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Design in Business: How to trigger radical innovation

  • Design in Business event at WBS London will reveal important new research
  • Key ingredients to successfully develop and launch new products unveiled
  • Departmental infighting often scuppers new products and services
  • Different perspectives vital in producing innovation and creativity

Three key practices have been uncovered to end the internal power struggles between departments that scupper firms’ attempts at creating new products.

Every organisation wants to be innovative and disruptive, but few succeed. This is because most companies fail to reconcile the viewpoints of specialists, like marketers and designers, and are left with sterile power struggles.

The details of three key innovation management practices to solve this will be unveiled by Pietro Micheli at Warwick Business School’s Design in Business Network event at WBS London at The Shard on October 4.

The event will also see Markus Hohl, CEO of Hellon, a service design consultancy, talk about how to build a customer-centric company.

After interviewing more than 70 marketers, designers and other product development specialists in 20 companies, Micheli will reveal how, instead of one department winning the argument, it is better to draw on the different ‘thought worlds’ of each function to expand each other’s horizons, which he found greatly enhances the chances of the product being a success.

Micheli said: “Companies have a real paradox when it comes to creating new products and services; they need the diversity of opinions and expertise from different disciplines like marketing and design, but these are often at odds with each other, and the innovation process becomes a battle over which opinion wins.

“We found that this can be overcome if firms use three practices that we identified in the most successful product launches: exposing, co-opting and repurposing.”

Exposing is when the differences between departments are brought into the open not just by putting them physically next to each other, but getting specialists like designers and marketers to appreciate each others’ approach and language. This reduces the reliance on negative stereotypes such as “designers don’t understand business” and “marketers are not creative”.

Co-opting refers to specialists using another group’s data - for example, designers could draw on results of focus groups, and marketers on persona development - and language, like ‘user-centric’ and ‘market segmentation’, and eventually re-package their insights in the other group’s speak.

Repurposing involves deploying the very practices used by members of the other department, such as marketers taking designers on ethnographic studies, where they observe customers’ use of a new product, or designers carrying out surveys to explore users’ preferences.

Dr Micheli added: “In my talk I will use real-life examples from our research to show how different perspectives are vital in promoting creativity and innovation. The goal is not to have everyone think and speak the same, but to have different perspectives that complement each other.”

The event is the first in a series on how organisations can benefit from design at a strategic level and how it can be successfully used.

“While the business press is rife with examples – from Apple and BMW to Google and Nike – of design’s significant role in business, less is known about how design can be successfully introduced and used,” said Dr Micheli.

“My talk will also show how you can incorporate design with other departments in a business and how to give it a stronger voice.”

The second session by Hohl will look at how 95 per cent of companies think they create great customer experience whereas only 11 per cent of their customers think they do. He will reveal how to create a customer-centric organisation culture through a design and co-creation approach.

To book a place for the Design in Business Network event at WBS London at The Shard click here.

26 September 2016


Ashley Potter - Press & PR Executive
Warwick Business School, the University of Warwick

Tel: +44 (0)24 7657 3967
Mob: +44 (0)7733 013264
Email: Ashley dot potter at wbs dot ac dot uk