Harvard Business Press
August 3, 2009
Until now, innovation studies have focused either on radical innovation pushed by technology or incremental innovation pulled by the market. In Design-Driven Iinnovation, respected innovation expert Roberto Verganti upends conventional thinking by unveiling a third strategy. Design-driven innovations do not come from the market; they create new markets. They don’t push new technologies; they push radically new meanings.
For companies this means having a vision and taking that vision to your customers. Think of game-changers like Nintendo’s Wii or Apple’s iPod. They overturned our understanding of what a video game means and how we listen to music. Customers had not asked for these new meanings, but once they experienced them, it was love at first sight.
But where does the vision come from? Based on a decade of research and including fascinating examples of international companies in industries from software to furniture to financial services, Verganti shows that for truly radical breakthroughs, we must look beyond customers and users to those he calls “interpreters“: the community of players – from artists to technology suppliers to design schools – that surround every product and deeply understand and influence how people give meaning to things. By identifying and interacting with the right interpreters, companies can generate offerings with long life cycles, significant profit margins, strong brands, and sustainable growth.
The book outlines a systematic process – led by a firm’s top executives – for leveraging relationships with interpreters into radical new meanings for products:
- Listening: identify and attract key interpreters and access their knowledge about possible new meanings.
- Interpreting: develop unique proposals based on this knowledge.
- Addressing: use the seductive power of interpreters to sway customers’ minds and hearts.
Providing a provocative view of innovation thinking in practice, this book demystifies how serial innovators design breakthroughs that delight customers and deliver unbeatable competitive advantage.
Roberto Verganti is Professor of Management of Innovation at Politecnico di Milano; the founder of PROject science, a consulting institute that advises global corporations on the management of strategic innovation; and the author of many influential articles on innovation in leading management and scientific journals.