The value of Design Driven Innovation

Some time ago I wrote an article titled “designing value beyond the inflection point”. In this article I basically outline the process of “commodization” where the return on investment continues to decrease over time.

The article ends with a pledge that escaping commodization requires design skills to create value that goes beyond the current paradigm. I didn’t elaborate on what happens in that crucial phase where you make that leap into the next paradigm (eg. from product to service).

Recently I saw Don Norman’s talk at the Design Research Conference 2010. His talk perfectly illustrates the role of design driven innovation to create the radical change that is needed for a paradigm shift. Sounds complex? The idea is pretty simple, take a look at the slides below.

A proven process for radical innovation

The task to move from a coffeebrewer to an experience that becomes a part of lifestyle is often consider as an innovation process where you have little control over. It’s the black box where suddenly an “eureka” moment just changes everything.

As Don Norman describes in the video and Roberto Verganti in his book, the fact is that figuring out how to create value in a new paradigm isn’t a mystical process at all. Design driven innovation is well described process with it’s own proven tools and methods.

Knowing how to apply the tools and methods isn’t the hard part. The hard part is to recognize the moment when you need to switch strategy from improving existing offerings to creating radical change.

Marc Fonteijn

Marc Fonteijn

Marc is co-founder of 31Volts and helps major private and public organizations to grow by designing services that cultivate a sustainable relationship with customers.

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