Design Theory 7: Elements of an Innovative Product

A few years ago I attended a design seminar of which one of the speakers was an Innovation Manager from Philips. She spoke about the innovation process and design’s role at Philips. She first described her role in the organisation and her very multi-disciplinary approach to innovation.

What we do to innovate?(My notes in italics)
1) Something made different – manufacturing and materials perhaps?
2) Use of technology – technology paradox?
3) Cultural and behavioural changes – different way to view/use/do things like say digital media.
4) Doing business differently – ah dell!

I first thought this is list was a no-brainer, but then she added that “successful products are a combination of at least 3 points and no less”. Hmm makes perfect sense as the multi-dimensional approach to innovation moves its emphases below the surface exterior and links it to the core of the product’s “DNA”.
She ended the speech with this interesting slide:

The Best products
1) Challenge the paradigm
2) Tells a story
3) Synergistic partnerships
4) Smart & Interactive but still “Human”
5) Uses Design as a “provocateur”

Great advice if you ask me. You see in many ways innovation has to be part of the core of the product, or what makes it exist, to be successful. And design and designers have to take an “active listening” role to communicate this aspect to our users.

  • Design Translator

    July 3, 2007 at 3:49 pm Reply

    Hey Marc,
    Thanks for the comments and please keep in touch!

  • Marc Rapp

    July 3, 2007 at 10:03 am Reply

    “Active listening”
    —nice post. good stuff.

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