Thursday, January 2, 2014

Design-Driven Innovation

The purpose of Design-Driven Innovation is to Delight Customer. 

Nowadays, innovation has many flavors, from open innovation to a systematic approach; from customer-centricity to the technology breakthrough. Here comes design-driven innovation.

Design thought has stages of maturity: From design-by-default, where design just happens and design is dictated by status quo policies, procedures, tools, and old mindsets, to design –by-practice, where design becomes the key ingredient of innovation strategy, and design-driven innovation has been supported by cohesive business capability, well-tuned business processes and high-skilled talent teams with open mind working at creative business environment.  

Design becomes the strategic business driver at higher level maturity: As an organization's maturity about design increased, design moves from a superficial afterthought (branding a design) to competitive advantage (branding through design). Very few companies can arrive at the top of the design maturity ladder. Design becomes a strategic business driver equal to business and technology.

Design vs. Art: Design and art are different, the art looks inward; the design looks outward. Good art is much more than self-expression; good design is much more than decoration. It is about composition and designers seek a different kind of inspiration. Tools for design are user personas, scenarios, and storyboards. Design can be art, but too often is not. The art enters the project at the beginning - as the concept (often arrived at by a brainstorming session). One more difference between art and design: Designers test; artists don't. The problems begin when designers forget users and start considering themselves artists. Such confusion of art with the design is what gets designers confined to the role of the very most superficial decoration. Although design concerns itself with aesthetics, the design is not superficial decoration.

Design-driven Innovation needs to have strong communication between design teams and management: The open-mindedness fostered by a brainstorming session would be a good place to start communicating this to management. They really need to get together during a brainstorm session. And in talking about design thinking, management gets buy-in. The winning chips represent actual commitment -- of people, of time, of funding -- from the players get cashed in by the winner, who becomes the project champion. The construct of a design-driven innovation game allows the open-mindedness brainstorming. But the constructs within the game bring this down to earth and anchor it in pragmatics and commitment. Essentially, it takes "change management in a box" with some assembly required.

In short, very little emphasis or consideration is placed on design methodologies cross-industries. The design is largely considered a byproduct of solid engineering discipline. The design takes planning and fine-tuning that must take place to deliver the product. This part is more like engineering than art, but if done correctly, the final product retains that core kernel of art. It is not spontaneous. But do you really think the masters didn't plan their masterpieces? For design thinking and design-driven innovation to reach its full potential, organizations need to have a well-planned innovation strategy, fined tuned processes, skilled talent, and disciplined approach.


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