3. Design and Innovation
Interest in how design can spur innovation has gained momentum in recent years, despite a general lack of interest in design within main-stream innovation research. New concepts about the relationship and intersection between design and innovation have instead been developed either in design practice, such as the concept of Design Thinking (Brown, 2008), or in fringes of innovation research with inspiration from other discourses, such as the concept of C-K theory (Le Masson et al, 2010).
This is all very promising. However cutting across these developments is also a problematic tendency to either rationalize design into a general innovation approach, such as C-K theory, or to reproduce design as a series of methods, as with the Design Thinking concept. In both cases design is described as a problem solving approach. A risk is then that the value of design in innovation contexts, as a lived and experienced practice of meaning creation (Krippendorff, 1989), is either "lost in translation", or is taken for granted but not explored in new contexts. A further risk is the general lack of empirical studies that focus on understanding the role of design and designers in innovation work.
In this track on Design and Innovation, we want to invite scholars to present their work on the role of design and design practitioners in innovation work as well as on the epistemological relationship between design and innovation. For example, what is the value that design can create in innovation processes? How is such value expressed, and what are typical assumptions that underpin the rhetoric around design and innovation initiatives and policies? What are the benefits as well as the obstacles when combining the two fields? How can companies become more innovative through repositioning design in their operations, and how can such processes be evaluated? How can design capabilities be developed in practice and what are the challenges that design practitioners face when entering new roles in innovation work? The aim of this track is to contribute to a better understanding of what role design can play in the future of innovation. Both conceptual and empirical papers are welcome.
A short biography of convenors
Maria Elmquist is an associate professor at the Department of Technology Management and Economics and the Center for Business Innovation (CBI). Her current academic research is mainly focused on the management of innovation and R&D, the development of innovation capabilities, open innovation and the relation between design and innovation.
Marcus Jahnke is a PhD student at HDK, the School of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg. His current study concerns the intersection between design practice and innovation and involves several designers and companies in an experimental set up where designers introduce design practice to spur innovation in "non-designerly" companies.
Roberto Verganti is Professor of Management of Innovation at Politecnico di Milano and a member of the European Design Leadership Board of the European Commission. He is the author Design-Driven Innovation published by Harvard Business Press and of more than 150 publications, at the intersection of strategy, design and technology management.
Julian Malins is currently Professor of Design at Gray's School of Art at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. He is also the Director of the Centre for Design and Innovation (www.c4di.org.uk). His publications cover a broad range of topics including; approaches to research in Art and Design, computer supported collaborative design, and design thinking.