This happens all the time.
After a game-changing workshop, where a whole host of innovative ideas underpinned by ethnographic research get plotted on an actionable plan, I call back a few months later to find out that nothing has happened.
“I believe we’ll have to have them full time, or else they’ll get sucked back into their ‘day jobs’. If we are going to make the skunkworks successful, then the participants need to be full time.”
Innovation requires a mental space to make it happen. What many organizations do instead is to assign the execution of the required changes to executives as something extra to do, something on top of their day job. Innovation then becomes an extra-curricular activity that cannot be prioritized over daily work. Firefighting problems are just too hard to ignore.
If you want results from Design Thinking assign someone to champion this, or anyone that will and can do this full time. Going one better would be to set up an innovation department with a mandate of making “X” number of Design Thinking projects happen in a year.
Implementing Design Thinking is a (not so) regular series of posts, where I share my thoughts and experiences in helping companies implement Design as a tool for business success and achieving Design Leadership. Check out the rest of my articles here.
Robert Brunner (the man more commonly known as the person who hired Jonathan Ives) has achieved something that I always hope to achieve with the clients I work with.
He has helped a fledging company build an awesome brand and thrive in a competitive market thought the use of great design. Not only that, the brand has since been acquired (with much buzz) by Apple for a mind numbing $3 billion dollars. That company is non-other than the headphones brand Beats by Dr Dre.
Amazed? I was. Now check out the video where he shares insights on how he did it.
Some great one liners like “Technology Enables Design Establishes” or “As Designers we give away our intellectual property too cheaply”, and lots of stuff on the role design plays in today’s business environment. Do enjoy the video as it’s probably the best one I’ve seen this year. Thanks for sharing Robert!
Wouter Scheublin, in cooperation with the Dutch research institute TNO, designed this wonderfully minimal pull back car made through 3D printing.
Wouter leveraged on some of the strengths and advantages of the 3D printing process, in this case laser sintering, to design the car and the pull back mechanism all in one go,
Every part, including the gears, axles, wheels and pull back spring all come out from the printer as a complete assembly. The only assembly required is the 4 rubber bands tires and perhaps packaging.
I applaud Wouter’s amazing experimentation and sublime Industrial Design. This product really got me excited. However I was quite surprised to note that this car is on sale on his website at Euros €180, and obviously made to order.
I wonder if a designer is experimenting in such advanced manufacturing processes should he not also experiment with an advanced business model as well? Why not sell the 3D file at perhaps €10-20 and possibly make a whole lot more money, and at the same time save on shipping costs and effort?
With 3D Printing cafes exploding all around us, I think selling the 3D file of your design is the way of the future.
If you disrupt and can’t sustain, you don’t win. – Gary Pisano
Gary Pisano, in his article: In Defense of Routine Innovation, argues that the world is so caught up with disruptive innovation that we forget that most of the profit from innovation “does not come from the initial disruption; it comes from the stream of routine, or sustaining, innovations that accumulate for years (sometimes decades) afterward.”
Great article and I totally agree.
However I would like to highlight something that is implied with this article but not overtly stated. Disruptive innovation is risky. Yes, design thinking’s iterative approach can help mitigate some of the risk but there are still risks involved.
So should organizations casts their sights on disruptive innovation they would need to balance the risks of disruptive innovation with the more steady returns from incremental innovation activities. This is so that the business can still be sustained should the disruptive innovation fail. Which on many occasions will fail.
My best analogy at managing innovation is very similar to how you would manage your stock portfolio. Balance the tried and proven blue chip companies with the fast growing (high PE ratio) but risky emerging companies. When you do so, it will be your first step towards smarter innovation management.