Design’s Role in Innovation

The British Design Council has created this video about design and innovation. There are appearances by Jonathan Salem Baskin, Roberto Verganti, Paul Bennett (IDEO), Robin Bew, Nick Jankel, Bonnie Dean and Jeff Denby. I’ve been looking at Design Thinking, the approach Paul Bennett talks about, and Design-Driven Innovation, the approach Roberto Verganti talks about. These two approaches are often grouped together under a category called ‘design innovation’, or ‘strategic design’, however they do conflict. The core of Design Thinking is about the needs of users, whereas the core of Design-Driven Innovation is about product meanings. In the second quote by Verganti below, you can see that he states that this user-centered approach can only lead to incremental innovation – I think Design Thinkers would disagree. The video is 8:27 long and well worth the watch!

Here are some quotes I’ve pulled from the video:

“Design is the order and sense that we impart on otherwise chaotic existence”

-Jonathan Salem Baskin

“It’s not about the style, it’s not about technology, it’s not about the functionalities. What is the meaning that people give to this product? And design is about the innovation of this meaning.”

– Roberto Verganti

“Design is about giving people what they need whether or not they know they need it, but doing so in a way that makes them feel like they asked for it.”

-Jonathan Salem Baskin

“If you’re doing incremental innovation then the typical process of getting close to users, understanding how users give meanings to things is very useful. But if you’re targeting a more radical type of thing, if you radically want to change the meaning of things … then you actually have to step back from users because otherwise users pull you into the current meaning of things, and you want to envision new meaning by working with interpreters: other people outside your company typically, that can help you to see the experience of how people give meaning to things from a different perspective.”

– Roberto Verganti

“We need to overlap design thinking with design doing.”

– Paul Bennett


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