When is Design Led Innovation Not Right for You?

By Brian Ling November 21, 2014

We always want the best for our clients, so one of our key business tenets is teach our client’s to fish.

You know the old saying, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

By doing what we do, we get out clients started down a sustainable path of innovation through a change in mindset (or culture), focus and process.

However this may not always be the right way.

I could not agree more with Bruce Kasanoff when he says: “When a person is starving, that’s not the time to fill their head with knowledge. The right thing to do is to first give the person a fish – banishing their hunger – and only then teach them to fish.”

In the context of a Design Thinking and innovation program, clients who are struggling with running their business, or are in the “red” should really consider the innovation “promise” carefully.

The human centric and iterative nature of Design Led Innovation naturally reduces risks in brining innovation to market, but due to the struggles he or she may have with the business, he may not have the mindshare to follow the Design Led Innovation activities through to the end.

Following on from our previous article, this is one of the key reasons why Design Led Innovation fails.

When face with such a situation, Design is first used to stabilise the business with ideas that can be easily and safely implemented. Some great examples include improvements to existing services as a result of customer feedback that was long ignored, or removing things from your offerings that people won’t pay for etc.

After that, Design can then be used to innovate by bringing in a longer-term implementation “arc” that would cover the more radical (and harder) solutions.

. .

Brian Ling

Brian is the Founder and Design Director at Design Sojourn, a Design Led Innovation Consultancy. He is a multi-award winning design leader, and specialises in strategic design and innovation programs that drive successful organisations. Brian’s 20-year career in design, driven through a deep understanding of human behavior, spans over multiple domains such as consumer electronics, government, healthcare, non-profit agencies, hospitality, F&B, retail, online solutions and best in class service experiences.

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2 Comments on "When is Design Led Innovation Not Right for You?"

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Lorena
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Design has to be the first part of everything. Innovation comes with a good design.

george jones
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We would like to take part in design innovation but for us a new business we would like to read into this a bit more. (How we came across your site) Good article though. Will keep reading

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