chapter  12
21 Pages

Innovation Policy and Design—Design as a Tool for Innovation: Lawrence Green, Deborah Cox and Pierre Bitard


While the fundamental role of design in innovation and new product development is now fi rmly acknowledged within the practitioner, policy and academic communities, the situation has not always been thus. Prior to the pioneering work in the late 1980s of Bruce, Roy and Walsh in the UK, and Clark and Chew in the US, design had been associated only weakly with innovation. Perceived essentially as a discretionary input, design was connected primarily with peripheral issues of styling, aesthetics, ergonomics or packaging. Drawing attention to the range and importance of the inputs of designers to the innovation process, Bruce, Clark et al. laid the foundations for a program of research that has recently exposed more fully the ambit, extent and value of design activities. The impact of investment in design on the bottom line for innovating companies is now much more apparent, as is the role of design in understanding and planning for future markets. So too, the deployment of design methods in the solution of technological, commercial and social problems is widely recognized, alongside the role of designers in mapping and visualizing future trends, consumption patterns and drivers. Of perhaps greatest signifi cance, the application of design methodologies in the development of organizational strategy has gained acceptance, with some leading global companies weaving ‘design thinking’ (Brown, 2008) and a ‘design attitude’ into both strategic decision-making and new product development processes.