Design that addresses complex challenges experienced by the developing world has grown in recent years, with efforts made to positively inform socio-cultural, economic, environmental, and geo-political systems, practices, and processes. In this context, design innovation is often seen as a driver of disruption and an advocate for empowerment, influencing power structures and supporting communities to realise and enact change. However, such innovation is often temporal and siloed, bound by funding constraints and project reporting timeframes. This can contribute to a paradigm where citizens, communities, organisations, and industry are forced to adapt, iterate, and respond in a reactive way, resulting in place-based design innovation with little local interest, ownership, or socio-cultural connection. In such a state of continuous adjustment, the potential impact and value of design for innovation risks not being recognised nor fully realised.