rst paper which distils the principles
of DLI from a non-literature perspective.
1. Introduction
e role of design in organisational innovation has been the subject of much research – particularly
in the design and development of new products (Dorst, 2011; Verganti, 2008). More recently, it has
become widely understood that design can add signicant value to a rms strategic capabilities beyond
the development of a product or service (Borja de Mozota, 2010; Bruce & Bessant, 2002; Von Stamm,
2003). Design has redened itself from a purely downstream, manufacturing-related activity, to one
which adds strategic value to business (Battistella, Biotto, & De Toni, 2012; Brown, 2008; Martin, 2009).
is union of design and strategy is referred to as design-led innovation (DLI). DLI is a process for
business transformation, providing a mechanism where businesses are able to create an alternative
competitive advantage in the fast-paced global marketplace (Bucolo, Wrigley, & Matthews, 2012).
e concept of DLI has emerged in the last decade as a topical hybrid area of research, its rapid adop-
tion by both large and medium-sized rms worldwide has drawn attention to design and its strategic
value to organisational innovation (Bucolo & Wrigley, 2014). However, the adoption and use of DLI
remains fragmented, and there is little evidence (merely opinion) concerning the description of such
an innovation approach (Dong, 2015). Although researchers have called for a comprehensive approach
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Design-led innovation;
design principles; design
management; design
strategy; design practice
Received 1 June 2016
Accepted2 February 2017
CONTACT Cara Wrigley
to DLI both in academia and in practice, DLI largely remains focused on individual case studies,
approaches and isolated outcomes. While such attempts are important in providing broader generic
case studies and guidelines for implementing DLI, they fall short in contributing to the advancement
of DLI as a research domain or providing overarching guidance for the governance of DLI programs.
Further, it has been observed that many projects are labeled as DLI, despite the fact that they do not
abide by the essential principles of DLI. Frequently, methods such as Design inking are being applied,
but in too narrow a sense. is is the case for instance when Design inking eorts are made with
little consideration to the organisational governance structures required to leverage and maintain
such a business transformation, or to turn the results of such eorts into long-term benets for an
organization and its stakeholders (Kester, 2004). Arguably the problems in applying DLI in practice
are mirrored in scholarly work. Research indicates a more holistic coverage of DLI issues, such as
educational (Keeley, Walters, Pikkel, & Quinn, 2013) or cultural dimensions (Kyn & Gardien, 2009)
have emerged in isolation, with little mention of a uniting set of rules for how DLI should be executed.
Against this backdrop, this paper presents the 20 Principles of DLI – arrived at in consultation with
DLI Catalysts embedded within various organisations over a 12–24month project implementation
timeframe, but also drawing on the experience of the author and existing DLI literature. ese 20
principles set out to strengthen the theoretical core of DLI, so it can grow beyond its current bound-
aries (Borja de Mozota, 2002), and guide DLI initiatives in practice, in order to live up to its claim of
being an enabler of holistic and sustainable business transformation (Verganti, 2009).
2. The misuse and abuse of the term ‘Design’
Design; by historical denition, describes the process of planning, creating ideas, and implementing
ideas to improve the articial environment (Simon, 1969). In today’s economic environment, design
is being viewed as a critical strategic business resource, revealed through the success of design-inten-
sive organisations such as Apple, Proctor and Gamble, and General Electric. ese rms have acted
upon a deeper understanding of customers, and of subtle meanings in society, to deliver distinct value
propositions to customers and stakeholders (Verganti, 2008, 2009). Design, and the notion of Design
inking, is oering businesses a viable alternative to traditional, internal improvement approaches
as the key source for innovation. DLI provides a structured approach to the integration of Design
and Design inking as a mode of thought (Kyn & Gardien, 2009). DLI is the utilization of Design
inking within an innovation framework, and should not be confused with Design inking (Bucolo
et al., 2012). Unlike Design inking, DLI requires three components for an outcome to be considered
innovative: (i) user needs (also called human-centered design), (ii) technology (the core intellectual
property) and (iii) a business model (strategic value oering) (Bucolo & Matthews, 2011). ese areas
nominally identify the balance between multiple sectors (or silos) of any innovative business (Bucolo
et al., 2012) and leave the exploratory skills of the DLI team to the non-linear, unstructured ‘familiar
uncertainty’ of Design inking.
3. Design-led innovation
e term ‘design-led’ is dened by Bucolo and Matthews (2011) as the tools and approaches which
enable Design inking to be embedded as a cultural transformation within a business. For example,
the use of a narrative tool can be applied to explore each DLI component (user needs, technology
and business model) through visual storytelling mediums, enabling visions of the future to be quickly
prototyped (Zurlo & Cautela, 2014). More specically, being design-led requires a company to have a
vision for top line growth within their business, which is based on deep customer insights and expanded
through customer and stakeholder engagements, with the outcomes being mapped to all aspects of the
business to enable the vision to be achieved. By contrast, Design inking describes the way designers’
think and work to solve problems, typically from multiple perspectives, iteratively improving possible
solutions (Dorst, 2011; Kimbell, 2011; Beckman & Barry, 2008), whilst synthesizing the user’s needs
with what is technologically feasible and economically viable (Brown, 2008). Beckman and Barry (2007)
propose the core elements of Design inking are to circulate around value creation as the outcome
of problem-solving to improve the articial environment. Design rests within a problem state, repre-
sented through Beckman and Barry’s (2007) Innovation Process Framework. is framework consists
of the foundations of concrete (tangible) and abstract (intangible) worlds, intersected with analytic and
synthetic modes of thought. Design inking bridges the concrete worlds of problem identication
(observation) and problem-solving (solutions) with problem exploration (frameworks) and problem
reframing (imperatives), in order to implement solutions, which connect with the user at a meaning-
ful level. e framework builds upon the theoretical foundations of Owen (1998), who developed an
understanding of how knowledge acts as a bridge between realms of theory and practice; and, Kolb
(1984), who developed a matrix of learning styles underpinning problem-solving. Aligning to Kolb
(1984), Owen (1998), and Beckman and Barry (2007) state that the generation of new knowledge is
critical to progressing within an innovation process. e Innovation Process isolates design within each
of the four problem-solving stages, and links design to innovation – supporting the redened role of
design in organisational innovation.
DLI applies the underlying capabilities of Design inking, a user needs approach (empathy) not
only to the end-user (or consumer), but to partners’ and stakeholders’ needs also, providing a broader
platform for potential radical innovation (Bucolo & Matthews, 2011). DLI also extends the reach of
Design inking from a rm’s cultural philosophy, to an executable, objective-driven process with
the potential to drive top line growth and develop future competitive advantage (Bucolo & Wrigley,
2014). e inclusion of key stakeholders and partners as participants in the innovation process injects
greater scope for participatory design (Verganti, 2008). From these stakeholders’ needs, an ‘outside-in’
approach to business model innovation can be derived by integrating the values of relevant stakeholders
and prototyping (and experimenting) with these possible future constructs (Wrigley & Straker, 2016).
With the addition of design as an explorative lens within innovation processes, businesses are better
equipped to make sense of market opportunities and customer needs (Acklin, 2010). However, design
Figure 1.Design-led innovation framework (Bucolo et al., 2012).
tends to be limited to the management arena and is oen not leveraged at the higher strategic levels
of a rm. To overcome this, the DLI framework (Figure 1) builds upon Kolb (1984), Owen (1998),
and Beckman and Barry (2007) frameworks to assist a rm in the transformation to being design-
led. e DLI framework illustrates an iterative process that can assist companies to explore, capture
and realize the strategic value that design can bring to a business. is process allows designers to
integrate the tools and theories of their profession into a business context, represented by the four
quadrants created by the operational-strategic and external-internal axes. Central to this process is
the opportunity or value proposition that is informed by all aspects of the business. Starting with the
observation stage, the rm considers its customers at the commencement of the design process by
identifying its complete value chain. In the context of this framework, reframing is used to identify and
understand the meaning behind observations. ese informed insights can then be used to structure
the central opportunity to create a new value proposition. At this stage, it is possible to develop a new
competitive strategy that can then be prototyped and tested with stakeholders, in order to review and
challenge the existing brand message. is continual gure eight (innity loop) in the context of this
study was undertaken by the DLI Catalyst and the Design Champion.
4. The catalyst and the champion
Norman (2010) states that there is a huge gap between research and practice, proposing the new role
of a Transitional Developer. is role acts as the intermediary, translating research ndings into the
language of practical development and business, while also translating the needs of business into
issues that researchers can address (Norman, 2010). Martin (2011, p. 84) coined the term for a team
of Design inking coaches – ‘innovation catalysts’ – who could help managers work on initiatives
throughout the organization. In line with this proposition, Wrigley (2016) introduced the role of
a ‘Design Innovation Catalyst’ whose role within an organization is dened as the translation and
facilitation of design observation, insights, meaning and strategy, into all facets of the organization.
In recent case studies, Design Innovation Catalysts have been embedded within companies, enabling
engagement with many dierent internal and external stakeholders (Wrigley, 2013; Martin, 2011).
is is a vital aspect of the role, as they are iteratively prototyping solutions against the central value
proposition of the rm. Wrigley (2013, p. 5) states that a
Design Innovation Catalyst, must have the ability to design around the organisational constraints and barriers
while translating the language impediment that designers encounter when conversing with businesses and their
needs. e visual language of design can assist in this communication as well as the delivery of tangible outcomes
and additionally be used as a tool to facilitate a conversation between the two parties. is ‘facilitator’ needs to
speak both languages along with the ability to unpack design expression whilst simultaneously working within
the constraints of a business model.
In order to support and scaold these Catalysts from the day-today politics of the organization and
to also assist them in managing their research ndings up, Design Champions were selected, usually
nominated by the CEO and senior management as representative of the company. Specically, within
the context of this research, the design champion is positioned within the DLI team ‘primarily as an
advocacy role. Kyn and Gardien (2009) refer to this role as a ‘passionate championa role that
they believe increases the success of design-led change. e design champion is a middle manage-
ment employee, who reports directly to the company leaders. e design champion leverages his or
her position and status within the company to advocate and disseminate DLI within the executive
and management levels of the company. e Champion and Catalyst would meet weekly to plan and
discuss the DLI project progress.
5. The design-led journey
Derived from the DLI framework (Figure 1) a DLI approach was developed by the author, consisting
of 3 integrated stages and 10 sub-stages (Figure 2). ese are:
Dissect (understand, reveal and ask);
Learn (propose, prototype, provoke and reframe); and
Integrate (design, share and transform).
is overarching framework is a non-linear process, providing the mechanism by which, when
applied, design may be used to transform and dierentiate an organization. e extent to which the
framework is applied is dependent upon the specics of the organization including size, industry sec-
tor, market position, and corporate culture. Such a framework was used to scaold the Design Catalyst
(12–24month) project inside the organization (as seen in broken lines in Figure 2). Behind each of
the three stages were a series of questions, activities and tools to assist the catalysts in their innovation
approach to their embedded practice inside each dierent organisations (detailed in Appendix A).
6. Research approach
Running from 2012 to 2013 in Brisbane, Australia, the DLI research program saw seven ‘Design-led
innovation (DLI) catalysts’ (postgraduate research students) embedded within various organisations
to apply the DLI framework (Figure 1). Using the DLI Journey (Figure 2) as a foundation, research
questions were posed surrounding the challenges, barriers and opportunities (both perceived and
actual) to adopting a DLI approach within their respective organisations.
e objectives of the embedded research program are summarized as:
(1) To explore the value of DLI to the business.
(2) To pilot the adoption of DLI within the business through an agreed pilot project.
(3) To contribute to the development of the learning community and share common challenges
and strategies utilized to overcome barriers to DLI adoption.
Each DLI Catalyst journey continually moved throughout the DLI Catalyst Educational Framework
(Wrigley, 2013) (Figure 3), which illustrates how the Catalyst absorbs knowledge gained through
research within the university environment, and disseminates and implements this knowledge by
application to the industry project. Importantly, this industry experience is then translated into aca-
demic research as illustrated.
Each week the Catalysts spent 3–4days within the organization, and 1–2days in the DLI Lab on
the university campus. For the duration of the program, the DLI Lab provided a space for organisa-
tions to workshop ideas collectively, test new tools, share learnings, and explore the application of
new knowledge to their industry project. e DLI catalysts undertook action research to explore,
facilitate and demonstrate the uptake of the DLI process. is research method proved most suitable
Figure 2.Design-led innovation journey framework.
for this application as it built upon the natural process of planning, acting and critically reecting on
the results – bridging the gap between practice and theory (Dick, 2002). As the study aimed to identify
a set of capabilities essential for overcoming challenges associated with the implementation of DLI,
regular consultations with the DLI Catalysts were carried out over the duration of the project. Seven
longitudinal case studies were conducted within seven Australian organisations of varying industry
sectors as outlined in Table 1.
7. Data collection and analysis
Aer each of the seven catalysts spent 12–24months conducting their own action research projects
within the various organisations (detailed in Table 1), semi-structured interviews were conducted with
each catalyst at various times of throughout their engagement (longitudinal embedded projects) and
each individual interview lasted approximately an hour each. ey were questioned in regards to the
design process employed throughout the practice of facilitating a design-led approach to innovation
and were asked to identify principles they deemed important to DLI’s success, and to discuss examples
from their experience. From these interviews, an understanding of the key characteristics required for
DLI to facilitate organisational change was formed through thematic analysis and clustering. During
this process, 32 categories were highlighted as DLI principles. A thematic analysis protocol (Braun
& Clarke, 2006) was used to generate usable results despite dierences in each Catalyst’s experience
and approach to implementation.
8. Forming the principles
ematic analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1999) was conducted on the combined datasets in order
to identify the nature of responses (challenges and opportunities for best practice for DLI) in each
organization, and to compare changes in perceived value and actual project outcomes over time. is
Figure 3.Design-led innovation catalyst educational framework (Wrigley, 2013).
Table 1.Participant organization summary.
Industry sector Est. Size and sta
prot Project description Design catalyst role
Design cham-
pion role
purpose Value delivered References
A Transportation 1997 Multi-National
(250 + contrac-
4billion Project uses the devel-
opment of a digital
strategy as a catalyst for
the greater dissemination
of design-led innovation
across all departments
Catalyst worked to
integrate design
at all stages of
the innovation
pipeline to ensure
the firm was able
to encourage and
reward stakeholders
for creativity by pro-
viding the design
skills to articulate
their ideas
Apply DLI to
three projects
to help build
design capacity
in the organi-
A capability to
quickly visualise
and test ideas
with passengers
and stakeholders
and gather deep
customer insights
Price and Wrigley
Developing busi-
ness opportuni-
ties through de-
sign propositions
whilst aligning to
the firm’s vision
for the future
Price, Wrigley,
and Dreiling
Price et al.
B Healthcare 1938 Multi-national 260mil-
‘Innovating 4 Growth’ with
the goal being to redefine
the experience of ageing
and create social value
through the process. To
do this, the consumer
needs to be placed at the
locus of value creation
and innovative strategies
need to be utilized. This
can lead to the conceptu-
alization and implemen-
tation of a co-designed
value proposition and
business model
Role title was project
ocer-customer led
Age care
Seeking assis-
tance to inno-
vate for growth
in a dynamic
Visualise empathy
the customers
perspective of
the larger issue at
hand rather than
just the interac-
tion points with
the company
Nusem, Wrigley,
& Matthews,
Industry sector Est. Size and sta
prot Project description Design catalyst role
Design cham-
pion role
purpose Value delivered References
Non for profit
Role responsibility
was to identify and
leverage customer
insights into alter-
native and innova-
tive service, product
and business model
Nusem et al.
C Infrastructure 1999 Multi-national
2.5billion Investigating and demon-
strating how the Design
Led Innovation process
can help the firm gain
foresight into forthcom-
ing disruptive innovations
whilst change developing
business models to lever-
age the coming changes
Role was to demon-
strate the DLI pro-
cess by facilitating
the transformation
of deep customer
insights into busi-
ness models
R&D Manager Energy pro-
duction and
Seeking assis-
tance to inno-
vate for growth
in dynamic
Mapping of key
drivers and
stakeholders of
the business as
a reflection and
planning tool
Wrigley, and
The qualitative
process of gaining
deep customer
insights and
the results and
evidence of
low barriers to
performance of
such tasks
D Manufacturing 1989 SME (<10) A mapping and exami-
nation of existing custom-
ers, stakeholders and
distribution network, in
search for deep customer
insights and awareness
of the customer. The aim
was to generate an appre-
ciation of the central role
of the company’s value
proposition to the current
and potential customers
and shift the focus of
the firm
Knowledge and tool
broker between
academic theory
and practical firm
Seeking assis-
tance with
model and
and supplier for
retail trade
Provided new
tools, approaches
and reframing
Krabye, Wrigley,
Matthews, and
Bucolo (2013)
Table 1.(Continued).
Family owned Role was a facilitating
catalyst within the
firm to encour-
age re-thinking
and challenging the
status quo
A facilitator of
change inside the
business in order
to change from
being business
as usual to being
value and future
Increased aware-
ness, knowledge
and practice in
strategic design
thinking, created
a platform for fur-
ther development
of competitive
E Manufacturing 1985 Micro – SME
Project used a design-led
approach to innovation
in order to provide a new
perspective to challenge
the firm: making corded
blind system completely
child safe
Role was independ-
ent, self-directed re-
searcher embedded
within the research
and development
Product and
services; busi-
Seeking assis-
tance to inno-
vate for growth
in dynamic
Main value
delivered was in a
new customer en-
gagement model
where customers
were utilized in
the re-framing
of problems
and co-design a
solution with
Doherty et al.
Founded by CEO
F Manufacturing 1965 SME (122) 10–
Gathering and analyzing
deep customer insights
that could create a
stronger value propo-
sition for the product
that was launching. A
collaborative approach,
where possible, would
also help the researcher
to share the design-led
approach and teach
key stakeholders new
tools and approaches to
understanding the cus-
tomer and the customer’s
The design catalyst
involved applying
the design-led ap-
proach to generate
buy-in of the value
of using design
thinking to create
better business
model propositions.
Positioned as part of
the marketing and
team, the Product
Manager and
Marketing Manager
were key stakehold-
ers in the research
R&D Manager Specialized
supplier to
retail and
Seeking assis-
tance with new
product line
Permanent employ-
ment to continue
to deploy design
thinking tools
and techniques,
in order to
build stronger
relationships with
customers and
various stakehold-
ers in the value
Pozzey, Wrigely,
& Bucolo
Industry sector Est. Size and sta
prot Project description Design catalyst role
Design cham-
pion role
purpose Value delivered References
More customer
attention is being
placed on the
earlier phases
of new product
development to
ensure greater,
more sustainable
value proposi-
tions and design
briefs that are
strongly defined
G Manufacturing 1955 SME (>300) To understand and explore
the process landscape
and develop new busi-
ness model concepts for a
future customer support
To lead multiple DLI
projects within the
firm, as mechanisms
to inform the larger
customer support
business model
supplier to
retail and
New product
to pilot DLI
Saw a fundamen-
tal shift in its
thinking. The firm
now discusses
innovation across
all aspects of busi-
ness, and is doing
so without being
forced by eco-
nomic conditions
to innovate. This is
in part attributed
to the constant
engagement by
the firm with DLI
on a day-to-day
Matthews, and
Wrigley (2015)
Family owned
Table 1.(Continued).
triangulation of analysis (champions and catalysts) validated the thematic analysis (Patton, 2002), and
provided a richer understanding of the processes and benets gained by the participants. e following
process implemented to formulate the 20 principles of DLI is summarized as follows:
(1) Shaping of DLI understanding from literature.
(2) Identication of joint understanding of DLI through interviews.
(3) Analysis and clustering of understandings into rough principles.
(4) Identication and grouping of set principles using a focus group.
(5) Renement of the identied principles.
(6) Reection and renement of the 20 principles.
e resultant principles are presented in the following section. Each principle is discussed in terms
of its denition, its coverage in DLI research, and the implications of principle adherence/non-ad-
herence in practice.
9. The empirical results: DLI principles
Overall each of the seven organisations and catalysts implemented DLI dierently and with various
outcomes despite having the same framework and project scaolding and external supervision. e
diversity in outcomes and approaches was due partly to the dierence in the number of sta, industry
sector, prot turnover and motivation for design innovation on the whole. However, the aims of this
paper are not to compare the outcomes from each project but rather to develop distinct principles that
have resulted from the DLI processes. From this analysis 20 DLI principles and practices were formed
and are described in Table 2, company examples are given as supporting evidence in the following
section. Overall the ‘DLI Principles’ are dened in this context as:
A set of ‘rules’ or guidelines.
e requirements and obligations when employing DLI.
A system of behavior.
9.1. DLI Dialog Principle
e DLI Dialog Principle discourages semantics. Visualization methods (Liedtka & Ogilvie, 2011)
employed within DLI allow for those in dierent roles and professions; who use dierent terminology,
to share ideas and brainstorm without being hindered by strict denitions. Academics too share this
problem – where more time is spent classifying than dening and solving. e end result is that visual
thinking leads to less time talking (more commonly arguing) and more time doing (collaborating and
solving the problem). Many projects were caught up in the ‘buzz word’ of design within the organ-
ization. By eliminating the dialog and naming of the process until aer results had surfaced within
the company this allowed people to get involved early on and not be excluded in the process due to
semantic connotations. An example of this was seen from rm G who termed the projectcustomer-in-
spired design’ instead of DLI as they felt it gave a more relevant description of what DLI could oer
to the organization. It was interesting to note that majority of the executive level roles were engineers,
including the Managing Director of which the term ‘design’ was felt to host dierent connotations.
9.2. DLI Culture Principle
DLI Culture Principle leads collaborative change. Change in this context refers to a business which has
been transformed by the application of DLI principles – skills typically not present (or valued) within
existing corporate structures. ese transformations can require a shi in several critical aspects of
what dene the business – its culture; its organisational structure; or the way the business interacts with
or engages with its customers. Such transformations are rarely successful without collaboration across
all organisational departments and functions. Early buy-in is required in order for the organization
as a whole to own and accept the change. DLI applies a problem and understanding based solution to
make this happen. Firm E faced this problem when the project was unable to break the departmental
connes of product manufacturing. e teams perception and understanding of ‘design’ was seen as at
a product manufacturing oering, as they had oen outsourced this skill to consultant industrial design
rms. It was dicult to shi this perception especially outside the department the DIC was housed in.
9.3. DLI Fact Principle
DLI Fact Principle uncovers latent emotional needs. Deep customer insights are uncovered, previously
hidden or not openly, obviously or thoroughly understood, customer needs. DLI allows these needs
to be leveraged into new products or services, and perhaps ultimately a change in business model.
ough design uses a similar toolkit, it is the collective application of these tools as part of a larger
process that allows DLI to reframe the ‘wrong’ question to get the ‘right’ answer. is was seen through
rm A where it was demonstrated through the project (Price & Wrigley, 2016). Where the original
declining sales problem was addressed by rst uncovering latent needs through a deep customer insight
method, the re-framed solution was then co-designed with the rm and the implementation phase of
the project (which many others would have le at handover) came to fruition.
9.4. DLI Relationship Principle
DLI Relationship Principle de-silos innovation. For change to gather momentum an understanding
of all operational levels of the organization, and the needs of internal and external stakeholders must
be understood. is cannot happen where innovation is considered the realm or responsibility of
one department or corporate function. DLI engages those previously not involved in the innovation
pipeline to table their ideas and provide alternate perspectives previously not considered. A good
example of this can be seen through rm D, as they went from production to purpose through the
12months the catalyst was there. e rm consisted of two General Managers with diering visions
Table 2.Design-led innovation principles.
No. Principle Practices
1 DLI Dialog Principle The DLI Dialog Principle discourages semantics
2 DLI Culture Principle DLI Culture Principle leads collaborative change
3 DLI Fact Principle DLI Fact Principle uncovers latent emotional needs
4 DLI Relationship Principle DLI Relationship Principle de-silos innovation
5 DLI Possibility Principle DLI Possibility Principle provides a platform for radical thinking
6 DLI Facilitation Principle DLI Facilitation Principle indicates that tools facilitate the process not the solution
7 DLI Results Principle DLI Results Principle helps set the right targets
8 DLI Questioning Principle DLI Questioning Principle teaches listening is not inaction
9 DLI Ideals Principle DLI Ideals Principle requires consistent application to lead to best practice
10 DLI Resistant Principle DLI Resistant Principle challenges the most ingrained status quo
11 DLI Assumption Principle DLI Assumption Principle questions the boundary assumptions of Systems Thinking
12 DLI Action Principle DLI Action Principle crafts the fast prototypes, as failure is a necessary part of success
13 DLI ‘Why’ not What’ Principle DLI ‘Why’ not ‘What’ Principle explains that the designs the business model not the
14 DLI Time Principle DLI Time Principle focuses on top line growth
15 DLI Lasting Change Principle DLI Lasting Change Principle is a full-time role
16 DLI Commitment Principle DLI Commitment Principle requires ground work for buy-in
17 DLI Value Principle DLI Value Principle teaches the value of the customer perspective
18 DLI Conduct Principle DLI Conduct Principle operates without company culture bias
19 DLI Intersection Principle DLI Intersection Principle amalgamates to create by seeking out and exposing
dynamic tensions
20 DLI Intuition Building Principle DLI Building Intuition Principle has rules, but they need not be followed
(and subsequent department) for the company. Much of the project consisted of breaking down these
silos and building a mutual relationship through a shared vision and strategy.
9.5. DLI Possibility Principle
DLI Possibility Principle provides a platform for radical thinking. Conservative growth targets chased
by senior management are usually in response to corporate bonus structures, negating the drive for
long term more radical innovations. Playing it safe can only lead to incremental changes, radical
changes may be required to generate value, however, corporate culture can prevent individuals coming
forward with drastically dierent ideas. DLI promotes the sharing of disruptive ideas, and provides
an environment where such ideas are encouraged. Risk taking, originality, and anticipation of future
trends are rewarded. is was seen in the success of a newly formed and prototyped business model
design by rm B (Nusem, Wrigley, & Matthews, 2017a, 2017b). is saw a very risk adverse organi-
zation invest heavily in their newly formed value proposition based again on deep customer insights
in response to a changing customer base. In such a risk adverse culture with a conservative board,
such a project took much leadership from the Design Champion (Nusem, Defries, & Wrigley, 2015).
9.6. DLI Facilitation Principle
DLI Facilitation Principle indicates that tools facilitate the process, not the solution. Tools are not the
answer, but rather facilitate the conversation – allowing the right questions to be asked. DLI consists
of more than just a toolset. It is the combination of tools, thinking styles and processes. All catalysts
were interviewed in regards to their approach and use of design tools during their embedded prac-
tice. Results highlight the value of tools expands beyond their intended use to include; facilitation
of communicating, permission to think creatively, and learning and teaching through visualization
(Straker & Wrigley, 2014).
9.7. DLI Results Principle
Incentives drive behavior. KPIs targeting incremental improvements form obstacles to real transfor-
mational change. erefore, alternatives to traditional KPIs must be supported by upper management
to change existing behaviors. Once the rst project is delivered utilizing a DLI approach the outcomes
(results) and these returns on investments can be measured and evaluated by the rm. As seen in the
case of rm B where the new solution was executed, the return on investment was calculated, results
were attributed to the DLI process and in turn increased its appetite for the approach to innovation
to be disseminated in additional departments of the organization.
9.8. DLI Questioning Principle
DLI Questioning Principle teaches listening is not inaction. Frequently, jumping to a solution without
fully understanding the problem destroys value. More is to be gained by uncovering a customer’s real
issues, needs, and desires than by being rst to market with a undesired product. Understanding these
aspects places a company in a better position to produce desired products or services, providing them
a competitive advantage. Firm C took a large team within the R&D department out to customers’
homes to listen to their problems instead of selling them the rm’s services. Results yielded a new skill
of listening to the problems of customers, questioning if their service did indeed oer value and solve
any unresolved customer issues (Stevenson, Wrigley & Matthews, 2016).
9.9. DLI Ideals Principle
e DLI Ideals Principle requires consistent application to lead to the best practice of the DLI frame-
work, and meeting the 10 objectives (signposts) over the three categories of dissect, learn and integrate.
Where this journey begins depends largely on a company’s culture and design maturity. As a result
of both this variance in starting point, and more importantly, the dynamic nature of the market and
greater business environment, DLI is an iterative process. DLI should not simply be applied once
and forgotten, considered ‘done’ or ‘ is evidenced by the various outcomes described
in Table 1.
9.10. DLI Resistant Principle
DLI Resistant Principle challenges the most ingrained status quo. Existing business practices are not
easily changed. is is particularly true for larger companies or those where corporate culture or
business identity is heavily tied to a product or service considered ‘key.’ As if to deliberately impose an
obstacle to change, many of these companies have implemented strict change management’ policies
where even what could be considered a small, perhaps insignicant change is held up to scrutiny.
ough there are good risk management reasons for insisting on such a process, this can hinder pos-
itive change. DLI insists that no one or no ideas are exempt from criticism or questioning. e larger
organisations had stronger more transformational outcomes such as a new business model rm B and
newly implemented digital strategy rm A, however, this being said they indeed have more resources
to invest compared to the smaller SMEs who were indeed more agile.
9.11. DLI Assumption Principle
DLI Assumption Testing Principle questions the boundary assumptions of systems thinking. A system
thinking approach argues that the only way to fully understand a problem is to understand the parts
in relation to the whole. In DLI, these ‘parts’ are considered to be less well dened, or perhaps more
aptly, assumed to be less well understood. is questioning of the location or even existence of system
‘part’ (component) boundaries is of substantial benet when re-framing the problem.
9.12. DLI Fail Action Principle
DLI Action Principle cras the fast prototypes, as failure is a necessary part of success. e concept
of failing fast is intrinsically linked to the notion that all ideas are valid and worthy of further testing.
As a minimum, failures should generate data on what doesn’t work, and prompt a company to further
investigate why. Failures can only be tolerable as part of a process that accepts them as such. Design
integrated companies with the correct mindset or attitude know this and benet from it. ey benet
from less buy-in resistance, sustained momentum towards a solution, and faster prototypes.
9.13. DLI ‘Why’ not ‘What’ Principle
DLI ‘Why’ not ‘What’ Principle explains that the design of the business model not the product stems
from the underlying latent customer need. Individuals have strengths and weaknesses. Typically an
individual chooses a career based on their strengths, oering their services (what they are good at), to
the market. is is a product-orientated oering, and not one based primarily on customer need. To
oversimplify, companies are but a pooled collection of these generally aligned strengths. With their
corresponding service oerings, it is not unexpected that most businesses are product-orientated, with
business models that reect this. DLI allows for a re-evaluation of these existing business models
designing from the outside in. All catalysts were studied in regards to this principle only to discover
that DLI methods were able to provide fresh, non-obvious ways of understanding customer needs,
problems and behaviors that can become the foundation of new business opportunities. Findings
concluded that DLI methods provide the critical layer to understand why customers do and don’t
engage with businesses. Revealing why was not accessible in traditional market research methods and
business model innovation (Price, Wrigley, & Straker, 2015).
9.14. DLI Time Principle
DLI Time Principle focuses on top line growth. DLI is a process focused on business transformation.
Nurturing and developing a culture of innovation within a business is a long-term process requiring
a vision for the future shaped by market analysis and deep customer insights. It requires access to
valuable company resources, which may include production capacity, key personnel, and substantial
funding. ese requirements cannot be met in an environment where a reduction in costs is considered
the key driver of long-term protability or competitive advantage.
9.15. DLI Lasting Change Principle
DLI Lasting Change Principle is a full-time role. ough DLI is an iterative process with no scheduled
endpoint, in order for its application to be successful, DLI should be resourced with the same disci-
pline and thoughtfulness as any large, complex, or important project. Similarly, roles within the DLI
team – such as the DLI Champion, and the DLI Catalyst are full-time roles, requiring a commitment
to the entire process. Where an external individual is embedded within the business as a dedicated
resource, this has two distinct advantages:
(1) A fresh perspective to gage issues no longer apparent to existing employees.
(2) e establishment of trust that can only come from being considered part of the team
something an external consultant would nd hard to replicate.
9.16. DLI Commitment Principle
DLI Commitment Principle requires groundwork for buy-in. e only way to challenge authority was
by rst completing the ground work (talk without action is rhetoric only). DLI proclaims no idea is
sacred and the non-attachment to ideas and concepts, leave room for new possible future creations. It
was found successful to build agile solutions with the customer to make sure that the concept resonated
with them during conceptualization and implementation. is can be seen in all the DLI projects A-G.
9.17. DLI Value Principle
DLI Value Principle teaches the value of the customer perspective. By focusing on the customer, asking
and answering every question from their perspective it makes sure they are at the center of everything
the organization does and everything they stand for. ey are the reason the business exists and the
reason the company will either remain relevant or not in the future. An example of this disconnect
was in the case of rm E where a value exercise was run with three dierent levels of all sta in the
organization and then compared results. Findings presented were a misalignment of purpose within
the levels and this then prompted the Catalyst to restructure the company strategy and three year
vision plan (Doherty, Wrigley, Matthews, & Bucolo, 2015).
9.18. DLI Conduct Principle
DLI Conduct Principle operates without company culture bias. Communicate change/new visions
and strategies through a collaborative process and remain autonomous from company culture. is
was found to be much easier to do when you are an embedded researcher as opposed to a full-time
employee. Firm politics was found to be in all studies A-G, however, their conduct as a researcher vs.
conduct as an employee meant they were somewhat removed from it, allowing them access to sta
and resources not available to all employees.
9.19. DLI Intersection Principle
DLI Intersection Principle amalgamates to create by seeking out and exposing dynamic tensions and
contradictions internally and externally to the organization. It is at these intersects that the catalyst
learns to manage tensions. By intersecting the study of design theory, management strategy and inno-
vation adoption, DLI proposes and forges future possibilities for successful competitive advantage.
DLI values conicting perspectives and it is at these tension points that the catalysts could introduce
future scenarios in order to leverage these constraints into a solution.
9.20. DLI Intuition Building Principle
DLI Building Intuition Principle has rules, but they need not be followed. Designers have intuitive
design instincts and are not as compliance driven as other disciplines – breaking rules is what makes
design, design. is was a constant variable in the A-G studies where all DLI Catalysts were professional
designers (mainly Industrial Designers). Despite having a framework (Figure 1) and a set of stages
with corresponding design tools (Appendix A), the DLI Catalysts constantly adapted the approach to
best t the context of the longitudinal study. Further research to include and compare non-designers
as catalysts could possibly eliminate this principle in the future.
10. Implications for DLI practice and research through the 20 principles
For practice, the 20 principles provide prescriptive statements on how to scope and implement DLI
as well as normative advice on what not to do. e condensed form of the statements helps to better
master the understanding of a design-led approach to drive innovation inside organisations. ese
principles can also be used as a checklist in order to assure the appropriateness of a DLI approach.
Results may seem simple and some principles obvious in nature, however, the longitudinal research
supporting each of the seven case studies was multifaceted and complex to implement (see Table 2).
e challenge with this newly emerging eld remains in the clarity of purpose, process and application.
For research, the intention is to foster a joint understanding of what DLI actually requires in order
to be applied successfully, i.e. an understanding of what characterizes DLI as a research domain and
what guides its successful use in organisational practice. e related research challenge is thus to
examine how existing methods and tools need to be chosen, extended or revised to incorporate the
extended scope and application areas – be it to be able to visualize relevant information for novel
purposes such as the potential. Further research should concentrate on validating these principles
and practices through further implementation and testing.
In this paper, the 20 principles of DLI are presented. ese principles are considered a starting
point for an important discussion on further shaping the DLI domain both in academia and practice.
e foremost intention is to foster a joint understanding of what DLI actually requires in order to be
applied successfully, i.e. an understanding of what characterizes DLI as a research domain and what
guides its successful use in organisational practice. It is not argued that every single contribution
needs to cover the entire scope of the 20 principles, but every initiative needs to consider its specic
contribution to the overall eld of DLI.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the author.
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Appendix A
DLI stage Sub-stage Driving question Description Design tools
Dissect Understand What business are
you in?
What is your company’s purpose or what is your why? The business model canvas (analysis)
What is your value proposition? Activity map (analysis)
What dierentiates you from your competitors? Identify your thinking style and cultural thinking
What do you do on a daily basis that reinforces this point of dierence? 3 horizons model
What activities could you do less of that do NOT reinforce this point of dierence? Innovation audit (incremental, platform or radical)
How would you describe your innovation process and portfolio? Competitor analysis
What is the biggest problem your market is facing? SWOT analysis
How have you addressed this through innovation in your company? Dynamic SWOT analysis
What are the dierent activities your company undertakes in the three horizons model?
Reveal Who are your stake-
Describe your customers and or stakeholders? Listening skill development tool
Who are they (name, age, profession)? Journey map
Why have they chosen to purchase or engage with your product and or services? Emotional touch point timeline
What are some of the biggest issues they encounter in their daily lives? Persona
What do they value? What market segmentation data do you have?
What do they need and want? Demographics and psychometrics
What are their aspirations and routines? A day in the life of….
How do you engage with customers? Storyboarding
When was the last time you engaged with a real customer?
Ask Do you have a match-
ing strategy?
Describe your strategy? Constantly question and seek out contradictions
Is everyone in the organization aware and in alignment with the same strategy? What is your why?
Do the internal stakeholders know and or share the same strategy vision? Golden circles
How does your strategy align with your customers? Is your company united in their golden circles?
Do your current product and or service oerings help solve their biggest issue? Activity map comparison
What sort of dierence do you make to their lives? Business model canvas analysis
Is your company still relevant?
Learn Propose What are the pro-
posed assump-
How do you shift your companies perspective from a YOU to a THEM approach? Persona
Describe their issues, concerns, aspirations and values? Build idea maturity rather than absolutes
Test any assumptions about your customers by failing fast and building upon it with insights Narratives
Can you map your assumptions of customers and stakeholder values and insights with your
current company strategy?
Deep customer insights
Build your personas into various narratives for various stakeholders based on the all the
internal information you have as well as any assumptions
5 whys
Value chain analysis
Stakeholder journey mapping
Prototype What are the valued
Prototype your narrative with your stakeholder to gather deep customer insights Succeed early by failing fast
DLI stage Sub-stage Driving question Description Design tools
This is done through the storytelling/narrative technique followed by a thematic analysis Examples of business model canvas models
Build upon your assumptions with valued insights Narrative
Value proposition assessment
Thematic analysis
Provoke What new meanings
have you created?
If you iterate the (propose, prototype, provoke) process what patterns of meaning are
Customer interviews
Do the new propositions uncover new meanings? Thematic analysis
What are some of the common patterns of meaning that emerge? Value proposition assessment
Can you validate the meaning of the new oering by provoking your customers’ true
Emotional design
How can the use of dead reckoning guide the process
Re-frame What new oppor-
tunities can you
provide value to?
What are some solutions to the common patterns of meaning? Emotional touch point timeline
Are you constantly challenging and seeking alternatives? Re-frame against customer insights
Prototype and evaluate against strategy What is the new value proposition?
What are the alternative product and or service oerings that incorporate the new customer
valued insights?
Compare activity maps
Do they reflect the company strategy? Compare business model canvas
Are they bold enough?
How can we do things dierently?
What new business models are possible?
What are the new propositions?
Integrate Design What are the new
product and service
Design new solutions to capitalize on these opportunities and maximize your capabilities. Design new solutions to the new found problems
What is the revised business model for this new value proposition? Contextualize findings within the business
How dierent is it to the existing business model? New activity map
How dierent is this to the existing strategy? New business model canvas
What will need to change? Narratives
What new capabilities do we need?
Which ones are no longer relevant?
How do you ensure we deliver value at each touch point?
How do you map this to all aspects of the business?
Appendix 1.(Continued).
Share How do you collec-
tively execute on
How do you share your solutions with the company? Pitching
What are all the blockers from their perspective on why this can NOT be executed? Visual communication
What key activities, assets and relationships do your company require to overcome these
Design champions inside the organization
What capabilities do you require and what can you use? Co-design (internally and then externally)
How do you overcome the blockers and co-design the solution with all stakeholders? Narrative of the future of the sector the business
is in
How do you pitch internally? Bring people along internally
How do you sell the idea or process from the bottom up or from the top down?
What are the challenges with communication thins?
How would you communicate it?
Transform How do you execute
and integrate these
learnings across the
entire organiza-
How will you educate and execute the cultural change in the company required to facilitate
this process?
Activity map today and tomorrow
By learning from the process and encouraging exploration in your employees your company
will be most responsive to change
Business model for tomorrow
How will you disseminate this common language across the company? Customer of tomorrow
How will you ensure constant challenging and refinement of understanding? How do you get there?
... Partial mapping of design-led innovation into PSI. Some sentences were copied verbatim from (Wrigley, 2017 Reveal, ask, Propose, prototype, provoke, reframe, design, share Co-design (internally and then externally) By learning from the process and encouraging exploration in your employees your company will be most responsive to change Other design tools from appendix A Table 2. PSI model of the research project. Some sentences were copied verbatim from (Wrigley, 2017). ...
... Some sentences were copied verbatim from (Wrigley, 2017 Reveal, ask, Propose, prototype, provoke, reframe, design, share Co-design (internally and then externally) By learning from the process and encouraging exploration in your employees your company will be most responsive to change Other design tools from appendix A Table 2. PSI model of the research project. Some sentences were copied verbatim from (Wrigley, 2017). ...
In an editorial of the International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation, I argue that many focused research studies do not lead to an overall comprehensive understanding of creativity and innovation.
... The perspective is taken to view climate adaptation as a spatial challenge [21] and positioning 'design' as the primer for finding holistic solutions [22][23][24]. This way, by design, the implications of an adaptive landscape are exemplified for the northern Groningen area in The Netherlands. ...
... Designing a staged process of implementing an adaptive future landscape making use of the moments in time that manifest themselves as crucial changes or bifurcation points [59][60][61][62], linked to the estimated step changes [63,64] in climate change. The character of the applied methodology is design-led [22][23][24], bringing together three approaches to planning in an interactive way. Firstly, a collaborative and co-creative way of working in which experts and stakeholders contribute to the end-result in a design charrette context [65][66][67][68] is applied. ...
Full-text available
In the Anthropocene, climate impacts are expected to fundamentally change the way we live in, and plan and design for, our cities and landscapes. Long-term change and uncertainty require a long view, while current planning approaches and policy making are mostly short-term oriented and are therefore not well suited to respond adequately. The path-dependency it implies causes an irresolvable dilemma between short-term effect and long-term necessities. The objective of the research is to investigate an alternative planning and design approach which is able to overcome the current constraints and take a holistic long-term perspective. Therefore, the methods used in the study underpin a creative process of future visioning through backcasting and finding a dynamic equilibrium in the past as a primer for long-term climate adaptation. This way, the individual vulnerabilities of current sectoral policies can be leapfrogged and integrated into one intervention. This design-led method is applied to the northern landscape of the Groningen region in the Netherlands. This intervention is positioned as a re-dynamization of the landscape by re-establishing the exchange between the land and the sea. The findings in the study show that a long-term perspective on the future of the regional landscape increases climate adaptation and enriches the opportunities for viable agriculture, increased biodiversity, and a raised land that is not only protected against possible storm surges, but benefits from the sediments the sea brings. The economic analysis shows that a new perspective for farming within saline conditions is profitable on a fraction of the land, the biodiversity can be enriched by more than 75%, and the ground level of the landscape can be raised by one meter or more in the next 50–100 years. Moreover, the study shows how a long-term perspective can be implemented in logic stages that comply with the natural step-changes occurring in climate change.
... Design som prosess kan gi raskere utvikling av nye produkter og tjenester, redusere risikoen knyttet til innovasjonsprosjekter og få nye produkter raskere ut i markedet (Cooper mfl., 2017). Designtenkning og andre designledede tilnaerminger kan brukes i bedriftens innovasjonsarbeid (Wrigley, 2017), oggoddesignledelse bidrar til økt innovasjonsevne (Kootstra,2009). 6. Bidra til økt lønnsomhet. ...
... Bruk av visuelle strategiverktøy vil kunne bygge bro til designutviklingen. Vi snakker her om en designledetstrategiprosess (Wrigley, 2017). Hvordan skal vi differensiere merket og skape riktige merkeassosiasjoner? ...
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Design kan vaere et strategisk verktøy for å posisjonere, skape positive assosiasjoner, forsterke og øke verdien på merker og merkevarer. Design kan reflektere og materialisere virksomhetens strategi og verdier overfor kundene. Studier viser at strategisk utvikling og bruk av design kan vaere en suksessfaktor for innovasjon og ny-skaping. Likevel utvikler mange bedrifter design løsrevet fra selskapets strategi og mål. Dermed går de glipp av potensialet som ligger i å bygge bro mellom strategi og design for å utvikle eller forsterke merker og øke merke-verdien. Med utgangspunkt i forskning fra relevante fag-områder og praksis presenterer vi designstrategi som en brobygger mellom strategi og design samt en modell i seks faser som viser hvordan bedrifter kan koble design-strategi direkte opp mot virksomhetens strategi. Selv om merkebygging som fag og praksis endrer seg som en følge av ny teknologi og digitale løsninger, er det ikke alt som endrer seg.
... The role of an industrial designer is to design value drivers for products (Wrigley, 2017, Heskett, 2002, Conway, 1995 which will be no different for designers engaging in It has been known since the 1980s that industrial design has consistently been a part of manufacturing and in driving innovation (Moody, 1980). Moody (1980, p. 331) describes industrial design as acting as "the interface of technological hardware and people", since designers act as 'translators' of scientific developments into new technical innovations while at the same time relating and 'bridging' these developments to human needs and wants. ...
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The industrial design profession is on the verge of another manufacturing revolution commonly referred to as Industry 4.0. This paradigm shift will influence the way in which products are made, which subsequently, will influence the future industrial designer. Industrial design, which is evolving, is intrinsically linked to manufacturing; however, what is required of industrial design to adapt to these new changes to be brought on by Industry 4.0 in manufacturing is yet unknown. Current literature gives little insight into how industrial designers need to adapt and evolve to the current developments in manufacturing to remain value drivers in an Industry 4.0 paradigm. This provides an impactful research gap focusing on how the industrial design field must evolve to stay relevant and provide value for future manufacturing in this new evolving paradigm. This thesis uses a mixed methods approach, beginning with a focus group for a pilot study to construct questions for a subsequent online questionnaire. This questionnaire was formulated using the existing literature on industrial design to establish the present state of industrial design practice globally and to identify areas for improvement, as well as opportunities for growth within the discipline. This approach helped define and communicate the capabilities and value of industrial design for future manufacturing industries. Core values of industrial design were found to be stable, however these need to be communicated more effectively to production-based stakeholders to facilitate adequate collaboration. Furthermore, it was established that industrial designers lack technology literacy, and that early manufacturing engagement is critical for industrial designers to have a successful collaborative experience for new product development. Industrial designers must also embrace new technologies that correspond with their core strengths to successfully evolve alongside an Industry 4.0 manufacturing environment. The outcome of this thesis provides an empirical foundation for the future of industrial design in relation to its value to manufacturing, as well as expanding and adjusting the industrial design curriculum in universities to stay relevant in an Industry 4.0 manufacturing environment.
... The area at the intersection between DT and strategic management has been defined 'design-led strategy' (Knight et al., 2020). Therefore, the diffusion of DT in business consulting and a growing academic interest in the role of consultants as advisors in creativity and innovation processes are not a surprise (Wrigley, 2017). However, without more solid groundings in designerly thinking (that is to say, with the theory and practice of design as originally conceived by designers), there is a risk for DT to quickly become just another approach proposed by consultants, valid and appreciated until another, more attractive perspective, replaces it (Johansson-Sköldberg et al., 2013). ...
The job of designers and business consultants features undeniable commonalities: focus on complex organizational problems, nearly constant exposure to ambiguity, difficulty in measuring performance and need to leverage knowledge and other intangible assets. Synergies between the disciplines of design and business consulting have increased in the last couple of decades. Design Thinking has emerged as an approach to solve business problems by thinking like a designer to leverage creativity and innovation. Despite its success, this has also raised some criticism: a diffused skepticism toward a public relation term that entails expensive invoices to simply apply old-fashioned creative thinking. What do the real protagonists think of Design Thinking and its application in the business world? We explored the perceptions of designers and business consultants on the theory and practice of Design Thinking. We interviewed 11 such professionals and our findings identified significant differences in perceptions around the essence, practicality and value of Design Thinking. Our research supports calls in the literature for establishing stronger connections between the principles of designerly thinking and the practice of Design Thinking in business.
... Climate adaptation is viewed as a spatial challenge [25], positioning 'design' to discover holistic solutions [26][27][28]. This way, adaptation is designed for the Zernike campus, located on the northern fringe of the city of Groningen in the Netherlands ( Figure 2). ...
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Global climate change impacts the future of urbanism. The future is increasingly uncertain, and current responses in urban planning practice are often human-centered. In general, this is a way to respond to change that is oriented towards improving the life of people in the short term, often extracting resources from the environment at dangerous levels. This impacts the entire ecological system, and turns out to be negative for biodiversity, resilience, and, ultimately, human life as well. Adaptation to climatic impacts requires a long-term perspective based in the understanding of nature. The objective of the presented research is to find explorative ways to respond to the unknown unknowns through designing and planning holistically for the Zernike campus in Groningen, the Netherlands. The methods used in this study comprise co-creative design-led approaches which are capable of integrating sectoral problems into a visionary future plan. The research findings show how embracing a nature-driven perspective to urban design increases the adaptive capacity, the ecological diversity, and the range of healthy food grown on a university campus. This study responds to questions of food safety, and growing conditions, of which the water availability is the most pressing. Considering the spatial concept, this has led to the necessity to establish a novel water connection between the site and the sea.
Among the various factors affecting creativity and innovation, workspace environment has not been fully considered by most organizations. The literature on innovation shows that few empirical studies have investigated the influence of workspace environment on creativity and innovation. Using Ucommune (i.e., one of the largest makerspaces and entrepreneurial ecosystems in China) as an example, this research explored to what extent workspace environments affect individual and team creativity and innovation in organizations. The main results include that physical and non-physical environments contribute positively to employees’ individual and team behaviors. In addition, individual behavior can help improve employee creativity and enhance team behavior, but the direct impact of individual behavior on innovation is insignificant. Finally, team behavior can enhance organizational innovation. The findings thus provide empirical support for the increasing importance of the impact of workspace environments – especially their physical aspects – on creativity and innovation.
Over the last twenty years, tertiary education in Australia has radically changed. Major growth in the sector and federal government policy and funding changes have resulted in an increase of providers and a diversification of the quality of education available on the market, particularly in vocational education. Although change presents insecurity and ambiguity for education providers, it also presents an opportunity for proactive and adaptable providers to transform and disrupt the sector by designing an innovative value creation strategy to diversify or target their offering. To understand the current landscape, this paper explores the business models of 50 Australian tertiary education providers and groups these into seven business model typologies. Focusing on public vocational education providers, the paper identifies the ability of their current business model to meet skills-based gaps in the future, including their future customers, and states potential ‘white space’ opportunities for innovation.
Background Biomedical engineers are developing new mechanical circulatory support pumps. Clinicians are generating and analysing new evidence for their prescription and management. Industrial designers are generating usable solutions for wearable components and controllers. However, psychosocial considerations may be falling between the cracks of the three disciplines because of their multi-faceted nature. Objectives This article seeks to identify psychosocial needs raised in previous work, re-frame them as needs for future products and services, and discuss routes to solutions. Methods SLR extracted 225 statements on psychosocial considerations from 42 included articles. 23 codes were inductively generated and applied to relevant datapoints. Codes were consolidated under 4 main themes and re-framed as solvable problems. Results Identified themes: expanded remote care, improved multidisciplinary management tools, creating easier interactions; and extending patient engagement. Conclusions Design-driven methods have been used to solve analogous problems in other contexts and can address the identified psychosocial problems if implemented fully.
Until its highly publicised downfall, Theranos was a so-called unicorn; with a compelling proposition to popularise routine blood testing by making it more convenient, using a smaller sample of blood, and testing at a lower cost than conventional, often fear-inducing needles. Holmes and Theranos were reliant on their development of new technology to bring their idea to life, however they instead became perhaps one of the most infamous recent example of failed product innovation. In this paper we contend that, although character failings and alleged criminal activity could not have been realistically mitigated, valuable strategic and operational lessons can be learned for future technology start-ups. By conducting a counterfactual thought experiment and examining Theranos through the lens of Design Innovation (DI) we provide evaluations and predictions across strategic and operational constructs from both an internal and external perspective. A DI approach also applies methods and tools used by designers across a company as a whole – this mirrors an inventor-founder’s path from narrow product influence to broader environmental influences. We show that criticisms through the DI lens have specific and insightful bearing on Theranos because of its markedly poor strategic planning; manifest as a reliance on ideas and spin in place of tangible products and services. We use Theranos to demonstrate the value of DI to future technology-driven entrepreneurs, proposing alternative approaches to medical device start-ups.
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This Conversation aims to explore the relationships between design education, design practice, and social change. To achieve this aim, the Conversation will bring educators and researchers from a variety of disciplines together to foster new exchanges and collaborations, allowing us to better explore questions about what it is that we learn when we learn to design, why that is, and what impact that has on our societies. During the Conversation, audience members will work in groups to create “prototype” research articles responding to themes and provocations proposed by the convenors.
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Organizations globally look to design to help them innovate, differentiate, and compete in a changing economic climate. Consequently, design is increasingly being regarded as a dynamic and central tactical business resource. Considering this, the question is raised: how can the specific knowledge and skills of designers be better articulated, understood, implemented, and valued as core components of strategic innovation in businesses? In seeking to answer this question, this paper proposes a new frontier for the design profession, coined the “Design Innovation Catalyst” (DIC). This paper reflects on both extant literature and the teaching of seven DICs embedded in industry, conducting innovation projects run over a twelve to twenty-four month period. This paper reports on a unique set of six capabilities analyzed as being not only essential for the implementation of design-led innovation, but of great assistance in overcoming its associated challenges. This paper outlines the role of these new design professionals, and discusses the value these novel capabilities provide organizations through employing DICs. Furthermore, questions surrounding how designers will develop these new capabilities, and how the design-led innovation framework in application can contribute to the future of design will also be presented.
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This article presents findings from a two-year longitudinal action, research study exploring the challenges and outcomes of attempting to develop design capability in one of Australia’s largest non-profit aged-care providers. The research identifies four distinct objectives for design utilization in practice, and suggests that existing approaches for design utilization overlook non-profit organizations that seek both economic and social viability. While the objectives of realizing economic and social outcomes are addressed in design literature, there is an absence of literature detailing how non-profit organizations could utilize design to realize these outcomes. This research, therefore, contributes the non-profit design ladder-a framework to assist non-profit organizations to further develop their utilization of design and foster design as an organizational capability.
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This study explores the processes of introduction, implementation and integration of design-led innovation within a family owned company driven by engineering innovation in a sector dominated by product and process improvements. This paper is based on the outcomes of an investigation of a family manufacturing company in the METS sector over an 11-month period, where the researcher was embedded in the firm to deliver value to the company by using an action research approach. The design innovation catalyst used a design-led innovation process to capture customer insights that led to changes at the leadership, managerial and employee level of the organisation.
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This study examines the role of design-led innovation in creating shared value, sustainable competitive advantage for an organization, and social value for the communities in which it operates. As part of an action research methodology, a case study analysed an undertaking by a not-for-profit aged care organization seeking to create a sustainable competitive advantage in the market through reinventing the experience of aging, and then defining an innovative future business model. This paper reflects on the role of design-led innovation in facilitating this change agenda, and explores the particular relevance of design-led innovation techniques in a not-for-profit, human services context. It was found that the design-led innovation approach was effective in achieving the goal of defining a way for the organization to create shared value.
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Electricity distribution businesses across Australia are facing many market disruptions, such as the increasing demand from the rapid uptake of domestic air conditioners and the contrasting problematic generation from solar power connections to the grid. In this context, the opportunity to proactively leverage forthcoming technological advances in battery storage and electric vehicles to address the steeply rising cost of electricity supply has emerged. This research explores a design approach to support a business to navigate such disruptions in the current market.This study examines a design-led approach to innovation conducted over a tenmonth action research study within a large, risk-averse firm in the Australian energy sector. This article presents results describing a current foresight gap within the business; the response of the business to using design-led innovation to address this issue; and the tools, approaches and processes used. The business responses indicate their perception of the value of qualitative customer engagement as a path to addressing, and potentially benefiting from, disruptive innovation. It is anticipated that these results will further business model development within the company, and assist in leveraging disruptive innovations for this industry participant, thus limiting future increases in the cost of electricity supply for customers in Australia.
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In an era where companies can no longer rely on technological breakthroughs and incremental product development, innovation is high on management agendas. At the same time, the scope of innovation has increased in complexity, where products, services, user needs and technologies need to be integrated while bringing many different stakeholders together. Nevertheless, the process of innovation is often seen as being very linear, with research results, new technologies or user insights funneled via advanced development and new business processes into the market. The present case study, however, sets forth an alternative view that sees innovation as a network of options. We propose that there are different ways of capitalizing on imaginative ideas, and that it is necessary to explore the best way forward on a case-by-case basis rather than by trying to impose a business straitjacket too early. To illustrate the potential of this view, an Innovation Matrix has been developed. Finding the best way through the non-linear matrix of options is a key factor in moving imaginative ideas effectively to the market. There is more than one path one can follow to breathe life into delicate ideas, and the design discipline can play a central role in facilitating this.
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Purpose – Business models to date have remained the creation of management, however, it is the belief of the authors that designers should be critically approaching, challenging and creating new business models as part of their practice. This belief portrays a new era where business model constructs become the new design brief of the future and fuel design and innovation to work together at the strategic level of an organisation. Design/methodology/approach – The purpose of this paper is to explore and investigate business model design. The research followed a deductive structured qualitative content analysis approach utilizing a predetermined categorization matrix. The analysis of forty business cases uncovered commonalities of key strategic drivers behind these innovative business models. Findings – Five business model typologies were derived from this content analysis, from which quick prototypes of new business models can be created. Research limitations/implications – Implications from this research suggest there is no “one right” model, but rather through experimentation, the generation of many unique and diverse concepts can result in greater possibilities for future innovation and sustained competitive advantage. Originality/value – This paper builds upon the emerging research and exploration into the importance and relevance of dynamic, design-driven approaches to the creation of innovative business models. These models aim to synthesize knowledge gained from real world examples into a tangible, accessible and provoking framework that provide new prototyping templates to aid the process of business model experimentation.